House Preparation Tips
There’s one often-overlooked detail that could sabotage all your hard work: the lighting. In the game of First Impressions, a poorly lit home is at an automatic disadvantage. Darkness can make a home feel small, uninviting and dirty, even when it isn’t. Worse, a potential buyer may wonder what flaws are lurking in the shadows. The wrong bulbs can change the paint colour on your walls. Now, lighting design is a topic that could fill its own page, but here are some basic tips to help you make a bright, energizing impression at your next home showing.
DO A ROOM-BY-ROOM LIGHT AUDIT
Open all the curtains and blinds, turn on all the lights and look at each space through the eyes of a buyer. Use your camera if it helps you make note of any areas that need help. Keep in mind that showings may happen at different times of day, so it’s good to repeat the exercise in the evening, when there’s less natural light.
UPDATE/UPGRADE YOUR LIGHT FIXTURES & BULBS
Replace or refurbish what you’re willing to, then install the brightest bulbs you can. If you choose LED lights, you can get many more lumens than incandescent bulbs, all while using less energy and generating less heat. Edison bulbs are notorious for giving off that antique look but this can be a negative during showings and in photos.
Ensure that all bulbs throughout the home match, and we highly recommend you chose ‘4000k Daylight Bright’ to show your home off in it’s best light!
Less is definitely more when it comes to getting your house ready to show. Do a clean sweep of counters, windowsills, tables, and all other visible areas, and then tackle behind closed doors: closets, drawers, and cupboards—since virtually nothing is off-limits for curious buyers. If the house is overflowing with stuff, buyers might worry that the house won’t have ample space for their own belongings. They won’t sign up to pay a mortgage if they think they’ll also have to rent a storage space. Take your excess stuff and donate it, or pack it up to be stored off-site such as in a ‘Pod’. Not only will clearing clutter help your house look more appealing to buyers, it will also help you once you’ve accepted an offer and it’s time to move into a new home. Moving out will be easier if some of your stuff has already been packed.
You should remove any distractions so the buyers can visualize themselves and their family living in your home. You should remove personal items and family photos, as well as bold artwork and furniture that might make the home less appealing to the general public (our stager will walk you through this process during her design consultation). The goal is to create a blank canvas on which buyers can project their own visions of living there, and loving it.
PREPARING FOR A SHOW
Homes tend to sell quicker and for higher prices when they show their best! It is very important that your home shows well. Develop a routine that will allow you to pick up and be prepared to show your home in a reasonable period without duress.
Check counters, halls & stairs. Straighten up/remove newspapers, mail, toys, clothing, rec-reation gear, glasses & dishes.
TURN ON ALL LIGHTS
Electric lights have an amazing capability for creating an illusion of lightness, airiness and space.
OPEN ALL DRAPES, SHADES AND BLINDS
Do all that you can to create a bright and light ambiance.
Be sure all countertops are clear and “squeaky clean”. Be sure all dishes are in the dishwasher or cleaned and put away. The sink should be clean and clear.
Have all the beds made and laundry out of sight. Have closets neat and organized. Keep all valuables (ie: money, jewelry) put away in a safe place.
If the weather is warm, have it operating.
Keep air fresheners in closets, bathrooms and the kitchen. Be especially careful to keep the kitchen odors fresh.
Soft, pleasant background music may be very effective.
Keep a fresh set of attractive towels in each room that you can change instantly.
Try to keep the dog and cat away, if possible. Make sure they are properly cleaned up after.
It’s the first & last impression that prospective buyers will have of your home. Make it a good one!
LEAVE THE HOUSE
If it all possible, always leave the house for the buyer to tour at their own leisure.