RISMEDIA, April 7, 2009-As the all-important spring selling season approaches in an historically slow housing market, sellers need to do all they can to market their home – and that includes staging it to attract and “wow” potential buyers. Home stagers know just the right moves to take a house from bland to grand and bring home the biggest return on investment. “Attention to detail throughout the home can make the difference between a house that sells and one that sits on the market,” explains Kate Hart, one of America’s top home stagers and owner of Hart & Associates Staging & Design.
“In particular, improvements to the kitchen and bath – the two rooms that sell a home – will always help bring in the buyers.”
Kate Hart shares some easy, effective home improvements and tricks of the trade that can make a big change without breaking the bank, and all the difference in selling and enjoying a home.
Curb appeal: First impressions are everything, and this has never been truer than in today’s market. To leave a positive impression on buyers, take care of any exterior maintenance issues before buyers arrive, such as power washing walkways and patios, cleaning your gutters, touching up peeling paint, replacing broken light bulbs, edging and mulching beds, and adding fresh annuals. Some free things you can do include polishing your front door hardware and sweeping away pesky cobwebs.
Kitchen: Give your kitchen a mini facelift on a budget by repainting your cabinets instead of replacing them. For a more contemporary look, consider a semi-gloss espresso brown. For a more traditional look, opt for a semi-gloss creamy white. Complete the makeover by adding new hardware. Considering professional help? Ask your local painter if they can spray a lacquer finish on your cabinets. This treatment is more expensive than painting the cabinets yourself but the result looks like a factory finish.
Bathroom: Give an outdated bath a pick-me-up by replacing your existing lighting, faucets and hardware with updated styles.
Bedrooms: Take your bedroom from lived-in to luxurious by creating a headboard that gives your room a more complete look. Measure the width of your bed and determine the height you prefer. Purchase a ¼ inch piece of plywood fitting these dimensions (ask the store to cut if for you) and cover it with 2 inch foam that fits the dimensions you selected. Wrap the foam and plywood with batting that can be purchased from a craft store. Finally staple gun a fabric of your choice around the headboard you’ve created. You can then hang the headboard behind the bed on the wall as if you were hanging a piece of art using “D” rings and hooks or attach it to your bed frame using bolts and washers.
Family room: Make your fireplace or great view the selling feature, not your entertainment center. Chances are your family room is currently centered around the things you do everyday, such as watch TV. Before showing, rearrange your room to showcase the architectural focal point of your family room.
Dining room: Keep the dining room de-cluttered and streamlined so buyers can imagine how they can enjoy this space with their families. Before showing, make sure to remove any knick-knacks and extraneous items from your china cabinet or sideboard. A rule to follow: pack up any items that are smaller than a softball such as salt and pepper shakers, wedding cake toppers, and small figurines.
Living room: Make sure you are selling your space, not your stuff. Before showing, remove any family photos from the mantle, end tables and bookcases. Give this space a less cluttered look by keeping no more than three items per surface. For example, go with a piece of art and a pair of candle sticks on the mantle instead of your favorite collection.
“It’s important to complete all your improvements before your home goes on the market because as the saying goes…you never have a second chance to make a first impression,” continues Hart. “And once the sign goes up, you need to keep up the clean, de-cluttered look because you never know when you’ll have a showing. It just takes one buyer to sell your home.”
Kate Hart is a pioneer in the staging field, having helped hundreds of families and realtors prepare homes for sale through her Philadelphia-area company, Hart & Associates Staging & Design.
For more information, visit http://www.hartstaging.com/.