Susan Stivaletta's Blog
When it comes to the marketability of your house, appearances are everything! If your house is up for sale or you have plans to put it on the market soon, there are a lot of details you need to attend to before prospects stop by.
Although it's difficult to make a lived-in house look immaculate all the time, the closer you can come to that high standard, the better! Whether they're actively looking for signs of cleanliness or just noticing it subconsciously, the overall condition of your home can and does make an indelible impression on prospective buyers.
The reason "curb appeal" is emphasized so strongly by real estate agents is that the initial impression you make on house hunters can impact the amount of time your property stays on the market. That's especially true in "drive by" situations in which prospects quickly check out your house from the street and make a snap judgement about whether or not they like what they see. If your house and yard look appealing to them, then they may follow up with either the listing agent or their buyers' agent. On the other hand, if there's peeling paint visible, an aging roof, or weeds growing out of cracks in the driveway, they'll probably drive on and continue their search elsewhere. As you can imagine, there's a lot riding on curb appeal, so it pays to keep your lawn looking manicured and other landscaping features well maintained.
Once prospects are inside your home, they're going to notice everything from scuffed walls and cluttered furniture to the smell of toast you burned that morning or greasy cooking odors. Pet odors can also be a major turnoff for many prospective buyers, especially if they're not dog or cat fans to begin with! A worst-case-scenario, of course, is to have a last-minute pet accident happen on the floor when prospects are touring the house. That's not just a hypothetical situation; it occurs more often than you might think. To prevent that potential "disaster," some home sellers make arrangements with friends, relatives, or pet daycare services to have their dogs or cats taken care of outside of the house when tours are scheduled. While that's not always practical or even possible, it can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on potential buyers.
The bottom line when it comes to effective home staging is that people are going to notice "the good, the bad, and the ugly." Your objective, of course, is to do everything possible to diminish the negatives and accentuate the positives. Your real estate agent can be an indispensable resource for providing you with the unvarnished truth about what needs to be repaired or cosmetically improved to present the best possible image of your home to the public.