Decorating Tips for the Home Seller
When you’re selling your home the phrase “You will never get a second chance to make a good first impression” should be first and foremost on your mind. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly plan and prepare your home for sell. The tips below will help you make the best first impression.
Sounds like common sense but I’ve seen enough homes that fail that first test. The smell of a closed up or dirty house will instantly make your potential buyer make a U-turn and find his way out the door quickly. If your home isn’t in tip top shape consider hiring a cleaning service to create a clean and fresh image that buyers will appreciate.
Floor Planning and Traffic Flow
Study your current furniture & room layout and determine if that is the best configuration. Take into account traffic flow patterns. Homeowners grow accustomed to their surroundings and may not even realize they have a floor plan issue or that they don’t have enough space to comfortably walk between the sofa and the entertainment center. Fixing a floor plan and/or traffic flow issue can be as simple as re-arranging furniture to better show off features of a room. You donâ€™t want potential buyers tripping over the sofa or having to suck in their stomachs to get by some ill placed chairs and tables. They will remember that feeling of discomfort and associate it with the house. They may also leave thinking that your home is much smaller than it actually is because of the poor layout.
Be Brutally Honest about your Home’s Cosmetic Shortcomings
Take note of all cosmetic defects and set out to fix them before your potential buyer ever has a chance to see them. Itâ€™s easier to fix a cosmetic defect before a buyer sees it than later. The impression has been made and the sale may have been lost.
Leave the 60′s, 70′s, 80′s
Updates may be necessary if your home resembles the set of “I Dream Of Jeannie” , “The Brady Bunch” or â€œMiami Viceâ€. Outdated decor, furnishings and colors are a turn-off to many buyers. This is probably one of the hardest things to do because you probably aren’t aware of your home decor or style. Speak to your Realtor or a close friend and ask them to give you their honest opinion. Let them know that you don’t want it sugar-coated just the facts so you can get started on fixing the issue at home thereby getting you closer to the sale of your home.
Room By Room
Bedroom should always feel bright and airy. If it’s not be prepared to make it so. Neutral color schemes that evoke a serene feeling are the best. Look at photos of luxury hotel rooms for inspiration.
Bathroom should be well-lit, clean and smell fresh. Toilet seat should be in the down position. Mirrors should be streak free and shiny. Put your personal care items away. Again think of creating a bathroom like one you would find in a luxury hotel. There should be very little traces of you – that makes it easier for the potential buyer to see herself in “her” bathroom not yours. If you need to go out and buy new bath linens in neutral colors. Ratty towels send the wrong message and the same goes for dirty bath mats and moldy shower curtains. Investing a few dollars into updating and upgrading decorative items, bath accessories and bath linens will pay handsomely later.
Closets and storage spaces should look organized and not over-stuffed. Potential buyers are interested in closet space that appears like it can hold all their belongings, wardrobe etc. You need to remove the bulk and create a sense of airiness and space. Even if you have a huge walk in closet, if it is stuffed to the top it will send the wrong message.
Kitchen should obviously be clean and uncluttered. Potential home-buyers are not interested in your vast array of cookbooks precariously piled on a counter. They need to visualize themselves cooking and living in that area. If one-third of your counter space is filled with books, knick-knacks and other items a potential buyer will immediately think that there isn’t enough room for her stuff. You need to create the impression that space abounds and that everything she has will fit quite nicely. Kitchens are a major selling feature and you need to highlight that fact by:
- displaying sufficient counter space
- highlighting storage that is well-utilized and not over-stuffed and cramped
- providing bright illumination / lighting from both artificial and natural light sources
- removing all magnets, photos, list, etc from the refrigerator door
Green, Green and more Green
Think of green as the new beige. It is a neutral and can be used to your advantage. Add fresh plants and flowers to the rooms in your homes. Remember to care for live plants – dead leaves or worse dead plants send the wrong message to potential buyers. They will wonder what else you failed to care for. Beautiful silk or poly-silk botanicals can be substituted for live plants in your home. They will give you the same fresh visual image as live plants without the hassle of caring for them.
What about Fido and Kitty?
Remember that we may love our pets and consider them part of the family but not everyone feels that way. Therefore do the best you can to minimize their presence. Also keep in mind that some individuals may have pet allergies so you may want to send your pet to a Pet Resort – specially if you are holding an Open House. Remove their toys, kitty condos, food /water dishes and litter box. It may be a slight inconvenience for you and your pet but again it’s one of those little things that pay back handsomely. You don’t want to lose a potential buyer because they are terrified of, are allergic to or just hate animals. On a side-note to those with large dogs in the back-yard. Your potential buyer may and probably will want to venture out into what they some day hope will be their backyard. Don’t ruin it by having them accidentally step in a “little surprise”. Clean your pet’s outside areas and again minimize any chance of “surprises” that can dampen your sales prospects.
Just Say No
It may feel that you are suppressing your personality a bit in order to sell your home and that is true. However it is necessary in order to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. So here goes some more personality suppression:
- Get rid of the flamingos, gnomes or any statues that may be deemed offensive. This speaks for itself – leave your lawn for flowers and graceful landscaping.
- Political signs are a major no-no. This is the fastest way to lose a sale. If your potential buyer differs from you politically they may not even bother getting out of their car to go see your home.
- Dirty clothes strewn throughout the house. You may feel like a free spirit and just want to drop your clothes any where but you potential home-owner may not appreciate your sense of free spirit
- Strong wall colors : Gothic Black, Lime Green… Most buyers prefer neutral tones – give them what they want.
The Decorating Diva is a luxury home design magazine and lifestyle journal dedicated to the concept of living a stylish and comfortably elegant life at home – joyfully surrounded by the beautiful things you love. Join, Carmen, The Decorating Diva’s founder, as she blogs about sophisticated, smart, stylish and beautiful decor for your home and shares her decorating and style advice with you. Follow her and several of our wonderful contributors on inspirational design trips as they explore enchanted lands both far and near – returning with a delightful treasure trove of design finds for your home.