Design 101: Ready, Set, Prep!

It may still be cold outside, but Spring is right around the corner and with it… the Spring housing market.

This month we answer questions regarding preparing your home for sale.

We decided it is time to sell but haven’t selected a realtor yet. Is there anything we can do first? Absolutely. There is never going to be a time when decluttering and cleaning your house isn’t going to be beneficial, so start there. We also suggest that you walk all the way around and through your home making a list of everything that’s not up to snuff and have it addressed.

Pro Tip: If you can, rent a storage unit and pack it with everything you don’t need daily. Not only will it help declutter your home, but it will also make estimating moving truck sizes much easier.

I think my home is decorated beautifully but my family says I need to remove all my photos and decorations prior to showing it. Are they right? Experience has shown that depersonalizing the space is the way to go. The concept is to allow prospective buyers to imagine themselves in the home rather than thinking about who lives there currently.

Pro Tip: Ideally you want the house to look “move in ready” so potential buyers can be focused on what they want to do to their new house and not what they need to do. Make sure to have the minor inconveniences you’ve grown accustomed to fixed before showing it.

Is it better to show a house completely empty? While we love to work with a clean palate, most people are not interior designers. Often it’s better to organize the space logically and leave a few indicators of what each room is used for.

Pro Tip: One way to make a quick and inexpensive bed for an otherwise bare room is to place an air mattress on a Harvard bed frame. Top it with a crisp white sheet, a comforter and two pillows and “ta da!,” you have a bedroom for a very small sum of money. Similarly, tables can be made by placing a cloth or fabric over an inexpensive base.

I’d like to stage my house myself. What’s the most important piece of advice you can give me? Envision the most likely future buyer. Based on the location, asking price, and amenities, what is this person likely going to be interested in? Remember that this is no longer your present home, but their future one. Make the decisions that will appeal to that most likely buyer.

Pro Tip: No one ever complains about having too much storage space. Cleaning out cabinets, closets, kitchen and bathroom drawers, and pantry spaces will have buyers oohing and aahing over how much stuff they’ll be able to store.

My friend suggests that I list my house FSBO {For Sale By Owner} and save the commissions. What do you recommend? While every situation is different, I would strenuously advise that you work with the best realtor you can find. We don’t know what we don’t know until we find out the hard way. A good realtor will steer you in the correct direction, remain objective at a time when you could be feeling very emotionally attached to your home, and be able to connect you with experienced stagers, contractors, inspectors, and movers. The money a realtor could save you based on those relationships alone can outweigh the perceived cost of their services.

Pro Tip: Most people work with a realtor about every five years, so if you need recommendations ask those who work with numerous realtors each year: interior designers, mortgage brokers, and community bank officers.

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