Home Sweet Home. It’s where we look forward to going at the end of the day. Everything is just where we want it and it’s as comfortable as a warm bathrobe. We take a lot of time decorating our homes so that they reflect our lives, our families and our interests.
I love visiting other people’s homes and seeing that reflection of their lives and personalities in their surroundings. Collections are a great starting point for conversations and photos tell stories of travels and lives well spent.
Things change when you are putting your home on the market for strangers to visit. After all, you’re hoping one of these strangers loves your home enough to buy it and consider it their home. When you purchase a house you personalize it to become a home. When you want to sell your home, you depersonalize it to appeal to a large audience. As a home stager, my job is to help with that preparation.
There is a lot to say about depersonalizing, removing family photos, collections, and clutter in readying a home for sale, but I can tell you there are three things you better consider before you put that “For Sale” sign out front.
There are three things that are so personal; your visitors will have a hard time imagining your home as theirs. They are so personal you may take offense that I bring them up, but I am on your side and want you to sell your home ASAP. So here goes:
The first sensitive subject: Pets. Yes, I know they are a member of your family. Just as you would not want a small member of your human family present when the house is being shown, you shouldn’t have your pets underfoot either. There are a lot of pet people looking for homes, but there are also a lot of non- pet people looking also. Do you really want to exclude such a large percentage of shoppers? If possible, have your pets go visit a family member or friend while your house is for sale. If not possible, hide the kitty litter box and board or kennel the canines during the day.
The second sensitive subject: Wall paper and wall color. Picking out wallpaper is a time consuming experience. Why? Because you look at so many choices before you find the one you like. So with the thousands of choices out there, what are chances that lots of people are going to love the same one you did? Broaden your field of interested shoppers and tone down the walls to a neutral color. The same applies to color on the walls. Less is more. Less color---more appeal to more people. A little color is ok as long as it is current. Look through catalogs and home decorating magazines at what is popular now. Bathrooms and kitchens are good places for just a spot of gentle color. Consider hiring a home stager to come give a color consultation.
The third sensitive subject: Smells and smoke. Many potential buyers will not go past the foyer is they smell smoke. If you smoke inside your home, you will need to do some spring cleaning before your home is ready to list. I know your home is your castle, but you’re ready to move that castle—right? So clean the rugs, ducts, and paint if necessary. It’s always good to have a smell check, even if you don’t smoke. Few of us can smell things in our own homes and all homes can fall victim to an odor problem. Ask you realtor if he or she detects any odors that should be dealt with. Better to face it head on than to have buyers mysteriously leaving early.
Take care of these three things, and you will have taken care of the three biggest turn offs for buyers. Oh—and don’t forget about the decluttering, cleaning, and depersonalizing too!