Design 101: Get the Best Price for Your Home. Work with a Realtor and a Stager
“I’m selling my house. How do I make sure I get the best price?” “Help! I need to organize all my stuff. Where do I start?” Interior designers deal with these and many other questions every day. For the purposes of this article, we’re tackling the first one. “I’m selling my house…”
How do I make sure I get the best price? Work with a realtor. It can be tempting to try and save money on the commission, but what you don’t know can cost you far more than you save. The same concept applies to staging. A professional home stager can help you sell your house faster and for a better price than you might get by yourself. More importantly, they can help you avoid spending money on unnecessary updates or undesirable finishes.
Pro Tip: Think of the property not as “your home,” but as the future buyer’s. Colors and updates you might not prefer may very well have the greatest appeal and yield the highest return on investment (ROI).
Should I paint? The short answer is yes. The long answer is this: if you’ve recently painted and by recently I mean within a year and the paint is still near pristine and it’s a neutral color that’s consistent with best staging practices, then perhaps you don’t need to. But please remember that this is about ROI and maximizing the number of bidders on your property. A good paint job will not only help it look cleaner, but will help restore that “new house smell.”
Pro Tip: If you’re unsure a room needs to be painted, remove pictures, mirrors, and other wall hangings. If the color has faded beneath them, paint.
What projects have the best ROI? The answers vary from year to year, but the top projects are almost always: repainting, refinishing flooring/replacing carpet, and minor kitchen and bathroom remodels. Address areas that are visibly deficient. Clean, declutter, depersonalize, sanitize. These are the most critical first steps to staging.
Pro Tip: Address signs of damage or deferred maintenance. The last thing you want potential buyers thinking is, “If they didn’t take care of that what else is wrong?”
Do I need to stage with furniture? The main benefit of staging with furniture is to help the potential buyer visualize the use of space. Bringing in furniture can help, but so too can “virtual staging,” whereby an artist renders an image that can be displayed in the room and online. Ultimately it comes down to ROI. How much will it cost to bring in furniture, and how long will you pay to have it there?
Pro Tip: Start with consultative staging and once the painting, cleaning, and decluttering is completed, consider this option.
What do I do with all my stuff? Assuming you haven’t already moved into your new home, the bulk of your items should be getting packed. The less clutter you have around, the larger the space will look. It’s especially recommended that highly personal items be removed before showing as it’s easier for a potential buyer to imagine the space as theirs if there are no family pictures on display. Put what you don’t need on a daily basis into storage, and eliminate items you no longer want.
Pro Tip: Remember, if it costs more to pack and store than to replace, consider disposing of it.