Let’s face it: Getting your home ready to put on the market can be flat-out intimidating. Suddenly, every choice you’ve ever made, from wall colors to décor to never cleaning out the junk drawer (it’s a junk drawer, for goodness sake!), is subject to intense inspection and discussion by total strangers.
As a four-time survivor of the home-selling battle, it’s easy to offer advice. Breathe would be top on that list, followed by make a plan of attack. But when one is in the throes of oh-my-gosh-my-house-is-on-the-market! panic, it’s easy to lose focus.
We turned to designer Selena McAdams of Spruce for her advice on easy ways to make your home ready for its close-up without breaking the bank—or losing your mind. (Full disclosure here: Selena helped yours truly in getting the former marital home ready for sale.)
While Selena is more frequently brought in by her clients to help freshen up their new spaces, she’s helped others get their homes ready specifically to put on the market. In fact, she is actually doing so right now. “Over the past few years, I have been working on a master plan with a client for their house involving layout and interior décor,” says Selena. “Life transitioned into a different path, so we are adapting the master plan and putting it on a fast track.”
Many decorators are happy to help you assess your room layouts, tag items for storage, and rearrange furniture and wall art. “I charge hourly to shift the space, which sometimes involves purchasing items to help complete a space,” she says. But her advice for getting your home market-ready is simple enough to accomplish on your own. Here’s what Selena suggests:
First, depersonalize your house.
Yep, time to take down most of those family photos. “You definitely want a potential buyer to be able to picture themselves in the space,” says Selena. “You can depersonalize a space simply by editing some of the tabletop photos. If portraits are a part of an art wall, I would feel comfortable leaving that application.”
Next, hit the closets – every last one of them.
Invest in a climate-controlled storage space, then box and store out-of-season clothes, shoes, accessories and toys. The idea is to create space on shelves so potential buyers feel that their belongings can easily move into closets, built-in storage spaces and the like.” We all have a lot of ‘stuff,'” says Selena. “A space will look and feel larger if pared down … it also makes a potential home buyer feel like the home has been well taken care of.”
Then, freshen up your spaces.
Take care of marks on the walls (and don’t forget to pay attention to your trim and moldings, too) with a swipe of the paintbrush. Swap out pillows and throws to give your spaces an updated look. Invest in new bedding that is neutral.
When investing in new items to freshen up your spaces, Selena advises thinking about how those pieces—whether vases or furniture—will transition to a new home, one which you may not have found yet. “Most clients want to help facilitate a house sale and also not waste money on these pieces. For instance, a design plan for a family might call for a larger sofa. However, not knowing if that larger scale sofa fits in the next space would lead me to select something on a slightly smaller scale so that it could later transition into a living room, study or master bedroom.”
Finally, add some flowers.
Finish your staging with fresh flowers, but choose carefully, says Selena. “The key is to be subtle; too much is never a good thing, so select specific locations to make a home feel fresh. You could do an arrangement in the entry and powder room and maybe a fresh bowl of lemons in the kitchen. Remember to pick something that is easy to maintain, in case the house has multiple showings over time.”
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