Preparing a Home For Sale – 5 Steps to Implement – by Katie Mills, SHC Home Staging Blog Contributor

Preparing a Home For Sale – 5 Steps to Implement – by Katie Mills, Home Staging Blog Contributor

Preparing a home for sale essentially means putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes and thinking about what they are going to want to see (or not see).  This process generally consists of 5 steps   1. Remove all traces of your personality The moment you list your house for sale, you have to accept the fact that you are starting the process of making your home someone else’s home.  That means removing everything which makes your home clearly and obviously yours so that someone else can picture it as being clearly and obviously theirs.  Now is a good time to assess these personal items and decide what you are going to do with them, if you decide you want to keep them, then you can start your packing process by putting them away into (hidden) storage.   2. Declutter and deep clean Basically you want your home to look like a show home or a hotel and two key characteristics of these places is that they are free of clutter and absolutely, spotlessly clean.   With a normal declutter, you generally ask yourself pertinent questions like “Do I really need this?” and “Does it bring me joy?”, with a home-selling declutter, by contrast, you simply want clutter out of the way, so it’s fine just to stick it in a box and put it in storage, although you may want to do some proper decluttering later, to facilitate your move.   Bonus tip: If you have a sentimental attachment to an item (or it’s of significant financial value), then it’s a good idea to remove it before you start having viewings, even if you think it is useful for staging your home.  If necessary replace it with an equivalent which has no sentimental associations and/or is cheaper.  The fact of the matter is that the more people come into a home, the more chance there is that items which are out in the open are going to be damaged, accidents happen, that’s just a fact of life.   Deep cleaning means cleaning every single part of your home from top to bottom and wall to wall, so it is as utterly pristine as it can possibly be.  This includes the exterior too.  In addition to making a house look visually more appealing, having your house utterly clean sends out a signal that you have taken care of it and helps to reassure potential buyers that they’re not going to find any nasty surprises waiting for them if they buy the house.   Cleaning isn’t just about what a home looks like, it’s about what a home smells like and you have to be aware that smells which may not bother you at all may bother visitors a lot.  This is particularly true if you’re a smoker, but even if you’re not the fact is that all smells have the potential to irritate somebody, so you want to get rid of them.  Bicarbonate of soda is your friend here.  You can place (attractive) containers of it discreetly around your house to absorb those everyday odors.     3. Take care of any outstanding repairs Moving house is a stressful process at the best of times and the last thing the average buyer wants to do is take on a house where they are going to have to sort out the repairs the existing owner hasn’t been bothered to make.  Plus they may find themselves wondering what else they may have to deal with given that the existing home owner has clearly taken their eye off the ball with regards to care and maintenance.  Forget about hoping buyers won’t notice or telling them that you’ll sort it before they move in (even if you genuinely would), just sort it.   4. Restore With modern lifestyle trends such as hygge, lagom and wabi sabi being enthusiastically adopted across the world, it’s fine to have older/distressed/shabby chic items in your home as long as it’s clear that they are meant to be that way.  Otherwise, do whatever it takes to bring your home and everything in it, back to full glory.  In other words, it’s fine to have a dresser with a distressed paint finish if that’s in keeping with the style of your room, but if you have a dresser with a scratch on it which shouldn’t be there, deal with it.   Never underestimate the difference a fresh coat of paint can make to the look of a home and unless you have a very compelling reason to choose something else you generally want to paint in light-colored neutrals.  The reason for this is not so much that lighter colors make a room look more spacious (although they can), it’s because lighter colors reflect both natural and artificial light whereas darker colors absorb it.  People often want houses which have plenty of light in them and natural light is especially appealing, so you want to do everything you can to make the most of it.  If you’re handy with a paint roller or have the budget to employ a professional, then you can also think about old decorating tricks such as using vertical stripes to draw the eye up and make a ceiling look higher and horizontal stripes to make a room look wider.  Although these tricks are effective, only use them if you can pull them off well, i.e. with clean, crisp paint lines which are completely free of any paint bleed.   Bonus tip – if you’re getting rid of wallpaper, do the job properly and take down the wallpaper before painting the wall.  Do not just paint over the wallpaper.  Chances are buyers will notice and it will probably be a minus point for your house since it leaves them with the job of taking down the wallpaper and this will be even more difficult now that it has a coat of paint on it.   5. Revamp Little details can make a huge difference so spend a little time and money taking care of them.  The basic rule of thumb is that anything which is on display needs to be attractive, even if it is also functional.  So take a good look around your home and if there’s something you could improve quickly and for a low cost, do so.   Article Contributed by:  Katie Mills – [email protected]

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