When speaking with clients who are considering selling their family home or investment property in Staten Island, they often ask for some tips and tricks on how to increase the value of their home before putting it on the Staten Island housing market.
There are of course no limits to what you can do to uplift the value of your home, including remodeling, additions such as an extra bedroom, or changing out your kitchen or bathroom, but with this article, I thought I would focus on some relatively quick, easy and cheap ways to increase the value of your home through the process known as Staging.
For the uninitiated, Staging is the process of “dressing your house for success” according to Patte Lau, Interior Stylist. You want to show your home in the best possible light, and give the best first impression possible to potential buyers. Staging your home greatly assists in this process, and it can give your property a valuable advantage over those homes on the housing market which have not been staged. The gains to be made are nothing to be sneezed at, either. Research undertaken by the National Association of Realtors shows the average sale price of a property can be increased by up to 20% simply because home staging strategies were implemented before the house hit the market.
Without further ado, I have compiled my top hints on staging your home for sale in Staten Island.
- Understand current design trends
Whilst we love historic homes here in Staten Island, it’s important that the decor that you show your home in is modern and contemporary. Those drapes that came with your home built in 1900 may need to go; consider swapping them with something more current, such as neutral colored window blinds.
- Let there be light!
On the theme of window coverings, it’s vital that there is as much natural light as possible in your home. Consider cleaning the windows, this can allow up to 30-40% more light in to your home (depending on how long it has been since their last cleaning).
Also give some thought to the artificial light in the room. Some light bulbs that you may have become accustomed to could be replaced with new, energy efficient bulbs. Not only will this save on energy costs, but they are also much brighter and will add life to the living spaces.
- Family Photos
Now this is somewhat of a controversial issue among professional stagers; however, I would advocate having some sign of life in your home. A tasteful family photo or two, in my opinion, is OK, and can add to the warmth that the potential new owner of your home will feel walking through the door. Just don’t over do it with photos on every wall of the property!
Experts say that the key to staging a home is to de-clutter. This can be a difficult task to undertake, especially when you have lived in the home for a good amount of time. As a rule of thumb, aim to get rid of half of the objects and furniture you have in your home, with a maximum of three large pieces of furniture per room. Consider renting a self storage unit for the duration of the sale if you are planning on moving to a new place. Or perhaps it would be an opportune time to sell or donate furniture and clothes excess to your current needs.
In the same vein, it is recommended that your closets and storage spaces aren’t overloaded. If possible, leave these spaces half empty, it will give the illusion of there being more storage space. The same goes in the kitchen and bathroom: try to keep your counter space clear and clutter free.
Imagine walking in to your future home for the first time. Be conscious of the five senses, and an often overlooked one to focus on is smell. In the lead up to your home hitting the market, be mindful of what you cook, for instance. Your family may love some fresh fish on the weekend, but perhaps the potential buyers won’t feel the same way. Showings can happen at short notice, so be sure to keep the strong smells such as fish and spices to a minimum.
My long-time clients will know this, but for those reading my blog for the first time, you may not know that I am a massive fan of pooches. With that said, however, I know not everyone feels the same way. I strongly suggest checking your pets into a pet hotel (there are a number of highly regarded pet hotels right here in Staten Island). You can also try various home remedies such as baking soda to rid your home of any pet smells that may insult the nostrils of those people who are viewing your home for the first time.
The overall scent of your home is a personal decision; however, research suggests that the more neutral scents, such as pine, citrus or even freshly washed (and dried) laundry can appeal to buyers. Some research undertaken in Australia showed that citrus smells throughout a home during a showing saw a variance of $106,500 AUD ($80,600 USD) in the perceived value of the home – so choose citrus over kangaroos!
- Set the scene
A large part of the staging process is setting up the house so that the potential buyers can envisage their lives in your home. Small touches like setting the table with color coordinated cutlery and crockery, setting the bar if applicable with glasses, and a bowl of fruit in the kitchen are small things that can make all the difference in the minds of buyers. In the bathrooms, place some freshly washed towels and hand towels in the bathroom. Ensure that the trash cans have been emptied and the toilet seats are down!
- Give high impact areas a coat of paint
They say that the first impression is the only impression, and this is true with property, too. One of the best ways to spend your time and money when getting close to sale time is to give high impact areas a quick coat of paint. Think front door, walls near entryways, window sills, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, anywhere where wear and tear may be evident.
When choosing which colors to use internally, experts suggest opting for clean and clear tones. The front door can be the exception here: choose a bright color that screams “Welcome to your new home.” Put out a fresh welcome mat.
When decorating, opt for furniture and decorations that give your walls the pop of color desired.
- Don’t forget the little details
The often overlooked little details are sometimes the ones that stick with the buyers. Things like purchasing a new mailbox, if your current one is looking a little neglected; cutting the grass and watering the plants can leave a lasting impression on the potential buyers, as well. Employing a professional cleaner to give your home a thorough clean before the home hits the market would be a worthwhile investment.
By now I hope you have picked up a few tips that will help you when preparing your Staten Island home for sale. All the tips included above are just recommendations based on the Staten Island real estate trends I’ve noticed this year, and I would encourage you to put your own spin on the above suggestions. If you’re on a tight budget and need more affordable ways to stage your home, check out my article for affordable curb appeal tips here. If time is of the essence, consider hiring a professional stager or interior decorator. The uplift in property value you will likely receive by employing their services will more than cover the fee charged.
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This information, based on New York law, was provided courtesy of The Law Office of Christopher J. Arrigali, P.C. It is intended to inform, not to advise. No one should try to interpret or apply any law without the assistance of legal counsel.