Home Selling Tips from the Pros

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Planning to sell your home? Maybe you are just considering the possibility and wondering how to get the most out of your investment? We asked some of Birmingham’s finest home stagers for their best advice on how to get a home ready to sell for top dollar FAST.

Red Door Staging

Karen Sovacool 205-370-9619 sovacool@earthlink.net

You’ve decided to sell. You know you need to do some work before showings start, or maybe your agent has given you a punch list. Some amount of staging (and decluttering) will be necessary.

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By adding a small bench, hooks and a wall decor, this nook is now a useful space in the home. Photo courtesy of Red Door Staging

When people are house hunting, they look for two things; the right house (wow this is nice!) and a particular lifestyle (this is so me!). Staging your house to sell is simply presenting it in a way that buyers can see the house clearly and then imagine themselves living there. Think like a buyer instead of a homeowner. After all, the minute you list your house, it’s not your house anymore. It’s a product on the market that means money for you—and, everyone wants top dollar!

The first goal is to make the house (not your stuff) visible. Can you see out that pretty window that looks onto the front lawn? Are the hardwood floors showing their best? Is there a quirky empty spot that you never knew what to do with?

Visibility – “Nice house!”

  • Get your floors clean and shiny
  • Don’t overdo your dining room
  • Fresh paint please
  • Put a functional piece of furniture in an empty, awkward spot
  • Clear paths to windows
  • Make the laundry room a place you’d actually like to spend time in

The second goal is to show a lifestyle. Let potential buyers imagine sitting on the front porch with their friends, envision themselves entertaining in the open kitchen, or planting a garden in the backyard.

BEFORE + AFTER The kitchen is both pretty and functional. Photos courtesy of Red Door Staging

Lifestyle – “This is so me!”

  • Neutral furniture, artwork, bedding, and drapes work wonders
  • Religious items and culturally specific pieces aren’t everyone’s lifestyle
  • Put flyers for local festivals, farmer’s market, races, etc. on a bulletin board to show off the neighborhood
  • Make the most of a neat feature of your house

Getting your house ready to sell can be stressful, but try to make it fun. Freshen it up for its new owners. It’s your last love letter to your house as you move on to your next house and your fresh start.

LEFT TO RIGHT A relaxing spa-like bathroom is inviting. This dining room is ready for entertaining. An inviting foyer draws people in. Photos courtesy of Set to Sell

Set to Sell, L.L.C.

Britney Bradford 205-229-2688

Home staging is about so much more than cleaning and decluttering a house, it’s about bringing to life that magic that lays dormant in an empty home. It’s about evoking an emotion from your buyer that says “I can see myself living here“. Here are a few tips for getting your house set to sell.

Make a great first impression
The average home buyer will often decide, within a matter of seconds, if they are interested in a house or not so it is very important to “wow” them when they first walk into your home. For example, hang a beautiful piece of art or a mirror above a console in the foyer and accent it with a gorgeous lamp and accessories.

Rooms with a purpose
The buyer shouldn’t have to guess what a room is used for. Determine each room’s purpose-a dining room, an office, a den for family time-and be intentional when choosing the pieces for the room. The furniture and accessories should demonstrate the functionality of the room.

Big mirrors are a bonus
Mirrors visually make the room appear larger and also reflect natural light into the room when placed closed to a window.

Minimize personal photos
This makes it easier for the potential buyer to envision themselves and their own family in the home.

Make your bathroom feel spa-like
This means clearing your counter of products except for a few that have beautiful packaging. Rolled up towels in a basket sitting on the tub and a beautiful orchid by the sink are great ways to soften the room and make the room feel like a luxurious hotel.

Spiffy Home Staging & Design

Barbara Cooney & Heidi Hallman 205-202-1384 

Staging a home evokes a feeling. It allows a potential buyer to visualize the space and see themselves living in the space.

BEORE + AFTER Master Bedroom Photos courtesy of Spiffy Home Staging

A picture is worth a thousand words. Home buyers are looking online before they are touring a home. Today’s buyer is using digital marketing such as realtor.com or zillow.com for their search. If the pictures in the listing show an empty room, you are not drawing in the consumer. A furnished room online draws them in to tour the home.

BEFORE + AFTER Living Room Photos courtesy of Spiffy Home Staging

Consumers are putting a bigger investment in their home before they list to get top dollar. Consumers are stepping up their game these days. You can no longer vacuum the den and put a for sale sign in the yard. We are all being forced to “keep up with the Jones’ in a competitive market. We live on our furnishings and they get tired and dated.

BEFORE + AFTER Living Room Photos courtesy of Spiffy Home Staging

Staging gives the home a fresh look. We call ourselves the furniture fairies. We sprinkle a little spiffy magic in an empty room and like magic…the home is sold.

Swag Home Staging

Neutral accents combined with a little greenery. Photo courtesy of Swag Home Staging

Erin Dunavant Barrow 205.222.0839

First impressions are important! Start with the outside of the home and then move to the interior space.

Exterior Curb Appeal Is Vital

  • Cut the grass and trim the borders
  • Add a new, neutral welcome mat
  • Plant or pot seasonal flowers
  • Fluff/add pine straw or mulch to natural areas
  • Pressure wash sidewalks and driveway

Interior

When preparing a home for the market, make sure buyers can visualize certain living spaces such as a place to eat, place to work, and place to entertain

  • Add neutral and textured decorative accent pillows to sofa, accent chairs, bedding
  • Bring in solid color drapes (preferably white or cream) and bedding
  • Remove all personal items, but accent spaces with accessories (in groups of three) in addition to pops of greenery through topiaries or perhaps, a fiddle leaf fig tree in a wicker basket
  • Add subtle patterns and color in area rugs and art
  • Neutral Interior Paint Colors Are Best (Agreeable Gray Sherwin Williams 7029, Extra White Sherwin Williams 7006, Accessible Beige Sherwin Williams 7036, Alabaster Sherwin Williams 7008 are some of our favorites)
These neutral and decorative pillows add a soft touch while playing up the location with the zip code. Photo courtesy of Swag Home Staging
Choose subtle patterns and colors for rugs and art. Photo courtesy of Swag Home Staging

Home staging can make a world of difference when it comes to selling a home. Bringing in a professional can make things easy, and according to the Real Estate Staging Association (RESA): homes that are staged sell 60-70% faster than an unstaged home and typically bring in 16-17% more revenue on the final sale price of the home—those are some pretty convincing numbers!

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