5 Tips for Decorating a Home for Sale

Keith Scott Morton Keith Scott Morton

QUESTION:

What should I do to my home's decoration in order to make it look most appealing to potential buyers? I will be planning an "open house" for a couple of weekends. What tricks can I borrow from decorators? What about my collections -- do they add or detract? Thank you for your advice.

-Shauna V.




ANSWER:


Dear Shauna,
When showing your house to potential buyers it's important to create a space that others want to enter. I recently spent a few days with Nina Schwinghammer (www.thatcanbearranged.com), a residential interior decorator based in South Florida who often consults with homeowners on how to prepare for open houses. Nina knows how difficult it is to be completely objective about one's home. One thing that she recommends to her clients is to "de-personalize each room so that buyers can make their own emotional connection." According to Nina, it's also important to put aside your everyday reality of clutter and to do piles because "clean, clutter-free spaces appeal to all people."

Here are some of Nina's other suggestions to help you prepare for the big day:

1.Displaying universally appealing collections can be an attractive decorating technique. Group like objects together in one area and steer clear of overly ethnic and religious artifacts, which may not appeal to all buyers.

2.
Home buyers love lots of closet space, so make the most of your closets. Remove two-thirds of your clothes and store them somewhere else.

3.
Paring down furniture, especially in smaller rooms, will make the rooms appear bigger. When in doubt, less is more.

4.
Remove or fix anything horribly outdated or worn, as in dirty carpeting, loose tile, etc.

5.
Don't overlook curb appeal. First impressions are critical.

I would also add that a little lavender, vanilla or citrus scent is inviting, but don't overload on potpourri and scented candles; buyers can be turned off by overwhelming smells. Finally, letting in natural light will make your home feel more inviting, so be sure to open shutters and pull up window shades.

Good luck selling!

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.