By Anessa V. Cohen
In today’s real-estate market, sellers need every edge they can get to put their house “out there” ahead of the competition. Preparing your home for sale requires seeing it with new eyes — quite a challenge when you have loved it and lived in it happily for years. Because you have grown accustomed to all its nooks and crannies and learned to sidestep undone repairs, leaving them for another day, you now have to look at your home with new eyes and try to review objectively what needs to be done to present it to prospective buyers as a home they will want to buy for themselves.
Home-staging is the art of restyling your home, not for your own needs and tastes, but for your buying audience. Surveys show that a home that has been staged in preparation for prospective buyers attracts more serious buyers and sells faster and at higher prices than those that have not been prepared for the real-estate market. To give you an example of what’s involved, consider the following.
Grab a pad and pen, hop into your car, and pretend you are a buyer driving by your house. “Hmm, that’s interesting. Let me take another hop around the corner and look again.”
What do you notice first? Maybe bikes scattered across the lawn or walkway, garbage pails thrown helter-skelter as opposed to neatly out of sight. Maybe some stuff you meant to put in storage or throw away but never got around to. Maybe the paint on the outside is peeling or chipping. Make some notes about what needs tidying or needs to be repaired or repainted.
Follow up your exterior inspection with an interior inspection in the same manner. Walk around from room to room (almost like bedikat chametz), making notes as to what needs to be cleaned up or put away to make each room show itself better and in a more spacious and open fashion. Take note if you need painting touch-ups or any repairs that will show the house in a more maintenance-free atmosphere.
If you have a lot of furniture, think about removing some of the furniture to show off a room to its best potential. A room full of too much furniture starts to resemble a warehouse rather than a pretty room, and that is certainly not the impression you want a potential buyer to take home with him.
If you have pets, make sure your house does not have the appearance of pet hair on the furniture and floors, even if that means vacuuming and washing the rooms from floor to ceiling, and the furniture as well. There is nothing as off-putting as pet hair all over, and many a buyer has been lost because of this.
Make sure all the lighting in your home has bright bulbs. I cannot stress this enough! Walking through a house that has only 20- or 40-watt lightbulbs does not only strain the eyes, but makes even the loveliest house depressing. Saving energy is a wonderful value, but when you are putting your house on the market and want it to show its best, bright lights reflect happiness and warmth.
Check the hardware around the house. Do all your doorknobs work properly? Are all the knobs on your kitchen cabinets tightened and looking good?
After all is said and done, there is nothing as welcoming as a house that is clean and smells good. First impressions are your strongest marketing tool.
Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, www.AVCrealty.com. Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to anessa@AVCrealty.com.