By Michelle Broussard, Colour Confidence Interiors
If you’ve decided to sell your home, often the hardest thing is to ‘let go’. After all, this is YOUR HOME! But now is the time to mentally hand over the keys, if you want to get the best price.
You can do a lot yourself to help maximise your profit or buyer appeal, or employ a professional to stage your home. A staging expert will look at your home with a decorator’s eye and without the emotion that might cloud your own judgement. You can continue to live in the home during Open Houses or choose to move your own things into storage and live elsewhere, maybe even in your new home. Having just sold my own home these things are still very fresh in my mind.
Of all the homes I go into on a daily basis as part of my Interior Design Home Consultation Service, they seem to fall into a few categories.
Two very obvious ones are:
- Highly personalised and possibly a bit cluttered.
- Very neutral and at risk of lacking personality.
The first is often the family home, full of life’s ‘artifacts’ – collections of the journey.
The latter is where the commitment-phobes live – some too scared to make a decision that might date or make too much of a statement.
Both need help when it comes time to sell.
De-clutter is the name of the game for the first group. But it’s more than that – it is also paring back some of the intimate details within the home that make it yours; remove all the personal photos off the wall, the children’s artwork and doctor’s prescriptions on the fridge, the craft and handiwork from the shelves and the dog or cats’ toys and bed off the floor. These things need to be put away, carefully, for the next house. They do not belong to the prospective buyer’s life and so they can become alienated, rather than charmed. This can stop them seeing themselves living there; as they can only see you.
Now for the commitment-phobes; there is such a thing as being too neutral and leaving your home crying out for a bit of personality and warmth. Pick a colour, it doesn’t have to be fire-engine red, a muted colour is fine. Now add this colour as accessories in small amounts around the home; such as a throw rug on the sofa, a pillow on the bed, towels in the bathroom and a vase. Hang some artwork that is scenic or abstract, not personal or risqué in any way. These details show a buyer that you care enough about the home to make it your own and you are not just squatting there until something better comes along.
If you don’t think either of these sounds like you, there’s still plenty you can do to help sell your home.
The usual list includes doing all of the following in and around the house:
Pack it up/put it away – remove at least half the amount currently inside your wardrobes, pantry, bookshelves and cupboards. Put your valuables in safe keeping.
Sell it/give it away.
Mow, trim, sweep.
Vacuum/mop/dust – You know the drill.
And more than that, you can also appeal to the buyers’ senses:
- Place plug-in air fresheners in the major rooms, but don’t confuse things with too many different smells.
- Fresh flowers on the dining table and/or in the entry are always appealing – orchids or lilies last a long time.
- Wipe inside the fridge with vanilla essence on a damp cloth.
- Place satchels of dried lavender and cinnamon sticks inside cupboards (people will open the doors).
- Steam-clean the carpets.
- Arrange your décor into collections of ‘like’ items, but no more than three or a maximum of five in a group.
- Consider a tall, medium and small or squat item in the vignette.
- Make sure rooms ‘make sense’ – a lounge might be a TV viewing, sharing and conversational area – not a study.
- Put the desk in the spare room or study.
- Take the ironing board out of the spare bedroom and put it in the laundry.
- Place furniture to best show off a main architectural feature, such as a fireplace and remember to allow for good traffic flow and movement around pieces. Remove oversized or disproportionate items (like too-large sofas) into storage.
- Make sure the rooms are safe: people aren’t tripping over rugs or having to climb over items.
- Open up all blinds and curtains for maximum natural light into every room.
There are more permanent things you can do, of course, like painting, carpet or stone benchtops. A Design Consultant can advise you and either give you a plan to work to yourself or take over and prepare, then stage the whole show for you. A lot depends on your budget or how keen you are to do it yourself, but there is no doubt that a well-presented Interior will help to sell your home, if not get a better price, and it is well worth the effort.
To discover more about Michelle and her work, visit colourconfidence.com.au