We are listing our house in 11 months and moving across the country. We currently live in Atlanta so some of these observations may be for this housing market and not for yours. Keep in mind that our part of town mostly attracts young high dual income professionals as well as some older professors, lawyers and doctors.
It was very interesting to spend 2 hours going through our house with a home stager and getting her advice as to what we need to do to maximize the appeal of our house without buying a lot or spending a lot of money. I have 3 1/2 pages of notes. She said some things that I think are key to getting any home ready to sell.
1. Don't confuse interior design with home staging! There is nothing wrong with how you prefer to decorate your home but the typical buyer reacts well to certain things that you may not prefer to live with.
2. Maximize the light in your home. Extend curtain rods so that curtain panels fall to the outside of the window frame so as much light comes in as possible.
3. Light colored neutrals are the in paint and decor colors. Graphic design accents in darker neutrals are also in. So with dark furniture add light throw pillow. Pull up dark area rugs. Paint your walls light neutral colors and accent walls are definately out! (Sorry honey - I like them too).
4. Don't be afraid of empty space. You may want those tables, chairs, etc. for the way you live but deleting some will make your home more appealing to potential buyers.
5. Bookshelves are also out. Minimize and only keep what you will move or put those books and bookshelves in storage.
6. Simple decorative accents help. A single item on display per shelf. A single bowl with boxwood balls on a coffee table.
7. Make all of your indoor and outdoor spaces look appealing for someone else's lifestyle. This is called staging for a reason. Move furniture around to better showcase your home even if it doesn't fit with your lifestyle.
Or course there was the standard advice about removing personal photos in frames or on the frig. Clear the kitchen counter as much as possible. Don't storethings in spaces that don't reflect there use - e.g. no turkey roaster in the guest room closet. Declutter or pack and store offsite. Paint/pressure wash/repair the outside of your home thoroughly.
She did not say we needed to change our artwork or make major changes in decor. Apparently though empty houses with a few staged rooms are popular with buyers - so if we want to move out and then sell - Hah hah!!!!
We still haven't decided if we are going to renovate the main floor bathroom so I asked her for some ideas on how to stage it if we don't. Wisdom would be doing it though and we will have to make that decision after we get back from vacation in mid-May. We also have to decide how much of the interior painting to do ourselves vs. pay to have it done.