Two weeks ago we shared our thoughts on why your home isn’t selling (read more here). At the end of that post, I promised to follow up with some actionable steps that you can take to create more value and get your home sold. While my original focus was on general steps to increase value, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the 5+ feet of snow staring at me through my front window (and my Facebook feed). So, if you’re home is currently for sale, here is what you need to know….
1. SHOW ME A SIGN
I’m willing to bet that your lawn sign is currently buried… First thing being first, get outside and see whether the sign can be dug out and made visible from the street. If so, great! Whether you dig it out or your Realtor does, well that’s up to you BUT at the very least make sure your Realtor knows that the sign is buried and whether it can be dug out. If your sign has no chance of being dug out because of where the snow is being thrown, then you need to contact your Realtor right away and get a new sign. I don’t generally recommend jamming a new sign into the top of a snowbank for safety reasons but, find a high visibility location to place it like ON the house/porch, etc.
2. SALT & SHOVEL
Before you call me captain obvious, hear me out. I don’t mean basic snow removal. If your home is for sale, you have to take your snow removal to the next level. If potential buyers have to walk sideways between their car and the banks to get up your driveway, they are automatically feeling discomfort and are associating that feeling with your home. It is essential that you take the time to widen paths and walkways and, if possible, salt them down until they’re bare. If buyers can plant their feet firmly on the ground, they will automatically feel more confident with the property. If buyers are waddling, arms outstretched, on ice… well, they’re not looking at your house. They’re actually just trying not to fall.
3. FEELING HOT, HOT, HOT!
The temperature inside the home is such an important component of presenting the highest value for the property. If buyers are cold inside your home, they are uncomfortable and, again, they associate that feeling with the home. Further, consciously or subconsciously, they’re likely running through a list of all of the reasons that the home could be cold: Poor insulation? Defective/old heat system? Bad windows? And the list goes on… don’t put your home (or yourself) through the added scrutiny and turn the heat up a few hours prior to showing. Remember, you may choose to wear slippers and sweaters inside a la Fred Rogers, but your buyers may not.
4. WINDOWS (and everything) CLEANER THAN CLEAN
Have you ever noticed just how bright the world is when it’s covered it snow? The extra brightness reflected in the snow makes every spec of dust, dirt and grime show much more obviously that normal. As such, Winter is the perfect time to get the cleaners in or throw in extra elbow grease and get your windows, floors and flat surfaces absolutely spotless.
5. CLEAR DECKS, PATIOS AND PORCHES COMPLETELY
This one isn’t so obvious. A huge part of the living space that your home offers is the outdoor living space. But if buyers can see it, you can’t sell it! So, get out on your porch, deck and/or patio and shovel it completely so that potential buyers can visualize what the home will be like beyond winter. And let’s face it, just about every New Brunswicker is currently longing for summer. Show them that your home is going to give them the summer living spaces that they’re currently dreaming about!
6. SPEAKING OF SUMMER… UPDATE YOUR PHOTOS!
If the online leading photo of your home shows a lush green lawn, replace it with a photo that shows the home in the snow. WHY? Because a photo of your home with a green lawn will stand out like a sore thumb and buyers will assume that the home has been sitting on the market forever… then they will ask why and likely assume the worst! Don’t risk it… the photo that you’re using to market your home should be a reflection of how it looks today… not 6 months ago.
What other winter selling challenges can you add to this list?
First impressions are everything, especially when you’re trying to sell your home. There are several home staging tips and techniques you can learn in order to make your home appeal to potential buyers. The ultimate goal to home staging is to create an environment that interests as many home buyers as possible, resulting in a quick sale. Here are some of the top home staging tips and techniques you should follow:
1. Cut the clutter – If your home is cluttered, you’re sending the message that it isn’t large enough to accommodate your needs, so tidying will help each room look bigger and better. It’s vital that you get rid of all clutter in your home, and that doesn’t mean shoving it all into drawers, cupboards, and closets. In fact, it’s just as important that you declutter these areas too as it’s inevitable that home buyers will also be looking in your closets and cupboards. If you need to, rent a storage unit to store all your extra belongings until you move. To help get you started on decluttering, read Top 26 Home Organization Tips to Get Rid of Clutter.
2. Make Mr. Clean proud – I mean, really proud. Scrub your home from top to bottom until it sparkles and shines. When you’re selling your home, you’re going to have potential buyers coming through all the time, so make sure to keep on top of things once you’ve done the initial deep cleaning.
3. Lose the stink – Another one of the most important staging tips a home seller must follow is ensuring their home doesn’t smell. This rule applies to all rooms in the house. Make sure you scoop the poop in your cat’s litter box every day and always before you show your home to potential buyers (or even consider tip #5). Also, your home shouldn’t smell of meat cooking, cigarette smoke, sweaty teenagers, etc. Further, you really shouldn’t spray your home with air fresheners before showing it – doing so just screams “I’m covering up a gross stink!” If it’s going to smell of anything, it should be fresh flowers or bread in the oven.
4. Lighten up – You want your home to be as bright as possible. Make sure you clean the windows (inside and out) and open the curtains. Also, adding mirrors can help reflect light and make a room look larger.
5. Find a home for pets – Not all potential buyers are going to be animal lovers. As difficult as it may be, you might want to consider booking Fido into a doggy hotel or getting Fluffy to lodge at a friend’s house. This applies to small caged critters too. If you just can’t part with your furry friend, you absolutely must remove as much evidence of them as possible: make sure there is no fur on the floors, the toys are picked up, the poop is scooped (in the yard too!), etc.
6. Don’t make it personal – As much as you love that photo of your son using the potty for the first time or the Bob Marley poster you have in your bedroom, it doesn’t mean everyone else loves it too. It’s important that you remove all personal items from your home when staging it. You want potential buyers to be able to vision themselves living there, which may be impossible for them to do if they can’t see beyond the Princess Diana or Elvis Presley collector plates you have on your walls.
7. Keep it neutral – Try to keep your décor as neutral as possible. Consider storing anything that has loud patterns and colours that may not appeal to everyone’s tastes.
8. Make each room have a specific purpose – Sure, the office/spare room/play room/library might work for you and your family’s needs, but when you’re staging your home, you should designate each room to its intended purpose. If, for example, you’ve listed your home as a 3 bedroom house, make sure that multipurpose room is converted back into a bedroom before putting your house on the market.
9. Make minor repairs – Make sure to tighten loose knobs, fix leaky faucets, change burnt out light bulbs, etc. If you are unable to do so yourself, consider hiring a handyman to do the repairs for you.
10. Less is more – In order to showcase each room to its fullest potential, you want it to appear as large as possible. Remove any extra furniture that isn’t needed (another reason to rent a storage unit), get rid of all kitchen gadgets that are on the countertop that you can temporarily live without, store large backyard toys, etc.
11. Paint – Not everybody loves flowery wallpaper or purple walls. A fresh coat of paint does wonders for any home. One of the best home staging tips you can follow is to paint rooms a neutral colour, such as beige or cream.
12. Don’t forget the outside – Curb appeal is just as important as the inside. Tidy the yard, making sure leaves are raked, grass is mowed, and kids’ toys are picked up. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the door and window shutters can also give your home a cheap pick-me-up. If you have a detached garage or shed, make sure these are as clutter-free as possible too.
More Home Staging Tips & Techniques
Do you have any great home staging tips or ideas? Leave a comment to let us know!