This article was written by a true expert on home staging and military moves ? Laura Smith. Smith is a licensed, experienced Realtor and President of VR SAM?. She was a military spouse for more than 20 years and is committed to serving military families relocation needs. Thanks, Laura.
Last month, we discussed the importance of ?curb appeal? and how it is a powerful draw for home buyers in the present market. Subtle differences make your home stand out from the competition and will make a huge difference in how it fares on the market. Creating strong curb appeal will draw prospective buyers into your home whereas thoughtful ?interior staging? will sell it.
Staging your home is a fancy real estate term that refers to getting your home ready to show. It requires an organized plan of action that may involve several weeks of preparation and ongoing maintenance while your house is on the market.
VR SAM? recommends you ask a real estate agent to help you stage your home to optimize it?s strengths and maximize your home?s attractiveness. Your agent has shown hundreds, if not thousands, of homes and has observed buyers? reactions to how a variety of homes are presented. They are your best resource to view your home through the eyes of a prospective buyer.
As always, advance preparation is the key to staging your home and reducing your stress.
VR SAM? recommends beginning the process up to six months in advance (or when feasible) to clean, de-clutter, and neutralize your home. Your agent should be ready, willing, and able to provide an objective and critical eye. The smallest of details can make a difference. Effective staging creates an atmosphere that makes people want to linger and imagine themselves living in your home.
The best offense is a good defenseWhat you smell when you enter a home is just as important as what you see. So, let?s address the sensitive issue of odors first:
Absolute instant ?odor offenders? are: pets, smoking, must or moisture, strong cooking (fried) odors, or overdone sprays and air fresheners to cover odors.
Unfortunately, smoke odors and pet urine tend to remain in carpets, hardwoods, draperies, upholstery, and walls. Professionally cleaning the carpets and drapery may help, but in many cases, the only solution is to replace the floor coverings. The best offense is a good defense. It?s better to prevent rather than remediate such odors when you purchase your new home.
Here are suggestions on how to create a pleasant sensory experience for prospective buyers when you anticipate a showing or open house: Visitors should smell scents such as fresh baked bread or cookies, spiced tea, cut flowers, or potpourri. Spared use scented candles or other fragrances can also help, along with soft, classical background music.
Prospective buyers? initial sensory experience will positively influence their expectations for the rest of the tour, and will help your home stand out among other toured homes.
? A thorough cleaning of the house gives the impression of a well cared for home. If necessary, hire a professional cleaning service to get it to ?show standards? and then maintain as needed. It?s worth the money!
? Pay particular attention to the carpet and flooring throughout the house (professionally steam or chemical clean if needed).
? Children?s rooms ? Organize excess toys and closets, remove wall posters, thin out personal belongings and paint over unusual colors on walls with a fresh off-white color.
? Bathrooms ? Here is where your professional cleaners will really pay off! No way to sugarcoat it, there?s nothing worse than viewing old, stained grout and soap-scum tile! Clean or replace grout if necessary. Counters, mirrors, and fixtures should be spotless. A vase of flowers, scented candles, fresh towels and throw rugs add a special touch.
? Pet areas need special cleaning attention. If possible keep pets, food bowls, litter boxes clean and crates in a separate area of the home. This will help eliminate odors, the possibility of pets getting out of the house, or worse yet, the potential of the pet biting a prospective buyer. By the way, a barking or overfriendly dog that meets prospective clients at the front door is a great way to wipe out the rest of your effort.
? Remember to clean windows and blinds, open up heavy curtains, clean soiled walls, and dust baseboards. Touch up paint where necessary.
? Always leave the curtains or blinds open when showing the home and leave the light on when you know buyers will be viewing your home. Light-filled rooms are more inviting and warm and give a feeling of openness and space.
De- ClutteringAn excessive amount of personal possessions (especially furniture) and strong wall colors create an ?over-the-top look,? and will distract the prospective home buyer.
? Start the de-cluttering process with a yard sale or trip to Salvation Army. You?re moving anyway, so get an early start on your PCS.
? Remove clutter from all rooms, the garage, the outside deck and porch.
? Clear piles of papers, clothes, and store Christmas and other holiday decorations.
? Create a warm and inviting focal point in each room by rearranging furniture and accessories. Remove and store bulky excessive furniture to create open space and make rooms look larger. Remember windows can be a focal point so avoid obstructing windows with clutter.
? Reduce the amount of ?knick-knack? collectables, such as political or religious mementos. However keep a few simple accent pieces to add a punch of color to a room.
? Counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms should be free of unnecessary clutter. Place small appliances in cabinets to free up counter space. Appliances inside and out need to be spotless and in working order.
? Remove magnets and messages from the refrigerator.
? Organize all storage areas and kitchen cabinets.
? Furniture too big for your rooms and boxes should be stored. Rent a storage unit for a few months if necessary. Avoid ?stuffing? everything in the garage.
? Please, avoid packing your closets full of your ?de-clutter items.? Ideally closets, pantries and storage looking organized and spacious throughout the house. Don?t send the message that ?my house is so small I had to stuff everything in this closet!?
Neutralizing? A fresh coat of neutral-colored paint throughout, neutral draperies and decor will impress buyers and avert distraction.
? Removing personal items helps the buyer visualize how their own items will look in your home.
? Add some final touches: fresh bouquets of flowers or potted plants in decorative containers placed throughout the house.
As you prepare your checklist for each room remember to keep these main areas of focus in mind: clean, de-clutter and neutralize. If you follow these steps, you can assure that your home will be appealing and inviting to prospective buyers, and in the process reap maximum price potential in the sale.
As always, VR SAM? invites your comments and questions. Contact VR SAM? at:
Or visit us on our website (all contact info on site): WWW.VRSAM.COM