We’re visually orientated here in Los Angeles. And when selling a property, making it appear as livable as possible to a buyer (curb appeal does count) makes time on the market shorter and yields a higher sales price. I’m not alone in believing this: the National Association of Realtors surveyed real estate agents across the country to determine which improvements and staging efforts earned returns. Across the board, agents agreed that staging a property made it easier for buyers to visualize the property as a future home. And, that survey reports as much as a 10% increase in dollar value. I have found this to be true particularly for either empty or sparsely furnished rooms or homes.
The number one home improvement recommended by agents is relatively simple and affordable: de-clutter your home before putting it on the market. Organizing spaces and purging unused items is the first step to moving out. De-personalizing comes next. Remove family photos, unframed children’s art and other mementos; in the bathroom this means stashing toiletries and other personal items from view. Dispose of or file all paperwork. Furniture should be placed to optimize the flow through the space and to the outdoors, if appropriate. Store bulkier items and pare down furnishings. No need to completely empty a room rather edit strategically. And above all invest in a deep professional cleaning throughout. Think pristine.
Make all minor repairs prior to putting a home on the market. This could be as simple as fixing a leaking faucet, to re-caulking sinks or repairing broken or unsightly tiles. Spruce up the outdoor space too; again the clean mantra applies outside as well. Remove dead plantings, add mulch, rocks or groundcover—no need to re-landscape entirely but highlight what’s remarkable about the outdoor area.
Los Angeles-based Meridith Baer, founder of Meridith Baer Home, the luxury home staging and interior design firm with offices in New York, the Bay Area and Florida, offers a full service home staging package. She suggests that clients move out before she stages a home. “I’m a huge believer is dressing the house up and making it look as loved and as good as you can,” she advises. Her firm has notched more than 1,600 installations to date in 2018.
Before Baer and her team begin staging, she suggests painting. “It’s a great way to freshen up and worth every drop,” she’s found. People respond well to light, bright and airy spaces. Painting a home in neutral colors unifies the look and completes the picture. Baer believes there’s not always a return on updating the kitchen or bath. “More often than not, the buyer rips them out. Remember they’re done for your taste and you’re selling it,” says Baer.
The goal in Baer’s staging is to make the owner look like they’ve travelled well and lived well. Increasingly buyers select pieces from the staging to furnish their new home. No matter who handles the makeover for sale, the end result should be pleasing to the eye and importantly, brightened and straightened up for professional photography. These days, home searches begin online: a thoughtfully staged home photographs better and generates interest. And finally, when it comes to interior or exterior updates, keep in mind the neighborhood. A good rule is to never spend more than the neighbors.
I am happy to answer any questions regarding prepping a home for sale. The goal is to optimize your asset and present it in its best light.