Make an entrance
“The number-one, top most important item is the exterior,” says Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV’s Income Property, who has teamed up with low-commission brokerage Owners.com. “If we can’t get people through the door, it’s hard to make them make a purchase.” He recommends upgrading your front door so it’s clean, secure, and has matching hardware with the house numbers. Start with these tricks for boosting curb appeal.
Tuck away photos
When buyers are walking through a home, they’re trying to envision themselves living there—hard to do when they’re surrounded by the framed faces of someone else’s family. “Remove any type of family photos, anything overly personal in the home, because you want to make it appeal to the largest demographic possible,” says Laura Bonucchi, director of interior design for Designed to SELL Homes, LLC. Click here to find out what your home says about your personality.
Make your color palette more neutral
Beige isn’t the only choice for neutrals—go for gray too to keep you home looking clean and appealing. “You’re looking to appeal to 90 percent of the people 90 percent of the time,” says McGillivray. “The majority of people should feel comfortable in the space—not excited, not upset.” If you do want a pop of color, use it as an accent in pillows, paintings, and other items, he says. Try these foolproof tricks to create a color scheme.
Keep your style cohesive
While you don’t have to stick to one particular style—in fact, most people describe themselves as eclectic—try to avoid staunch differences between the designs of each room and go for a more cohesive look, says Bonucchi.
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Cater to your location
While traditional, modern, and eclectic can all look appealing, try to set your décor up to match buyers’ expectations. A transitional look tends to work well in urban or suburban settings, says McGillivray, but you might also want to line your design up with a style specific to the area. “If you’re selling a chalet in the mountains, don’t set up in an industrial setting—it’s going to be more country,” he says. “Be in tune with where the home is and what design taste for that is.”
Clean out your closets
iStock/IP Galanternik D.U.
“When buyers are walking through the house, they’re going to be opening closets and looking in storage areas,” says Bonucchi. “It can be overwhelming for a buyer to step into a space that’s visually very cluttered.” Store excess items—especially kids’ toys—in your basement, as long as there’s enough room that you’re not just creating a new problem in that area, she says. Otherwise, box up your clutter and leave it in a storage unit. Want to sell that clutter? Here are tips for a successful yard sale.
Get your flow
Set your home up with a good traffic flow so potential buyers don’t get stuck in dead ends. Make sure appliance and cabinet doors don’t block each other, doorways are clear, and your furniture doesn’t require visitors to zigzag through the room. “It’s nice to be able to walk all the way around and not get to the end and turn around,” says McGillivray.
Cut down on furniture
“If you’ve been living there for a long time, a home can be overcluttered with furniture, which detracts from how big the home appears,” says Bonucchi. By removing a few pieces of unnecessary furniture such as corner chairs in the living room, you can open up the space and make it look larger, she says.
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Consider renting pieces
Make sure bright or outdated furniture doesn’t detract from the beauty of the home itself. If you’re afraid your current collection of sofas and chairs could turn off buyers, try renting some pieces when showing your home. “Instead of your eyes going to the sofa that has super bright colors, you’re noticing the house and the views and the room,” says Bonucchi.
Let there be light
“Lighting is simple but makes a huge impact,” says McGillivray. “Some people really miss the opportunity to highlight a space.” The more light the better, he says. He recommends having lighting to fit a few different moods in each room. For instance, a kitchen might have general lighting on the ceiling, task light under cabinets, and sconces for mood lighting near the eating area, and leave all of them on when showing your home.
Update outdated light fixtures
“Updating a light fixture doesn’t have to be a fortune,” says McGillivray. “Pot lights can be expensive, but switching out a light fixture and maintaining the current placement is best.” If your main lighting in the room comes from a single bulb, replace it with a chandelier, using the same wiring so you don’t have to bring in an electrician, he says. Having those eight or so bulbs instead of one will make a huge impact. Plus, don't miss these simple upgrades that make your home look expensive.
Finish any projects
The last thing you want buyers to think about is all the work they’ll have to put into a home if they move in. If there’s a hook falling off the wall or a cabinet hinge that won’t shut right, now is the time to repair it. “Anything the potential buyer comes and says, ‘I’ll have to fix that when I move in,’ go ahead and take care of that so it’s not something they’ll have to think about,” says Bonucchi. Check out these cheap and easy ways to fix your home's wear and tear.
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