Everyone knows the saying ‘You only have one chance to make a first impression’ and this is certainly true when putting your house on the market. I think it is fairly safe to say that most people don’t live in their homes the same way as they would present their home for sale.
Anyone with a family like me, knows that there is stuff everywhere. All. The. Time. I walk through the door and step over a pile sitting at the entrance, I slip over blocks, and I know that every parent out there knows my pain, when I say Lego and bare feet are not best friends.
I feel like we live in a constant state of a ‘work in progress’. I am always halfway through cleaning, halfway through getting things into storage- just this feeling that I have never quite got there. I suspect I am not alone in this either.
We have recently been house hunting and looking at the way homes are presented for sale is quite the art.
Sure, everyone knows that it is nice to have fresh flowers in the home, but sometimes they don’t know what to use, or where to place them for maximum effect. And, at the end of the day, a vaseful of flowers in a room with WAY TOO MUCH going on is not going to have the desired effect. We think there are four main areas to pay attention to when getting your home ready for inspection:
Every house has a kettle, toaster, mobile charger, coffee machine. But when it comes to selling your place, you need to emphasise the clean, clear open space by removing these items, leaving the potential buyers to visualise their own items there. This allows the eye to gaze evenly across all surfaces without interruption. Imagine just how much bench space you can see know. You get it? Same goes with the bathroom and every other room in the house. Don’t display items that only provide distraction and mess.
As silly as this sounds, you need to remove too many personal trinkets and photographs, essentially removing yourself and your family, leaving the home as a blank canvas so that potential buyers can ‘insert’ themselves. Now, I know that I said remove it all, but I don’t quite mean that, you don’t want to take it way too far the other way and make the space seem sterile. Just minimise your personal items; a couple of carefully placed photos is fine, just scale it back.
The fridge in particular can make your kitchen look messy, particularly if there is an excess of pictures, coupons, and magnets on its doors. Remove all items from your fridge doors for a clean uncluttered look.
You’ve probably heard that baking cookies or freshly brewed coffee before a house inspection helps potential buyers imagine the space as a home but the principle covers more than just that. Open the windows and invite fresh air in! You want your home to appear fresh, clean and clear. If the space feels stuffy, it can be a real turn off. Even large spaces that feel ‘stuffy’ and stagnant can feel claustrophobic and small.
Scented candles are a great way to add fragrance to your home. But beware, fragrance should not be used simply to mask unpleasant, unwanted smells- try to clean and deodourise first before adding anything else to the mix. If you have pets, remove all pet paraphernalia, deodourise with a neutraliser and then work up from there. When you are used to living with a pet you can be unaware of the smell that comes with your furry little friend, so get someone to come over and tell you honestly how your place is smelling.
Fresh flowers can liven up any room. There is nothing better than bringing a little of the outside in and accenting the best features of the space. But I think it goes without saying that if you have not achieved step 1, 2 and 3, then 4 is not going to save you.
There is no sense in adding a vase of flowers to an already cluttered room. It just adds to the chaos, and that really isn’t the point is it?
Try choosing a block colour of seasonal flowers that complements the existing colour scheme. Avoid cheap mixed bunches picked up from the service station or the supermarket- it tends to look just that. Cheap. And again, really defeats the purpose of doing it in the first place.
Make sure you keep the water clean by changing it every couple of days. Flowers should smell nice, and dirty, smelly water is a real turn off.
Put an arty book or magazine lying on the coffee table, it’s a nice detail, and do have fresh towels hanging in the bathroom and fresh tea towels in the kitchen — colour-coordinated, of course.
BUT be careful that your home does not appear too ‘staged’. It is easy to get carried away and make your life disappear from the building in an attempt to provide a blank canvas to prospects. You should certainly go to some effort in cleaning and clearing the space of distractions, but remember you also want to show prospects that this is indeed a home, somewhere they can live and be happy.