With popularity of home staging and all the home renovation shows on television these days, it's easy to become overwhelmed at the pressure the industry seems to place on the average homeseller to 'prepare your home for sale'.
Let's de-mystify and simplify this process a little bit today...
You've met with a realtor, you like them and want to prepare the home for sale. What does that mean? If you believe what you read in magazines and see on TV, you're thinking that you have a huge task ahead that involves many industry professionals and thousands of dollars.
There are a few things you can do that go a long way if you're trying to economize. If you're on a fixed income, try these simple self-staging suggestions before you call in the pros. You may just surprise yourself and discover that you've tapped into a previously unrealized artistic streak. You may possess a sense of design and style that will not only save you thousands of dollars, but give you that wonderful feeling of accomplishment - not to mention new ideas and a skill set to use when you decorate your next home.
It's such a simple concept, but we all become overwhelmed at the first suggestion I am about to make, but it is a MUST. De-clutter. As soon as you mentally make the decision to move, get started on this task. Look at it this way, it's not only free, it's also one of the most effective ways to begin to showcase the features of your home. You have to have a clean palette in order to create a masterpiece. You know what you have to do but here are some simple suggestions to help you get started:
Make a list at each stage. Try and stick to it, start small and move forward. You'll feel energized with each item you cross off of your list.
- Start small. Don't look at the entire house or you'll be overwhelmed. If you're like me, you've got a job, a social life, a family etc... Setting aside just 30 minutes a day can make the world of difference. Tackle that medicine cabinet, or linen closet. Then stop, relax and read a book or watch the TV. If you're feeling motivated and want to do more, go ahead but stop for the day when you feel even the slightest bit tired or negative. Keep this task positive.
As you become freed of the clutter, your creative juices should start flowing.
- Start packing and start, once again, you can start small. You're moving anyway so why not get a head start on things? As you box things up, identify the boxes clearly, "Summer clothes - Master bedroom". Once again, give yourself a break. A box or two a day, is fine. You'll have the satisfaction of seeing the boxes line up neatly in the basement knowing you are going to be SO prepared come moving day!
- Clean is the order of the day when it comes to preparing your home for sale. Even if you have limited funds for preparing your home for sale, a little vinegar and elbow grease goes a long way.
- As the space in your home becomes clearer, start to consider what your priorities are in showing your hometo it's best advantage. Is your front foyer understated and needs a simple lick of paint on even one wall to give it a really welcoming feel? Remember: first impressions... Gone are the days when we repainted the entire house beige to make it neutral. As long as the paint is clean, (and not black or hot pink) focus on making the rooms feel warm, and welcoming with an easy flow of movement. You may LOVE the massive easy chair that you read in every night but if you have to turn sideways to get past it on your way to the kitchen, now is the time to either re-arrange the furniture in the living room or take that chair to the garage until it finds it's new place in your new home.
- Little touches go a long way. An otherwise plain, unoccupied window in a back stairway can be dressed up easily and inexpensively with a simple vase and dried flowers. You may be the only one who normally passes this window but when your house is being shown to prospective buyers why not deliver a little 'pop' of colour?
- Dust off your grandfather's oil painting from the early 1900's and hang it somewhere! He didn't paint it for you just to keep it as a memento. It probably has a really unique frame and an style to the art that is experiencing a renaissance right now. The minute I put my dear Grandpa's painting up in our living room, I burst with pride and now I think of him every day when I admire it. I also am reminded of the legacy of artists his genes passed along throughout our clan.
- I'll bet there's a funky piece of art that you or a family member created that you're proud of somewhere in a box in the house... Maybe you rediscovered it when you were de-cluttering? Now's the time to give it a simple frame and show it off. You can get a simple black frame at the dollar store.
So... I've given you a few little pointers and perhaps made the prospect of preparing your home for sale a less daunting one. There's no mystery to home staging and if you have a little initiative and even just a speck of artistic ability in your little finger it can really help in preparing your home for sale. The worst-case scenario, you'll have a clean home. The best-case scenario, you realize an untapped talent and make your house more saleable in the process!
Feel free to contact your local CENTURY sales professional if you need any suggestions or ideas on preparing, or listing your home for sale.
Dee Girdler is with CENTURY 21 Pinnacle Ltd. in Lindsay, ON.