Getting a house ready for sale is more than dusting the furniture and mopping the floors. You have to show homebuyers what the house could look like when they put their personal touches into place. Selling a home on Hilton Head, or any other coastal area draws in sun bunnies when the weather is nice, but winter can be a challenge. Details make a difference when staging your home in colder temperatures.
What Is Staging?
Home staging is the art of preparing a property so that it appeals to buyers who will pay more money for the privilege of living in it. The idea is to convince others to invest their money toward a certain lifestyle. Real estate experts have the inside scoop on what works best.
That first glance is everything when buyers come to check out a house, even if they’ve already seen the pictures online. Lawn care is crucial because a ragged yard and flower beds give the impression the landscape is tough to maintain. In lower bank areas, plant native flowers, trees, and shrubbery such as water lilies, buttonbush, yellow-fringed orchids, and swamp rose. Upland areas are good for bald cypress, red maple, and southern red oak. Here's a checklist for reviewing your home's exterior.
- Paint, fix or replace the mailbox.
- Repaint or stain shutters, railings, trim, and window boxes.
- Power wash the driveway and front walk.
- Replace broken and tiny house numbers with large new ones.
- Wash the windows, prune the trees, clean up outside debris.
Prep the inside of the house as if you were getting it ready for a photo shoot. Cleaning the house from top to bottom is a given – that means everything. Buyers will look at closets, floors, windows, doors, countertops, and every little hiding place. Clean yourself or hire a professional service.
Replace worn-out carpet and spruce up tile floors. If you don’t want to foot the costs upfront, consider including a flooring allowance in the sales price.
Closet space is always a premium. Remove the clutter to make the house look bigger. It’s important that the buyer thinks this house is big and roomy. Rent a storage space or ask a friend to hold on to your larger furniture and knick-knacks while the house is up for sale. Buyers need to know there’s enough room for all their treasures.
Now that you’ve cleaned the house, it’s time to create the in-home magic. Home staging is about creating the illusion of a perfect home. Professional stages are skilled artists, but you can do a bit of primping on your own that will draw buyers into your intricate web.
- Arrange a few pieces of furniture in small groups (known as a vignette).
- Show off soft materials like satin, silk, and wool.
- Turn on all lights and open the blinds. Light makes the place look more spacious.
- Place attractive items on fireplace mantels, bookcases, and shelving.
- Dress the house with plants, silk flowers, mirrors, pillows, baskets, throw rugs, and floor lamps.
Having an empty house professionally staged increases the chance buyers will look twice, especially in winter, when home sales are slower. After all the pieces are in place, hire a photographer to take excellent pictures to feature on real estate websites.
When buyers come to view the house, put out the welcome mat! Leave out fresh fruit, candies, or freshly baked cookies for them to enjoy. It never hurts to butter up your looky-loos with sugar. Keep in mind, when you spice up the property, your way of living isn’t necessarily the same as anyone else. When it comes to getting a seller to sign on the dotted line, trust your real estate agent. We have worked with several local stagers from 1 bedroom condos to large estates. If you need a professinal stager in Hilton Head or Bluffton, ask us!
Annette K. Sullivan is a real estate writer and home stager who spends her free time in her garden that she has filled with native blooming plants. She is trying to break her Labrador retriever of a bad bee-eating habit.