Staging Your Home for Sale – Minneapolis St. Paul, MN
For the typical Minnesota homeowner, selling a home is as rare an event as purchasing a home. When the time to sell comes, everyone has the same goal: selling their home quickly and at the best possible price. As every professional real estate agent knows, one thing makes a huge difference between a fast sale at an ideal price and a home that lingers on the market. The condition of the home and how it is presented to prospective buyers make all the difference. What that means for the homeowner who is selling a home is that staging that home for sale is crucial. If you’re ready to sell your current home, here are some tips to help you understand how to get your home ready for potential buyers:
- Start Early – Staging a home for sale takes time. It’s not something you can do overnight. As soon as you decide you’re going to sell is the right time to begin the process of preparing your home to make its best possible impression.
- Listen to Your Agent – When you choose a listing agent for your home, one of the steps he or she will take will be to look at your home in detail. A selling price evaluation will take into consideration the condition of the home, and the agent will offer suggestions for how to make that home more attractive to potential buyers. Our experienced REMAX agents have long experience in understanding what sells homes and their suggestions can make a huge difference. Our agents are members of Northstar MLS and have full access when it comes to listing and searching MN MLS properties.
- Recognize that It Won’t Be Your Home – You’re planning to sell. Soon, your home will belong to someone else, and you’ll be moving to a new home. The sooner you can see your current home as not yours, the better able you’ll be to evaluate it objectively and make the preparations for a sale. Try thinking of it as just a house, rather than as your home.
- Evaluate Your Home as a Buyer – From top to bottom, and inside and out, look closely at your home. Try to forget that it’s yours, and inspect it very thoroughly. Over time, everyone gets used to their home and stops seeing its flaws. Enlist the help of a friend to look at the home, too, and insist that they be frank about things they think should be done. Go to a few open houses in your neighborhood and take a close look at those homes, as you would if you were thinking about buying them. Above all, listen to the advice of your listing agent. Our agents who are Northstar MLS MN members have the ability to view many of the actual listings on the MLS and give you advice on how yours compares.
- Make a To-Do List – Get a notebook, and write down everything you think you should do to make your home more salable as soon as you find the problem. Don’t neglect any detail. This list will guide you in your preparations and help you take care of everything. Be sure to add your agent’s comments, too.
- Your Home’s Exterior Makes the First Impression – Realtors know that "curb appeal" is crucial to every sale. When a potential buyer drives by or up to your home, that first impression may be the only impression. If the potential buyers don’t like what they see, they’ll often just drive on to the next home on their list. Start with the landscaping. Lawns should be groomed, with crisp edges. Front plantings should be tidied up and new plants added, if necessary. Walks, fences, and other exterior elements should be put into top condition. Tidy up everything and correct any flaws. Look at the exterior finish, the roof, gutters, and everything else about the exterior of your home and add any flaws to your list of things to be corrected. Remove all litter, weeds, and anything else that’s not attractive.
- Home Entries – Every home showing begins at the entrance of the house. Potential buyers may enter through any door. Go over entry areas with a fine-toothed comb, and correct all flaws. Paint or replace doors, if necessary, make sure woodwork and trim are clean and flawless. Mailboxes, porch lights, railings, and every other aspect of your entrance should look inviting, clean, and fresh.
- Interior Cleanliness – A spotlessly clean home is an asset to any sale. And when a licensed Minnesota real estate broker lists your property on Northstar MLS of Minnesota, this cleanliness will shine through. Freshly cleaned carpets, clean, polished surfaces, and sparkling windows, inside and out, make a good impression on potential buyers. Spend as much time as needed to assure that everything in the home is as clean as possible. Save this step until you’ve completed de-cluttering, though, or you may have to start over. If this deep cleaning is too much for you, consider hiring a professional cleaning service. They can do wonders.
- De-clutter for Success – When a potential buyer sees your home in a showing or open house, they’re buying their new home, not yours. The rule of thumb should be to remove as much personal stuff from your home as possible. You’re moving, so start packing. Have a moving sale and sell as much as you can that you won’t be taking to your new home. You can use the money this generates to help cover other costs. Prospective buyers will look into closets, cupboards, and storage areas, so empty them out as much as you can to make them look spacious. Remove most pictures, especially large groupings of pictures that personalize your home. Eliminate unnecessary furniture in each room, keeping just enough to identify that room’s use. Remove most items from shelves, etc., to open up the space and let the potential buyers imagine what they’ll put there. Do this de-cluttering room by room, and don’t forget basement rooms and garages. Don’t neglect cupboards, refrigerators, and other storage areas, either. Remove unnecessary contents and make them look as spacious and clean as possible.
- Rent Storage Space – As you de-clutter, all the furniture and other items you’re removing will have to go somewhere. Don’t make the mistake of putting things in the garage or basement. Those spaces need to be de-cluttered and cleaned, too. Instead, consider renting a storage space and move those items to that space. Start packing for your move and box up smaller items and store them, too. Rent a moving truck, or hire movers, as necessary. As you do this, identify items you won’t be taking to your new home and sell, donate, or otherwise get rid of them.
- Fix Up & Freshen Up – As you clean and de-clutter, you’ll find flaws in your home. You’ll see shadows behind the pictures you removed, exposing clean paint surfaces. Fill holes left by picture hangers and repaint rooms, if necessary, in neutral colors, as advised by your agent. In some cases, walls and ceilings can be washed and restored to like new condition, but test a small area first. Clean or repaint all woodwork. Fix any drippy faucets or replace them with new ones. Clean every surface in kitchens and baths, and consider installing new cabinet hardware for a fresh look, if you don’t need to refinish. New outlet and switch covers can also freshen up a room, as can replacing door hardware. Replace dingy draperies and curtains with fresh, attractive, but inexpensive replacements. The new owners will probably choose their own replacements, but don’t leave ugly or stained items in place. Everything should work as expected and look its best.
- Odors Are Sale-Killers – Musty, moldy stale odors put off buyers. Even worse are the smells from smoking. Thorough cleaning can help minimize these problems, as can fresh paint and new carpeting and window treatments. For smoked-in houses, you may need professional help to minimize tobacco odors. If you smoke, stop smoking indoors as soon as you decide to sell, so the cleaning process can do its job. It’s almost impossible to remove all smoking odors, but smokers buy homes, too, and minimizing smoking odors will help. Avoid cover-up sprays, etc. These often make prospective buyers wonder what’s being covered up. Don’t prepare meals that send cooking odors throughout the house during the selling period.
- Staging Your Home – Once all the de-cluttering, cleaning, and fixing up is done, it’s time to stage your home for showings and open houses. Arrange furniture to its best advantage. If you already know what new furniture you’ll be buying for your new home, buy it now, if you can, and use that new furniture to stage your home. A fresh, new tablecloth and fresh flowers in the dining room, flowers on tables, and a few attractive accent pieces in appropriate places can make a big difference. Bedrooms should have beautifully made beds and window treatments arranged to admit maximum light. Luxurious new towels add a nice touch to your baths, which should be completely free of clutter and personal items, as well. Try putting essential items in baskets that can be easily removed. Always keep in mind that less is more when you stage rooms in your home. Aim to make rooms look as spacious as possible and as well lighted as you can, while clearly indicating the room’s function. Help prospective buyers see themselves living in their own new home, instead of feeling like guests in your home.
- Always Be Ready for Showings – Every showing of your home might be the one that sells the home. That means that you need to keep your home looking its best at all times. Vacuum and spot-clean daily, and keep the house picked up and uncluttered at all times. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it, and your reward will be a timely sale at a great price. When you list your home with our team, we will be placing it onto the Northstar MLS MN. All licensed Minnesota Realtors have the ability to access the actual MLS.
Understanding Home Staging for Minneapolis St. Paul Real Estate Sellers
As part of every listing and sale, our REMAX listing agents who are Northstar MLS members bring their long experience in marketing homes to the job. They can advise you on ways to maximize the salability of your home. When homeowners take the time to prepare their home thoroughly for potential sellers to see, using the expert advice of our experienced agents, they reap the rewards through fast sales at the actual market value of the home. Preparing your home for sale can be hard work, but it’s more than worth the effort and cost. Contact us as soon as you’re seriously considering selling your home, and we’ll help you from start to finish.