Many property owners save money by listing their home for sale by owner (FSBO) instead of working with a real estate agent. To get the most for your home, you still need to do a bit of work to ensure it offers a great first impression to every prospective home buyer. This process is called staging and can make the difference between good offers and not so good ones. Spend the weeks before you post your home for sale on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) getting your home ready. Don’t Rush!
# Empty Closets and Declutter
One key appealing to buyers is to get them to feel “at home” in your space. This means you want to depersonalize the space as much as possible. Declutter, update and depersonalize wherever you can. As a home seller, follow these tips for staging your home for sale before you list:
Decluttering is one of the most important steps. Clearing out and opening up space will help ensure prospective home buyers can see themselves in the space. Remove personal photos and mementos if there are a lot, pick up and send to storage items you don’t use daily that are currently stacked on the floor, in cupboards and in closets. Decluttering will help rooms and closets look bigger and they will seem more inviting and move-in ready.
#2: Make Crucial Repairs
You should take care of known and obvious repairs before they come up in a house showing or with a home inspection. This includes things like leaking faucets, holes in the wall, and broken steps. Be sure to make any repairs up front that could otherwise slow down the close on the sale. Most often, this doesn’t require a large investment, but making a good first impression and assuring an efficient close with fewer “issues” will get you faster and higher quality offers on the home.
#3: Add a Flowerpot at the Front Door
First impressions start when someone pulls up to the home and sees the beautiful flowerpot at your doorstep. It’s pleasing, welcoming, and starts to paint the picture of a pleasant space to call home. It’s also one of the least expensive ways to add a pop of color to your front door to welcome guests.
#4: Get the Paint Updated and Modernized
Paint is inexpensive overall, but it can create a fresh, like-new look and feel for any space. If there are areas of the home that have scuffs or handprints, consider a new coat of paint to get rid of those eyesores. Also, use a coat of neutral color paint to tone down bright or deeply colored walls. That dark color may appeal to you, but a lighter color feels fresher and lighter and is appealing to a wider range of visitors. Fresh paint can help people feel like the home is move-in ready.
#5: Use Furniture But Less of It
Get rid of extra furniture as a way to add more space and function to a room, but at the same time ensure each room is defined. If you have a space that’s a dining and living room, for example, make sure to set it up that way with as few pieces as possible. That way, it’s easy to see how the space can be used, helping ensure they can picture themselves in that space.
#6: What to Do About Pets
Home buyers attribute any signs of a pet in the home – such as food bowls, litter boxes, or watering bowls – as an indication that there could be pet damage in the home. Even if you have pets, tuck their items away out of sight to eliminate the risk of deterring prospective home buyers who may be less likely to welcome pets into their home. To reduce these distractions, have someone else take your dogs out for a walk during showings, especially if they are less than perfect angels when strangers come by.
#7: Get the Carpeting Cleaned or Removed
Carpeting is hard to maintain especially when there are spots already on it. If it’s relatively new and in good shape, get it cleaned so it will look and smell its best. In some cases, rather than try to make a hopeless carpet look new again, pulling up old carpeting to make room for a snap-in-place wood floor may add value to the home. It also ensures the home buyer knows they can move right into the home without having to tackle the flooring themselves. These products range in value and some are very much do-it-yourself projects in about a weekend.
#8: Let the Natural Light In
Dark corners are not attractive to home buyers, but we all love natural light. Open blinds and curtains, especially if you have a nice view, garden or porch to look out on. If you have neighbors close by and don’t think having the curtains open is an attractive selling point, add a few bright lights where it’s needed. Bright light is cheerful and will make your home feel more inviting. It can also help prospective buyers feel they got a good look at the entire home so they don’t go away with doubts about certain rooms. Natural light, when possible, is the easiest way to do this.
#9: Turn the Backyard into Living Space
With a little extra effort, your backyard or patio can add living space to the home. Add a small patio table into the space or place a small hammock into the trees in the back. Whatever you do, make this space seem inviting and large, so it encourages visitors to step right in to relax. If you do have pets, of course, make sure there’s no evidence of them in the yard.
#10: Set the Dinner Table
The dining area is important to most buyers who will see this as a family and friends meeting spot. Stage it with a table setting that implies a homemade meal and happy conversation around the table. Use nice linens and matching plates, perhaps a runner and cloth napkins to set the stage for your new buyers. This will help them visualize sharing a meal in their new home.
Need Some Help with Your FSBO?
Looking to sell or buy a home in the Virginia area? With our flat-fee MLS listing plans and other services, FSBO Virginia provides the tools and support you need for affordable FSBO support for both sellers and buyers. Reach out to us today.