You'd be surprised at how many people decide whether to buy your home based on their visceral reaction some 15 seconds after walking in the door. And that's if they've gone that far!
Even if you've pumped thousands of dollars into upgrading or renovating your house, a poor first impression can wipe out all your efforts. Simply having too much clutter in the first room beyond your entry way can be the kiss of death.
Better Homes and Gardens says that staging your house--removing clutter, arranging your furnishings and decorative arts properly, and cleaning up the exterior--can reduce sale time to about 14 days, as opposed to a month for non-staged homes. BHG focuses on exteriors, recommending that you make sure your lawn and shrubs are manicured and flower beds free of weeds.
Your front entry should be warm and inviting with an attractive door, hardware, plants, and lighting. Exterior walls should be clean, well-painted, and your gutters must be clear of overhanging debris. Your yards (front, back, and sides) should be immaculate, decks and hot-tubs freshly stained.
Staging Your Home Interior
REALTOR® Magazine's blogger Melissa Dittmann Tracey reports that today's buyers are looking for large kitchens with islands, energy efficient appliances, main floor master suites, ceiling fans, home offices, and stone and brick exteriors. Just so you know.
Even if your home doesn't showcase any of those features, you can still do your part in staging to highlight the strength of your renovated or remodeled home. First things first--clutter is the kiss of death. Do you have a "junk room" where you toss everything that you don't know what to do with? Turn it into an arts and crafts room.
Remember that in staging your home, clutter on the inside of closets and cabinets can also kill a sale. Not everyone has the same notion of cleanliness and clutter, so err on the side of compulsiveness.
Even if you're desperately attached to your furniture, perhaps it's time to take out a few pieces to allow room for shoppers to wander around your home. Upgrade your lighting if necessary. Home buyers often come at the end of a work day. A poorly lit home is a turn-off. HGTV recommends that you "aim for 100 watts every 50 square feet in layers of ambient, task and accent lighting."
Should you consider contacting a professional to stage your home to sell? Start by posing the question to your real estate agent. Even if you're selling by yourself, you can find professional stagers through local agents. Good luck!