As we know, this time of year heats up – and that also means for the real estate industry, as in an increase in consumers that are itching to buy and sell homes.
And, because this season brings out the most buyers – and the most open house foot traffic in the warmer weather – it makes it even more important for sellers to have their homes looking their best.
That’s why we picked the brain of our very own Laura Crowther, CEO of Coastal Carolinas Association of REALTORS® (CCAR), who not only has a wealth of experience in the real estate industry, but also imparts the wisdom of home staging specifically, as the daughter of an interior designer who handed down her tricks of the trade.
Here is some advice from Laura, who offers some reminders for our home selling clients before the For Sale sign is stuck in the front yard:
Keep It Clean and Clutter-Free
Declutter and do a thorough cleaning, inside and out, before you stage your house. Need some inspiration? Read up on (or watch episodes of) the KonMari Method, a popular movement founded by Marie Kondo Konmari that encourages homeowners to tidy up by category, not by location.
“Decluttering allows potential buyers to imaginetheirsentimental items in the space you’retrying to sell,” says Laura.
Also, don’t forget to clean the little things that might get forgotten, like fridge pans, dryer vents and rain gutters, as well as the bigger impressions, like cleaning the carpets or restretching them (versus recarpeting your floors) because the new homeowner will want their own carpets installed.
Don’t Take it Personal
We know those precious pics mean the world to you, but it’s important to remove all personal family portraits and replace them with other artwork.
“Sure, your little Timmy is cute, but in order for potential buyers to visualize the space as their own, personal photos and memorabilia should be stored away,” says Laura.
The amount of additional personal items on display should also be at a minimum, such as pet bowls and children’s toys.
“I understand how many people have pets, but buyers don’t want any leftover pet smells in the home,” says Laura. “It can be a deal breaker.”
The Great Outdoors
Your outdoor living space is just as vital to the staging process, so schedule a pressure washing of the exterior of your home, walkways and driveway to remove pollen, grime and mold. The outside, after all, is a home buyer’s first impression before they even step foot through the front door.
Outdoor staging also includes mowing the lawn, cleaning up any yard debris and arranging outdoor furniture on your front porch and back deck or patio in an inviting manner. As if to say, “Welcome home!”
The majority of retirees moving into our coastal area enjoy seeing the homes here reflect that “beachy” look, so Laura encourages home sellers to oblige them by inserting coastal decor elements throughout the home, such as a glass bowl filled with a variety of shells.
“It represents the beauty of our coastal community and reminds prospective buyers from out of town of the beach lifestyle they could soon call their own,” she says.
Play Up the Senses
When you weave more senses than just merely sight into the staging picture, you tug on a potential homebuyer’s emotions.
Place a vase of fresh flowers in the foyer, make all the beds with fresh linens, and style and set the dining room table so those touring can almost imagine an elegant dinner being served.
“An old tip, too, is to bake cookies or warm cinnamon rolls as a sentimental fragrance that will remind them of home,” says Laura.
It should only take a few weeks to prep your client’s home to be shown, so get started now! Once listed, homes average about two months to sell and two months to close, which is perfect timing for buyers to move in and get settled before the start of the school year.