If you’re trying to sell your home, the saying, “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression,” definitely applies. An open house can make or break a sale, so it’s important you put forth some effort prior to placing your home on the market — those online photos you’re posting will count, too. Whether you prefer to hire a professional stager (which costs an average of $1,800) or take care of business on your own, here are a few things that make your home stand out from the crowd.
1. Display Fresh Flowers
While you don’t want to make your home look like a wedding reception — or a funeral — fresh and colorful bouquets can give your abode a magazine-worthy appeal that adds life to a room. Instead of picking up pre-made florals at the grocery store, spring for professionally arranged pieces for a greater impact. Tell the florist the buds will be for an open house so he/she can create something suitable.
2. Wipe Down High-Traffic Areas
The eye naturally gravitates toward counters, sinks, mirrors, windows, and door handles, so even if you have to conduct a showing at a moment’s notice, make sure these areas are sparkling. Fingerprints, smudges, and dried toothpaste are a huge turnoff.
3. Pull Back The Curtains
A brightly lit home is more apt to move on the market because it represents a cheerful, happy space. Pull back the curtains and let in the natural light, but also check the bulbs to ensure all are in working order in case you have an evening or night showing.
4. Set the Table
Sprucing up your dining room table like you're having a dinner party can help potential buyers imagine family holidays and birthday parties, so go the extra mile by setting up a side table for an aperitif. Just make sure you’re using good china and glassware, or your efforts could backfire. In other words, no paper plates, streamers, or whimsical holiday decor.
5. Remove Odors
Whether you have pets, water or mold issues, or have a smoker in the house, a smelly house is an undesirable one. Along with addressing the problem at hand — like damage, for example — invest in a deep-cleaning service to take care of carpets and upholstery (the average national cost of having your carpets cleaned is $176). Maintain the results with easy, DIY deodorizing treatments that tackle issues such as refrigerator or pet odors, musty basements, lingering food smells, and soiled toilets.
This is perhaps one of the most difficult things for sellers to do, yet a neutral home sells faster than one filled with family photos, pet paraphernalia, trophies, and one-of-a-kind decor. If you can, replace personal photos with artwork. Not only will this design move appeal to those who walk through your home during a viewing, but it can also make online photos more enticing.
Even though you may want to get rid of your home as soon as possible, don’t rush the preparation process. Before the day of the open house, do a thorough walkthrough to ensure each room is clean while appealing to the masses. Don’t take any comments or suggestions regarding the staging process personally. Any preparations are to your benefit so you can move into your new environment sooner rather than later.