You decided to sell your home, and you can’t wait to buy a new place. There’s just one thing standing in your way: You’ve got to close the deal on your current one first. You just hope it doesn’t take all summer to get an offer.
Well, there’s one tried-and-true trick that’s proven to reduce your home’s time on the market. A study by the Real Estate Staging Association found that homes staged before listing received an offer in just 23 days on average. That’s 87% faster than those who waited months after listing to bother staging.
If your budget’s tight, you may think you can’t afford to stage your home. But Dawn Kirkland, a real estate Endorsed Local Provider (ELP) in Birmingham, AL, offers five free tricks to help you get the job done.
1. Channel Your Inner Neat Freak
You always knew your tidying tendencies would come in handy one day. Now it’s time to clutter-bust your way to buyers’ hearts!
Dawn admits decluttering isn’t rocket science—but it is the key to creating a pleasing environment. Pay particular attention to common junk magnets like:
- Kitchen and bathroom counters
- Fireplace mantels
- Laundry room shelves
- Magazine racks
No decluttering advice would be complete without a call to streamline your closets. “If your closet is crowded, I’m going to think my stuff won’t fit,” Dawn says. Wow buyers by showing them how much space there is for stuff—not how much stuff there is in the space.
2. Rearrange the Furniture
Once all the clutter’s out of the way, take a step back and look at the big picture. Does your home invite buyers to sit and stay a while? Can buyers flow freely through your home without bumping into things? If not, you’ve got work to do!
Start by putting bulky pieces in storage and moving furniture away from the walls. “Oftentimes, the room is arranged so the children can play in the middle of the room or the TV can be seen easily from every chair and sofa,” Dawn says. Buyers want to walk in and see an open—yet intimate—space that inspires conversation, not channel-surfing.
An experienced agent can lend a fresh eye and help you reimagine your home. “Go to different rooms and see if there are pieces that you can repurpose for the living room to get the effect you want,” Dawn suggests.
3. Sweat the Details
Cleaning your home for home showings is common sense. But many folks underestimate just how clean it needs to be.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill weekend tidy-up. Think of it as spring cleaning on steroids. You’ve got to get down to the nitty-gritty so that even the smallest details shine. From ceiling fans and window blinds to baseboards and tile grout, no surface goes unscrubbed!
Don’t forget to get your windows squeaky-clean. “There needs to be as much light coming in as possible,” Dawn says.
4. Set the Table
Staging paints a picture for potential buyers so they can envision life in your home. “If I see that a family can live here, I will think my family can live here too,” Dawn explains.
And nothing represents family life quite like the dinner table.
That’s why Dawn recommends giving the dining room some staging attention. Bring your good china, flatware and linens out of hiding. Or add seasonal flair with a dash of bold colors.
You don’t have to go over the top with every piece of dinnerware you own. Keep things simple by setting just two places at the table or arranging a decorative centerpiece on top of a neutral table runner. You can find loads of inspiration on Pinterest and Houzz.
5. Bring the Outside In
The great thing about summer is the world’s in full bloom right outside your door. So why not take advantage of all the season has to offer?
“[Fresh flowers] are so inviting,” Dawn says. “They warm up a room and send the message that this is a really nice space to be in.”
Look around your yard, and pluck decorations straight from nature. Favorite summer picks include roses, dahlias, zinnias, peonies, hydrangeas, lilies and sunflowers. If you run short on vases, display your finds in an antique pitcher or Mason jar for a touch of vintage charm.
And flowers aren’t the only star in the summer garden. If you grow your own fruits and veggies, entice buyers with a bowl of fresh produce on the kitchen counter.
Got $400? Spend It on This
If you do have a little cash to spend, here’s what Dawn recommends: “If you’ve got $400, I would spend it on paint and mulching the front yard.” Why? Because buyers give you about six seconds to make the sale—three seconds from the curb and three seconds from the foyer.
Of course, every home is different. Before you spend a dime freshening your home up, ask a real estate agent you trust for advice. A true pro knows what buyers in your area want and can help you maximize your home’s appeal without busting your budget.