Decorating for a Potential Buyer

Many people say that you only need to paint your home to attract potential buyers, but years of experience selling homes have taught me that the process of preparing a home for sale is a bit more complicated than a coat of paint.  You need to redecorate your home before placing it one the market, for many reasons.

If you want to have a competitive edge in the housing market, you need to attract more buyers.  Doing so decreases the amount of time that your home is on the market, increases the final sales price of your home, and lets you move to the next phase of your life much sooner

Home decorating for the sales market is vastly different from the type of home decorating that adds a personal touch to your living space.  Fortunately, while redecorating your home for sale, you can begin the process of planning the décor for your new home.

Some sellers are surprised when I tell them that they need to remove the signs of their personal style in order to effectively market their home. The goal should be to enable potential buyers to see the home as a canvas for their own unique style.  For example, although many people decorate their homes with dark fabrics and wall coverings to make the home feel warmer, buyers are looking for light and airy homes to which they can add their own stamp of personalization.

As a seller, you need to use your creativity to broaden the audience of potential buyers to whom your home will appeal.  The more minimalist your decoration is, the faster your home will sell.

Appeal to Many Potential Buyers
Every seller wants to impress potential homebuyers.  To do so, you need to frame your home in a way that allows potential buyers to see themselves living in the home.  Begin the process by removing your family photos, monogrammed towels, and that handmade sign with your family name. Removing these items increases your family´s safety and security while strangers have access to your home, but the real benefit is that these changes make your home look as much as possible like a model home in a new development .

Rooms should be displayed as though they have always been used as originally intended.  For example, if your smallest bedroom now functions as a home office, convert the space back into a bedroom.  Likewise, if your dining room currently serves as a family room or den, revert to the original dining room.  Your family may need to make some temporary adjustments, but there is an intrinsic value to displaying a traditional home in which all the rooms are used in their traditional sense.

Eliminate All Clutter
Home sellers also need to reduce the amount of "stuff" in the home.  If you like to collect things, such as dolls, toy cars, license plates or sports memorabilia, you need to store these items out of sight.  Potential buyers may not the charm in a room filled with dolls or other items and these items will distract them from looking at your home. Storing away these items can be traumatic, but fortunately careful packing ahead of time increases the change of your most precious belongings being transported safely in the subsequent move once your home has sold.

When you opt for minimalist home decor, potential buyers will be able to see much more. The minimalist approach allows potential buyers to visualize their own family and belongings inside your home.  The added benefit for you, as the seller, is that you can begin the packing process early ? just pack neatly! Potential buyers will understand and accept a garage full of neatly packed and stacked boxes, but a garage piled to the ceiling with miscellaneous "stuff" probably won´t have the same effect.

Potential buyers spend a considerable amount of time with the realtor at the front door, both coming and going. 
First impressions are lasting impressions...


Draw Attention to the Home´s Best Features
After living in a home for a long period of time, the owners often forget why they were attracted to the home in the first place.  Nevertheless, you must identify the home´s best features and accentuate them as much as possible.  Once you have removed your personal touches from the home and eliminated clutter as much as possible, take a look at what is left.  Creative furniture arrangements can be a great way to draw attention to your home´s most prized features.

Consider the living room fireplace.  Be sure to keep the fireplace clean and perhaps open up the screen and placing a large plant inside to draw the eye of potential buyers.  Rather than placing your sofa directly in front of the fireplace, consider flanking the fireplace with the sofa and a few chairs in order to draw the eye to the room´s intended focal point.

Are your windows clean? If not, clean them and then place some plants on the sills to connect the interior of your home with its beautiful exterior. Remove heavy window treatments in favor of simple blinds or sheer curtains that let in the light.  Remember that potential buyers want homes that are light and airy.

Look at the Entrance
Concentrate on what potential buyers see when they approach your home. Is the front porch immaculate, with a comfy chair and lots of healthy plants?  Is your front door pristine and cleaned to a shine?  Is that wreath on your door welcoming, or is it time to change to a more seasonal decoration?

The approach to your home often forms buyers´ first impression of your home. Potential buyers spend a considerable amount of time with the realtor at the front door, both coming and going. 
First impressions are lasting impressions, so you want to make them as positive as possible for your potential buyers.  Spend some time ensuring that the first thing your potential buyers see is a sign that they are welcome.

The impression that your home makes on potential buyers will mean the difference between a few weeks on the market and a few months.  When you adopt the minimalist approach that I am suggesting, you help potential buyers imagine their family living in your home.

The process of redecorating may seem time-consuming and expensive, but it does not have to be so.  You will need to pack up your things anyhow, so why not get a head start?  A fresh coat of paint will make you feel better about the appearance of your home when you leave it. And, most importantly, you will be thrilled to move on to the next phase of your life quickly, knowing that you have successfully sold your home.