What if we told you there is a marketing technique that not only helps sell your home quickly but also has the best return on investment (ROI)? Staging is one of the top five home improvements real estate professionals recommend to their clients because the average ROI is 196%, according to HomeGain’s 2012 National Home Improvement Survey. Even though a small staging budget can increase the sale price of a home, staging is often the last thing sellers think of doing. Get your home ready to sell this spring with five staging tips that pay off big time.
1. Size Up the Situation
If you’re like most people, you’ve probably accumulated quite a pile of things throughout the years – pictures, books, knickknacks, toys, pet gear, hobby materials. And if you’re like us, contemplating packing those things for a move, or organizing them for a staging, can feel overwhelming. Before you stress yourself out, ask a friend whose decorating taste you admire to tour your house with you and give you constructive criticism about where you need to pare back for staging purposes and which things you should ditch altogether. Make sure to remove furniture or decor that might prevent buyers from seeing the best features of your house.
2. Assess Your Outdoor Space
Walk from the street to your front door and note what you need to clean and fix outdoors. Polish or replace worn door hardware or your mailbox, and make sure to fix winter damage to shrubs, porches and trim. Plant colorful annuals as early as you dare, and put in lots of them. Little starter plants won’t pack the punch you need to attract a closer look from potential buyers driving past, so in this case, go big or go home.
3. Dress for Spring, Sparingly
If you don’t have any allergies to flowers, keep fresh cut flowers in your home to make it look homey and lived-in. Beyond that, take note of your usual spring decor — if it includes four-leaf clovers in your yard or Easter eggs on your kitchen counter, consider keeping it boxed up for another year. Remember, your goal is to create an environment that appeals to all types of buyers, so decor that’s specific to your cultural or religious background might be off-putting to those who don’t share your history.
4. Fix Your Flaws First
Chances are, buyers won’t be fooled by clever staging that camouflages worn-out appliances and systems. Plus, these issues will come up in a closing home inspection. If you’re not sure that all electric, plumbing and structural work complies with municipal codes, hire a home inspector to check things out. If you have to bring your house into code compliance, better to do so on your own terms with contractors you choose than to have to deal with it in the midst of negotiating a sale.
5. Focus on the Fundamentals
If your appliances are more than 10 years old, they might look outdated, even if they’re perfectly functional. Tour a few open houses in your area to see what finishes and functions are commanding top price. Concentrate on the basics: a high-quality stove, refrigerator, dishwasher and solid faucet. Don’t get carried away with gimmicky add-ons such as built-in espresso makers, which are costly and have limited appeal, since you probably won’t get your money back on those.