Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success. Below is an article by Suzie Wilson.
The Well-Staged House: Easy-to-Overlook Preparations for Homeowners
Staging a home for sale is a crucial step in the selling process, and it requires considerable attention to detail. Homeowners often overlook many simple things that can discourage potential buyers. An open house is an opportunity to show off its best features. It’s important not to let personal items or a dirty house obscure what you have to offer. The good news is that most open house preparations don’t require a major investment of money. As you get ready to put your home on the market, remember that prospective buyers will look into every corner and closet searching for imperfections. Your best approach is to keep it in ready-to-show condition until that “Sold” sign goes up on the front lawn.
Decluttering is about more than making sure your shoes are put away and empty pizza boxes are thrown out. It’s how you keep your house looking spacious, with the flow-through that home buyers are looking for these days. Bowling trophies and pictures of kids and grandchildren make it distinctively yours, but they can make it difficult for buyers to envision your house as theirs. Don’t forget that decluttering extends to your closets, behind doors, and storage space. Realtors recommend that when your home is on the market, it should be kept ready to show on a daily basis. That means it needs to smell good, be kept orderly, and be well-lit.
Lighting is a very important part of the staging process. Not only should your home be well-lit, the lighting in each room needs to create a comfortable ambience. The more you can make viewers feel as though they’d be comfortable sitting down for a conversation or curling up with a good book, the more likely you are to make them feel at home. Remember, the feeling they get from a room is as important as their visual memory of it. Allow plenty of natural light to flow in, and keep fresh flowers in each room. Dimmer switches can help you maintain just the right amount of lighting.
Storage space is always one of the most important features for potential buyers. An open house is an opportunity for them to assess whether there’s enough room for their belongings. To that end, realtors recommend keeping shelves and cabinets as empty as possible because it’ll give the impression you have more storage space than you actually do. Avoid the common mistake of moving your clutter from the floor into the closets.
Your house may be spotless, well-ordered, and exquisitely lit on the inside, but if your exterior is dingy and run-down and your lawn poorly cared for, buyers will drive on by looking for the next “For Sale” sign. Curb appeal is that crucial first impression that entices someone to look further. Always make sure your lawn is kept mown and your yard carefully landscaped. Consider hiring a lawn service while your home is on the market so that you’re making the best possible impression every day.
No dogs here
Make sure people can’t see the evidence that you have a pet; it’s as important as decluttering and depersonalizing because even avid dog owners are hesitant to seriously consider a home that bears the signs of pet wear and tear. Make sure that all torn furniture and damaged baseboards are covered and repaired and that urine stains, dog hair, and stale pet odors are removed. Consider having a professional cleaner give your carpet a thorough cleaning before you put your home on the market. Above all, keep your pet somewhere else while your house is being shown. For more information about showing and selling your home when you have pets, check out this guide from Rover.com.
Ready to show
The best way to prepare to impress potential buyers is to keep your house in ready-to-show condition for as long as it’s on the market. As you go about cleaning and decluttering, bear in mind that you want to give the impression of space and flow. A judicious use of light can also help achieve that impression.