As you prepare a home for a showing, remember that you are staging a scene where potential buyers should immediately be drawn in and feel at home. This requires striking the right balance between showing a home that looks cozy and welcoming to the buyer versus one that looks like it can only belong to one person, couple or family.
First impressions make a dramatic and lasting impact. If you are house hunting and your agent pulls alongside the curb in front a property covered with weeds and overgrown shrubbery, your first thoughts will drift toward images of slaving away every weekend to tidy and maintain the yard. Perish these deterring thoughts in those who come to view the home by keeping shrubbery neatly trimmed, the lawn mowed and weeds eradicated. Spruce up the front entry with a welcoming outdoor chair, some vibrant blooms in a container and a fresh coat of paint on the door. Replace any rusty or tarnished fixtures such as light fixtures, mailboxes and house numbers.
Since a move is inevitable, sellers should begin packing early with the goal of reducing clutter. When potential buyers look at a home, they want to be able to envision their life and their family within its walls. Too many of the seller’s own personal knickknacks and photos of family will limit the buyer’s ability to visualize themselves living there. Sellers should pack away as much as possible, leaving only the things that they require for day-to-day living in the home. Store boxes off premises. You do not want homebuyers to be turned off by the sight of all of those moving boxes.
Suggest that the seller clear the garage, basement and attic of all clutter as well. What has served them as a hoarding haven in which to temporarily stash things may, once cleared, evoke visions for a homebuyer as a potential extra space to finish and transform into another room.
Clearing away excess clutter exposes more wall and floor space, giving the illusion of larger rooms. Closets and cabinets that are half empty appear to the homebuyer as vast amounts of storage space; a prized commodity that no home ever seems to have enough of. Keep only enough furniture in each room to demonstrate the use of the room. Wall-to-wall furniture and extra tables and ottomans make the space appear much smaller.
Once the rooms have been cleared, consider a new coat of paint to refresh the walls. Opting for light neutral hues will make the walls appear further apart, thus making the rooms appear larger. These shades also reflect more light than darker colors, thus brightening the room. Most homebuyers are seeking a bright and sunny home as opposed to a darkened cave. For evening showings, remember to switch on all indoor light fixtures.
Once the aforementioned tasks have been accomplished, daily cleaning will be swift and easy. Keep the home vacuumed, swept, mopped, dusted and tidy. Keep the kitchen sink empty, beds made, laundry corralled in the hamper and bathroom vanities clear. No one wants to see dirty clothes on the bedroom floor or to be greeted by wet towels and a used razor and toothbrush in the bathroom.
Create a welcoming ambience when homebuyers are imminently expected. Keep some quick dessert bread mixes on hand and bake one in the oven to give off a pleasing aroma that will waft from the kitchen throughout the home. Flood the rooms with light and give the home an extra boost of refreshing chill or comforting warmth to counteract any extreme outdoor temperatures. You may also choose to have soothing music playing softly in the background.
Finally, suggest that the seller take a ride with their family and pets. This allows potential buyers to peacefully ponder all of the possibilities that the home has to offer them without feeling pressured or intrusive.