By: Puja McKernan, Quizzle.com
With our economy struggling to recover and a surplus of homes on the market, home sellers are facing more and more difficulties every day. Just take a good look at your own community. Chances are, you'll see more "for sale" homes lining your street than ever before and a few of them could be bank-owned (which means they're likely priced to sell). Home sellers need to figure out how they can make their own home standout without having to invest too much, or worse, by dropping their asking price considerably lower than it's worth.
The good news? There's something you can do. Justify your asking price! So, how do you do that? It's called home staging; sprucing up your home in small, inexpensive ways.
Staging is getting more and more popular as an effective marketing tool as sellers try to set their homes apart from the rest of the neighborhood. As opposed to functional improvements and repairs that may be costly, staging a home normally involves acts of an aesthetic nature, such as design, organization and overall appearance.
Start by looking at your home and thinking from the perspective of a buyer. Obviously, your home is a very personal possession. You may have spent years decorating your home the way it is today and love every corner of it, but that doesn't mean potential buyers will look at it in the same way.
Basic principles of home staging can involve simple tasks like cleaning, removing clutter, rearranging furniture and even packing up some of your personal items. This allows buyers the ability to imagine themselves - and their possessions - in the home. Focus on lighting, color and enhancing crucial areas of the home on which buyers focus, such as the kitchen.
Set your home apart and sell it faster with these 10 home staging tips from the real estate matchmakers at In-House Realty:
1. Consider curb appeal. If you can't landscape, make sure your lawn is mowed, leaves are raked and snow is shoveled. Also consider hanging a plant, hiding all garbage and recycling bins, and cleaning the entryway.
2. Get rid of clutter. Remember: How you choose to live in your home and how you sell your house are two entirely different things. You're going for a "show home" look! Go room by room, closet by closet, and look at every item. Then, for each item decide whether or not you should keep it, sell it or donate it.
3. Turn excess inventory into cash or tax deductions. Consider returning or donating all unused items (light bulbs, canned goods, paper products, etc.) for some extra cash or tax deductions. This could put money in your pocket and help to remove some clutter as well!
4. Watch where the eye goes. Walk throughout your home and check where your eye is drawn. If you notice chipped paint, nail holes or peeling wallpaper, take the necessary steps to remedy them.
5. Find a fix-it person. Ensure cupboards open and shut and no taps are dripping. Look in all rooms for things you never got around to fixing and decide which ones might be distracting to potential buyers. And no, it's not OK for door handles to fall off, even if you have learned to ignore it!
6. Clean, clean and clean again. Even though it may be tough to live in a spotless home ALL the time, this is a necessary change when selling your house. Consider hiring a cleaning service who might clean in places you wouldn't think of. Spend 30 minutes each day to maintain it yourself.
7. Let in some air. Open some windows for at least 10 minutes. There's nothing worse than walking into a stuffy house or one that smells of smoke and pet odors.
8. Let in some light. If you're trying to sell your home, keep it bright! Dimly lit rooms tend to look small and dingy - especially during the day. If your wall colors are too dark, paint them or add floor lamps!
9. Don't forget fresh flowers. You don't need to spend a fortune. Even a daisy in a bud vase brightens a bathroom counter. You can also use potted flowering plants that are in season for a low-cost solution.
10. Carefully consider music. Soft background music can help create a soothing environment and camouflage neighbor and traffic noise. But make sure the volume is very low. Blaring TVs are definitely a no-no, but you'd be surprised how many people leave them on for showings!
If you find the project too daunting to pull off by yourself, there are many professionals available to assist you. You can find Accredited Staging Professionals in your state at www.StagedHomes.com.
For more handy tips and advice about your home, money and credit, visit the Quizzle Blog:
- 6 Tips to Help You Save for a Down Payment on a Home
- 55 Money Saving Tips (Your Wallet Will Thank You)
- Top 10 Handy Skills for Homeowners
- Procrastination: The Money Management Killer
- The Perfect Wedding on the Cheap
For free tools and information about your home, money and credit, visit Quizzle.com. You'll get a free credit report and free credit score (no credit card needed), home value estimate, home loan recommendations and a personal budget to help you make smart decisions about your life.
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/