When you’re selling a house, it’s crucial to remember that looks matter. While location and price are often priorities one and two, the look of the house rounds out the top three in changing a ‘for sale’ sign to the coveted ‘sale agreed’.
Luckily for you, the aesthetics are the one thing that you can improve on a tight budget and timeframe. To help you along, here are 11 things to avoid when staging your home for potential buyers.
1. Portraying an unhealthy home
Be selective about the everyday objects you leave lying around. Bear in mind that you aren’t just trying to sell a house; you’re trying to sell a lifestyle. Empty take-away containers and piles of laundry might be your reality, but it’s not inspiring, exciting or something that makes viewers believe this is the house for them. A few well-placed bowls of fresh fruit will work wonders.
2. Not showing off storage facilities
Storage is important so make any closets, shelves and cabinets visible and obvious. This may require temporarily rearranging or removing furniture. If you have bookshelves, ensure that books and knick-knacks are orderly and dust-free. You don’t want to give off the impression that the storage facilities are difficult to maintain or breeding grounds for rubbish.
3. Making them feel like the house will always be someone else’s
Photos or reminders of loved ones are, understandably, very precious to you. But to a potential buyer, they can come across as territory-markers. It may be hard for them to envision their new life in the house if they feel like it’s haunted by previous inhabitants.
4. Having too much of a set style
The house should be neutral enough to accommodate all tastes. When viewing a property, the potential buyer will be scoping out a spot for their beloved armchair, or where they should hang that painting they inherited from their great-aunt. If they don’t feel the house will suit their existing treasures, they may think the house isn’t for them.
5. Failing to highlight the house’s original architectural features
This is a major missed opportunity. Remove any furniture that might be blocking a fireplace, roll up any rugs that might be covering the solid wood floor and open the curtains back enough for viewers to see the sash windows.
6. Theme decorating is a major no-no when trying to sell a house
Your eight-year-old might adore the mural of Elsa on their bedroom wall, but it may not have the same effect on a buyer hoping to make the room their home office. They may even leave the viewing mentally dismissing the property as being too much of a ‘family house’.
7. Underestimating the power of the senses
Touch, scent, sound and taste are all as important as what the viewer sees. Make sure the house is at a comfortable temperature and throw on some easy-listening background music. To really make the buyers feel at home, place a cup or two full of vanilla extract in the oven at 150 degrees for an hour.
It’s a lot less hassle than baking bread and the gorgeous smell may help to lure the buyers in.
8. Not making clever use of spare rooms
When trying to sell a house, there should be no such thing as a “junk room”. If needs be, borrow or move furniture to fake a room. Extra bedrooms are the obvious choice, but a home office, gym, craft or meditation room will really make your house stand out.
9. Forgetting the outdoors
Think of the garden as an extra room. If the weather permits, stage a cute breakfast spot by setting out some melamine crockery on a picnic table. Potted plants, a barbeque and a comfortable chair will all give off the impression that this is a wonderful place to live.
10. Matchy-matchy is a double-edged sword
Sure, it shows flow and order, but it can be a turn-off. Avoid polarising styles, colours and textures. Bright colours, animal prints and twee feminine styles all fall into this category.
It might seem totally obvious, but it can’t be said enough: declutter! What seems cosy and lived-in to you often comes across as being messy and unappealing to others. Harsh but true!
Potential buyers don’t care about your snow globe collection or little Dylan’s lovely drawings. Don’t try hiding them in a drawer either. Be prepared for viewers to inspect every nook and cranny.