As spring moves into summer another season starts to bloom, house selling season! In some parts of the country this season seems to come at the end drop of the last icicle melting. So here you are, getting your house ready for the realtor to take the photos for their website, plant that powerful “For Sale” sign in your front yard, then commence the feverish constant upkeep for showings with an hour’s notice. For the sake of this article let’s assume you’ve already raided the internet for tips on “staging” your house. Now, let’s move beyond that. This is what to do in that “power hour” before buyers come for a showing. Let’s get extreme!
As an interior designer, I can help provide additional tricks after you’ve exhausted the typical tips on curb appeal, white slip covers, and removing knickknacks. For example, have you rearranged your closets? I thought not. Take a look at your closet, if it were a store would you shop there? If no, then get cracking. Start by arranging your shirts by sleeve length and then by color. Separate your bottoms into pants and skirt groups, fold your sweaters like they do in boutiques (sleeves inside), arrange purses along the top shelf, hang belts and scarves, and for the biggest visual impact face everything in the same direction, including the coat hangers. Move on to the linen closet and repeat. Fold towels into thirds with the ends facing the back, grouping colors together. Turn all toiletry labels facing front (called “facing” in retail), and place all remaining miscellaneous items in a basket on a high shelf. The same facing idea pertains to the cereal boxes and eye level goods in your pantry. Your goal is to portray to the potential buyer that storage is not only not a problem but a joy in this house, its house eye candy.
Another trick, (this one’s more for you to live in this now immaculate house) is how to reign in your mail, bills, cell phone cords and miscellaneous life stuff that floats around the kitchen counter. If you have space above your fridge, place a large high sided basket atop. This will become your hide away spot to throw all that stuff when its 30 minutes to show time. Lift it down, fill it up, and then raise it up out of touring eyes. Awesome, right?
Let’s go to the bathroom now. At the half hour call to show time, tidy the bathroom. Check your toilet is clean, wipe your faucets of water drip marks, pull your blinds open, straighten your towels (into thirds if possible), place your toothbrush/toothpaste under the sink and wet wipe down the counter and sink. Toothpaste smears will not sell your home. Straighten your shower bottles, fluff up your shower curtain, and tuck your trash back by your toilet. For bonus effort, make a clean tidy tear on your toilet roll.
Move to the the living room, you want to portray life energy can be possible, but not currently occurring. Imagine your house like a snapshot of the potential of living there, that’s what you’re selling. Straighten your pillows, refold your blankets (tuck your ends in), tidy up your magazines, fluff your curtains out allowing the windows to show. Remove all shoes from the front entry. Somewhere in this room hide a vanilla air freshener, make absolutely sure its not visible. You are creating an atmosphere, not giving away the magician’s secrets.
For the kitchen, if you have a double sink, place the dish drying rack in there. Better yet, take your dish scrubby brushes, rack and tuck them under your sink. Your dishes do themselves, remember, create magic! Place your basket o’stuff above your fridge, straighten your chairs and stools, wipe the faucet like you did in the bathroom, open any blinds, and take out the trash.
By this time in your preparation, you should be approaching an hour. Spend the last 10 minutes scanning the major rooms and tweak minor adjustments (like focusing your photo frames to all face the same direction). Your beds are already made (start adopting that morning habit and you won’t need to do it during your power hour.) Now, take a fresh look at your home like the buyers will be doing. It looks pretty sharp! Straightened, shiny, tidy, focused, and organized items all help convey the message that this home has been cared for, its a joy to live in, and its ready for them.
You CAN do it! I believe in you. Let your house shine, its been good to you.
Sarah Daricilar, NCIDQ
Studio Owner & Interior Designer, DDS