Karen Lawley's Blog
Putting your house on the market is a lot like preparing to host a holiday party; you want to make the best possible impression on people without having to spend a small fortune in the process!
Assuming your home is not drastically outdated or in disrepair, there are a lot of simple things you can do to make it more appealing to visitors.
For a lot of reasons, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the house. The impression your kitchen makes on potential buyers can easily make or break your chances for a quick sale. Although everyone's looking for different features in a home, it will always be to your advantage to spend a little extra time sprucing up your kitchen.
While it may not be practical or affordable to give your kitchen a complete makeover, here are a few simple ideas for enhancing its overall appeal.
Lighting affects perception: As a home seller, one of your primary objectives is to create an environment that's comfortable, attractive, and relaxing. Lighting, both natural and artificial, can play a big role in how people perceive your home. If you're fortunate enough to have sunny weather on days when your house is being shown, it will be easier to present your kitchen and other rooms to their best advantage. By letting in a lot of natural sunlight, colors tend to be more vibrant and your home's mood will be a lot more positive. Turning on electrical lights can also help give your living space a more cheerful feeling.
Cleanliness is crucial: Although the "grunge factor" is something you want to avoid anywhere in your house, prospective buyers will pay special attention to the cleanliness of your kitchen and bathrooms. Thoroughly cleaning counter tops, floors, sinks, and appliances will go a long way toward making a positive impression. If you can use cleansers that have a mild, natural-smelling fragrance -- like citrus, for example -- then you won't risk turning people off with the overpowering smell of harsh chemicals or artificial scents.
Staging your kitchen: A few things you can do to make your kitchen look more inviting and memorable include adding touches like a vase of fresh flowers, a bowl of colorful fruit, and a green plant or two. Removing distracting clutter from counter tops, tables, and desks can also help give your kitchen a more organized, tidy, and spacious appearance.
If your refrigerator door is covered with outdated children's drawings, coupons, photographs, and other miscellaneous memorabilia, it might be worth your time to weed that out a little bit! Not only does it detract from the beauty of your kitchen, but it also makes it impossible to clean the door of your fridge. Another tip to keep in mind is that too many personal items on display make it more difficult for prospects to visualize living in your home -- which is the first step to winning them over as buyers.
While your real estate agent will often be the best source of information and advice when it comes to home staging, here are a few crucial basics that many homeowners overlook:
- Curb appeal: Sometimes first impressions can be the strongest and most indelible memory in the minds of potential buyers. If your front lawn needs mowing and your hedges are looking shabby, it definitely sends the wrong message to would-be buyers. Conversely, if you have a manicured lawn and impeccable landscaping, it speaks volumes about the pride of ownership and quality of care that the current owner (you) has given to the property. One important thing that a lot of homeowners forget about curb appeal is the "drive by factor." Many house hunters will screen properties that potentially interest them by driving by and getting a quick, general idea of how it looks. This process of evaluation (and elimination) is often done on a pass/fail basis. In other words, if the appearance of your property creates an unfavorable impression, they will cross your house off their list and move on to the next one.
- Clutter is always a turnoff. Many homeowners equate "clutter" with too much furniture in a room. While crowded, cramped living spaces do comprise a big part of the problem, there is much more to it than that. Other symptoms of a cluttered home are tables and counter-tops that have little or no empty space. The same can be said of walls that are too "busy" with framed photos, paintings, clocks, nick-knacks, and miscellaneous memorabilia. Very often understatement and simplicity create a better impression than visual clutter and excessive "busyness". One aspect of your home's appearance that is especially worth mentioning are your closets. While some people might say that closets are "out of sight and out of mind," unfortunately, that principle does not apply when your home is on the market. Since the type and amount of storage space available is a high priority item for many potential buyers, they are almost invariable going to open and look in every closet and storage space in your house. If those areas are crammed with clutter of every description, then that is going to leave prospects with a bad feeling about the cleanliness and the amount of care the house has received. If you're getting ready to sell your house, it's definitely time to de-clutter those closets and other storage areas. (Hopefully, people will be a little more forgiving about the appearance of your basement and attic, since you may be in the process of packing up to move!)