Staging a home is like vacuuming before company arrives: You might not notice it when it’s done well, but you definitely notice when it isn’t.
Fall’s biggest buyers are millennials with a sharp eye for detail and empty nesters looking to have some space to themselves, so it makes even more sense to set your home up to show well to these demographics. Since autumn is an especially homey time of year, it’s easy to add a bit of cozy comfort while keeping your place ship-shape for showings.
Set the scene
Do as much purging and packing as you can before beginning home showings. Store packed possessions out of sight in the garage or at a storage facility.
Of course, furniture can stay, as long as it’s neutral and doesn’t take up too much room. It may seem counterintuitive, but pulling furniture away from the walls can make a room seem bigger, which is ideal.
A few small touches are not remiss. A folded throw on the back of a chair is welcoming, as are a tasteful cluster of candles on the coffee table or a selection of nice-looking magazines.
Put a shine on it
Once you’ve de-cluttered, a good old-fashioned deep clean is the number one way to make a house shine. Don’t forget the “hidden” spaces that buyers may check, such as under-sink cabinets, closets and storage areas.
It’s easy to become oblivious to things you see (and smell) every day, so hiring someone to come clean may be worth the investment if you’re short on time. Clear kitchen counters completely, except for perhaps a bowl of fresh apples or pears and a candle with a simple scent such as vanilla.
Don’t forget the outside, too: Replace burnt-out bulbs on garage lights, sweep cobwebs, and power-wash siding or decks if necessary. A simple fall wreath and new welcome mat are effective and inexpensive improvements.
Let them in
Potential buyers want to be able to see themselves living in the home they’re touring, so safely stowing away your family photographs and mementos will easily free up visual space for their mind’s eye. Hanging mirrors instead will bring light and life to the space, making it look larger as well.
Natural light is paramount to most buyers, so remove or open blinds and heavy curtains to keep rooms airy and bright. Inexpensive sheers on all of the windows will instantly lift visual weight from the interior. Fall days can turn gloomy, though, so be sure to have warm interior lighting ready to go if you need it.
Setting up spaces in a neutral and intentional way will also help potential buyers design their own ideal life in the house. If you’ve turned the dining room into a catch-all station, it’s time to let that dining room table be seen again.
If there is an office space, keep it as streamlined as possible. Millennials will want to see a clean office space where they can envision telecommuting.
While these tips may be inconvenient or expensive in the short term, they can pay off in higher sale prices and less time on the market. And since the bulk of packing and moving work will be done already, you’ll be able to smoothly transition once your home sells.