The beginning of a new year: a time to remember the past, and look to the future with fresh eyes and renewed hope. It is a season of reflection, resolution, and renovation (the three R’s?), because if you’re selling (or buying) a home, this is also the time to get ready for the spring market.
Before anything else, contact a real estate representative to provide an appraisal of your home’s current value, and an assessment of your local market. If you wish to improve your home’s value, and also decrease the time it spends with a for-sale sign on the lawn, FLUFF IT!
Fluffing, or staging a home has been statistically proven to bring a higher return on your investment, and significantly improve the time it takes to sell it. The goal is to get the home into “move in” condition, an environment that makes little or no immediate demands on the new owners. So many of today’s families are pressed for time. Few want to buy a house that needs some work the minute they move in. Sure, there are people who just want a handyman’s special they can renovate themselves. However, most people don’t have the time.
Most buyers overestimate the time and trouble involved in even simple cosmetic changes, such as stripping wallpaper, and they will mentally subtract that amount from the asking price of the house. If there are too many repairs that will have to be done right away, they may lose interest in the house altogether.
There are many things you can do on your own to create a higher perceived value:
• Get rid of clutter
• Pop brighter bulbs into light fixtures
• Add window treatments that let in the light
• Wash windows inside and out
• Make any repairs
• Paint exterior doors and trim
• Add a front door mat
• Flip the sofa cushions
• Paint in neutral colours
• Refinish hardwood floors
• Add new linens and towels
• For the open house day, create a relaxed atmosphere with candles, music, and fresh flowers
If you feel overwhelmed by the tasks required to get your house in top shape, or simply don’t have the time to get things done, hire someone to organize it for you. It can be less costly than you think—generally $2,000 to $10,000 for an average-sized house—and will more than pay for itself in time saved and increased value.
For a flat fee, a home stager can provide you with a “to do” list that you can work on completing on your own, or for an additional hourly rate, he/she will hire and supervise tradespeople to do it for you, and usually much more quickly. The day before the first open house, there are last minute touch-ups, such as re-arranging furniture or hanging borrowed paintings.
Other strategies to increase interior:
• Pare back the house to its basic structure—rent a temporary storage space for clutter and excess furniture
• Restore original features such as hardwood floors
• Create a specific purpose or use for each room
• Consider the initial impact a room makes—move or cover up ugly furniture, objects or views and get ready to enjoy your new home!