May 4, 2011 at 1:04 pm , by Rachel Shippy
Summer is nearing, and it’s a time when many homeowners are preparing to sell their houses. Of course, as anyone who has started this process before knows, there is a lot of grooming to think about before it’s ready to go on the market (kind of like entering the dating pool, right?). This doesn’t have to be a big daunting process if you know what to focus on, so we sat down with Sabrina Soto, HGTV designer and personality, to get some tricks of the trade:
It’s Business, Not Personal: Disengage from the personal characteristics of your home by thinking of it as a product—not every potential buyer is going to appreciate the same aspects you do. Eliminate anything personal, political, or religious, which will largely be pictures and picture frames. If your rooms look sparse without them, Sabrina suggests printing black and white images from the internet to frame instead (think flowers, landscapes, and nature), but keep it minimal.
Lighten Up: To instantly brighten your rooms, “take down heavy draperies and install easy-to-clean shades or lightweight washable panels,” suggests Sabrina. “The more light you can introduce into the space, the bigger the room will feel.” If your curtains cannot be replaced, Sabrina advises they at least be dry cleaned once every two months. Also think about painting walls a light neutral, like a sage green or pale cappuccino shade, to maximize the feel of the room.
Surprisingly, people often forget to…
Clean Everything Thoroughly, And Then Some: Your home’s particular design might not suit every buyer’s taste, but a clean house appeals to everyone. Sabrina, who also suffers from allergies and is currently working with Claritin, reminds us that if your home makes someone sneeze, they likely won’t want to buy it. And there is dust hiding in places you wouldn’t even think of, so while you’re cleaning, dusting, polishing, and scrubbing the house top to bottom, be sure to move furniture and decorations around to catch every last dust bunny.
Remember Kitchens and Bathrooms: As homeowners try to make their bedrooms and living space as appealing as possible to buyers, they often forget these rooms, but they are still important selling points. Sabrina suggests concealing bottles and products in the bathroom by simply tucking them away in closets or cupboards, or by investing in a shower curtain with pockets – this way everything is stored and accessible while not distracting the buyer from seeing that interesting tile design in the shower! For kitchens, Sabrina recommends no more than three appliances on the counter, and in case you didn’t already guess, all food should be stored away in the fridge or pantry. If you’re in a smaller house or apartment with limited counter space, three appliances could still feel a little crowded, so try to keep countertops as clear as possible.
Preparing your house to be sold is not an overnight process but by working through these steps, you can gradually improve the product you’re showing to potential buyers—and catch any budding issues that need to be dealt with prior to listing (ie: that water spot you didn’t know about in the corner of your closet). By the time you’re done staging your home, you might not want to sell it! For more with Sabrina, catch her Wednesdays at 8:30/7:30c on HGTV’s Get It Sold.
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