Staging your home for sale is about finding a happy balance. Yes, the home looks immaculate with a few Joanna Gaines showpieces and ZERO clutter, but that can be difficult to maintain if youíre also still living in the place.
The best bet is simply avoiding the extremes. You might spend a lot of time and money trying to keep something looking perfect just for a chance of a good offer. On the other end, you donít want old copies of the Coeur díAlene Press towering in every corner of the living room.
Whatever your staging plan of attack may be, donít forget whatís outside the house. The yard, driveway and exterior can make a powerful first impression, or prompt a potential buyer to drive away without even looking inside.
Here are a few considerations of a balanced approach to exterior home staging:
Mow the dang lawn
In most cases, people are looking to live in a neighborhood, not a jungle. Even the weediest of yards can look passable by maintaining a close shave. Itís just a basic thing that shows someone is caring for a property. An overrun yard can signal to some that you donít care, and buyers might then assume that same level of care has gone into maintaining the actual home. Even if youíre not living there, make sure the lawn is getting cut once a week.
But donít stress
Those yellow troublemakers are everywhere this time of year, to the point where itís almost unusual to find a yard that doesnít have a few sprouting here and there. Like how much money are those people putting into weed killer and fertilizer?
I know people hate dandelions, but theyíre a temporary weed, at least visually. Donít lose your mind about them. The picky buyers probably already know the surefire way to get rid of them and keep them gone.
Also, mowing over dandelions temporarily solves the visual problem of them just as well as actually removing them. Or you simply take my childrenís approach ó theyíre pretty!
Close the junkyard
Maybe it isnít such a problem in neighborhoods with aggressive Homeowners Associations, but plenty of houses for sale curiously have a bunch of junk in their driveways, backyards and porches. No, that cracked, empty flower pot isnít a vintage decorative piece. Throw it out.
Some neighborhoods might require you to put away your trash cans, but even if youíre allowed to leave your trash piling outside for everyone to see, maybe stick it in the garage while the ďFor SaleĒ sign is out.
The biggest offenders in this category are broken-down cars or repair projects that linger in the driveway for weeks on end. Or itís the ďBreaking BadĒ RVs that sit in the driveway all yearlong, minus that weeklong trip you had to Yellowstone. Iím not trying to dog on anyoneís hobby, but disheveled vehicles have a way of distracting the eye from even the most immaculate home. Maybe move the junker over to your friend Philís place for the time being.
Lose the low-hanging fruit
Big exterior projects can be expensive. So as much as your house needs a new coat of paint, it may not be a realistic project in the short term. Better to focus on obvious problems ó repainting the faded railing on the porch, rehanging the piece of the gutter poking out at a 90-degree angle, or hosing down the windows that have two inches of mud caked on them.
If itís been an eyesore for you, then itís an eyesore for potential buyers. Eliminate the obvious problems in heavy-traffic areas, then address the rest of it if necessary. Maybe a little bit of money is thrown in on the sale for some repairsÖ most buyers are understanding of minor issues. But you donít want to give them too much ammunition, especially if the repairs can be rectified for just a couple hundred bucks.
Get a good agent,
then listen to them
Good Realtors are experts in the homebuying game, much more so than guys who just write about it in a weekly column. Trust in their expertise. If they think something needs to be fixed to improve your market, then they are probably drawing on experience that proves the benefit. Maybe in your particular neighborhood, the dandelion outbreak does matter, and an agent familiar with an area can answer that question.
Since finding a good agent is so important, itís also OK to take your time in finding one. Talk to a few; donít just go with your sisterís friend or a buddy who needs a listing. Good advice might mean thousands of dollars. Make an effort to find the best person for you, then let them lead with experience.
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Let us know about standout neighborhoods and developments that we may feature in an upcoming Neighborhood of the Week. Contact Tyler Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Real Estate Agents, take advantage of Neighborhood of the Week by sending in your suggestions for featured areas, including sites outside the normal confines of Coeur díAlene, Post Falls and Hayden.