As the saying goes, “you only make a first impression once.” Nowhere is that more true than in real estate, where potential buyers often make an initial decision about a home as soon as they walk onto the property. It goes without saying that the Asheville home you are selling should be clean, but the proper staging of a home goes way beyond that.
While undertaking a home staging may seem like a major production, particularly financially, the steps detailed below offer simple, affordable suggestions that actually can result in a higher sale price and a faster sale.
Potential buyers often sign a purchase and sales agreement contingent on a professional inspection report which can result in the discovery of surprise structural and/or infrastructural issues. Because of this detail, Greybeard Realty suggests that sellers hire their own inspection company to do a complete home inspection prior to putting a home on the Asheville real estate market. Professional inspectors will look at home foundations as well as interior walls for cracks, for example, and determine what is cosmetic and what needs to be addressed. In addition, they can inspect heating and air conditioning equipment and assess any functional problems the home may have.
While it is tempting to skip this step and go with the adage of “let the buyer beware,” it is rare for buyers not to have a home inspected prior to purchase, and the discovery of unknown issues can result in a failed deal or a decrease in the sales price.
Having an inspection does not mean that the present buyer has to tend to the issues discovered by the home inspector, though that can be done. Often, a buyer will feel more trusting moving into a sale if the seller has shown a commitment to knowing what needs to be done to a home. Also, the seller can adjust the asking price prior to putting the home on the market and not have to renegotiate when the buyer’s inspector makes surprise discoveries.
Walk around the home and assess if a fresh coat of paint is needed. Prune, weed and tidy up the yard so that the property looks neat and manageable. If the outside is unkempt, potential buyers may determine that the property requires too much upkeep to keep up with.
Wash the windows inside and outside to let the most possible light shine inside. If seasonably appropriate, consider adding planters and/or window boxes which can increase the charm and curb appeal of the home. If possible, make an outdoor sitting area which can enlarge the gathering space and increase the social appeal of the home. If the home presently has outdoor pets, be sure to pick up after the pets prior to showing the home so that potential buyers do not have to watch their step in the yard.
De-cluttering Your Home
Potential buyers want to envision themselves in the house, which can be difficult to do if personal pictures are all over the place and toys and books are prolific. Besides making rooms seem smaller and making it feel as if buyers are trespassing in someone else’s home rather than one they could live in, clutter can also indicate a lack of storage space.
Box up or throw out the clutter. Do not de-clutter into closets. Having buyers walk through a home is not like having friends over for dinner. Buyers will be opening closet doors to see how much space there is and how much is crammed into that space. Nothing turns a buyer off like having a pile of toys and clothes fall out of a closet onto them.
If throwing out the clutter is not an option, consider renting a slot in a storage center and moving everything into it except what is needed on a daily basis. The home should look lived-in but livable by anyone, not just the present owners.
Accentuate the natural lighting the home offers by opening curtains and shades and adding lighting as needed. If a room needs updating, use paint and not wallpaper, as buyers will probably want to redo colors and paint is much easier to alter. And choose neutral colors when painting has to be done, as burnt sienna may be appealing now, but eggshell is more universal.
Be sure that each room has a purpose. As tempting as it may be to have a junk room, again, that can present as having too small a home to potential buyers. Assess the flooring. If needed, remove stained carpet and replace it with hardwood floors. Consider upgrading the bathroom and kitchen floors as the smaller spaces can still make a big impression. If appliances cannot be upgraded, at least scrub up the ones in the home to make them appear as new as possible.
Take a look at the furniture in the home. Is it the right size? Is it the right configuration? Is it clean? If it desperately needs an upgrade but the budget is not there for that, consider renting a few pieces and moving the rest into storage or the new place.
If a Greybeard Realtor calls and has a prospective buyer coming by, make one last sweep through the home. Consider having a friend come over to do a final inspection. Be sure the home smells pleasant. Sometimes if there are pets, sellers may be acclimated to the odor and not even realize there is one. That same friend will have a different perspective and may be able to tell you some ideas that you have overlooked.
To keep the home ready for showing, have a clutter box in each room, a small container that you can toss the random toy, book or knickknack into and put the lid on and slide under the bed or into a corner.
Don’t infuse too much cash into the staging process, as a lot of these tips are more about paring down than paying up. And finally, when the home is staged to sell and ready to put onto the Asheville real estate market, get a professional photographer to come take photos.
For more information or assistance in readying an Asheville home for sale, please contact Greybeard Realty.