Selling this spring? Prepare your home like a pro (Part 2)

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Preparing a home for market involves transforming your house in its current state into a place that visually attracts buyers to your home and then captivates them so they see themselves happily living there a lifestyle that is aspirational, enjoyable and better than their current circumstance.

In the business, this process is called staging and it is important because 95% of buyers conduct their home search online and they decide which homes they want to view based on the staging and photography they see on sites like Zillow and Realtor.com

Realtors use home organizers and stagers to get homes in top showing condition and the money spent is worth the cost. Staged homes create the environment needed to motivate buyers and when a seller has multiple buyers, s/he has more leverage in the transaction and can often dictate price and terms. In my experience, staging increases buyer demand, decreases time on market and boosts sale prices. I stage my listings for these reasons.

Staging is a four-part process and it involves Decluttering, Deep Cleaning, Reorganizing and Accessorizing. Decluttering is the first, and most important, step since it creates a clean starting point for reorganizing furniture and accessorizing. Steffanie Porter, owner of TidySmart Home Organizing has provided tips for organizing the three main areas of your home: Kitchen, Closets and Kids Playroom.

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Top 5 organizing tips for three main areas of your home

• Kitchen

1. Toss out expired cleaning items or those you haven’t used in years.

2. Go through food storage containers – if there’s not a lid to match the bottom, throw it out.

3. Drawers – Have a garbage can nearby so that you can easily toss items you no longer need to keep. Invest in drawer dividers to keep things in order.

4. Refresh cleaning towels/hand towels – throw out the old and add new hand towels as well as cleaning cloths.

5. Pantry – Throw away any expired foods and donate items that you are not going to eat. This is a great time of year to clean out old spices. Keep the containers but toss the expired spices, then refill at your local health food store’s bulk spice section – a very cost effective way to refresh your spice cabinet.

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• Closets

1. Pick five items per wardrobe section you haven’t worn in over a year. Either sell or donate them. I guarantee someone else will get more use of that clothing than you watching them sit in your closet.

2. Throw away old shoe boxes and display your shoes on a shelf. Enjoy storing them in boxes to keep the dust off? Consider using nice, clear boxes to store your shoes in.

3. Dust and vacuum all areas of the closet as well as throw away any trash.

4. Invest in matching, good quality hangers. This will help keep your clothes in better condition as well as have your closet looking tidier.

5. Current closet layout not working for you? Consider installing a new closet system to make the area more functional.

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• Kids’ toy room

1. Go through all toys and create “Keep,” “Donate/Sell,” and “Trash” piles.

2. For those items you’re going to keep, store some of the items away in storage and swap out every few weeks with those toys that are out for the kids to play with on a daily basis. This creates “new toys” every few weeks!

3. Throw away toys that are broken, missing pieces or have seen better days.

4. Sort toys into labeled bins or baskets by type – this helps children go right to that area to find what they’re looking for.

5. For the Lego-loving children, create a display area for them to show off their special creations using a bookcase or table.

When it comes to staging, you can Do It Yourself, or hire a professional. You can hire a stager directly, but I believe it is best to hire a realtor who utilizes an amazing stager, so their vision is well executed. After all, the realtor understands who will be buying your home and which rooms and features to accentuate. I believe in staging, so I offer a half day staging package to my sellers. The cost of staging by a professional—someone who has a great track record, sound design sense and who comes well-recommended—can mean money in the bank for you. If staging helps you sell your home sooner, it saves you a month or more of carrying expenses, and if it creates the kind of buzz that brings in offers above your asking price then your money is well spent.

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Tracy Wick, SRES, MUP is a Seniors Real Estate Specialist in Michigan with over 25 years of experience as a real estate agent and client advocate. Tracy is an Associate Broker with Keller Williams and she can help guide you through the process of preparing your home for market to ensure you optimize the outcome. Find more articles on home buying, selling, elder transition and estate settlement at TracyWick.com or contact her directly at 248-912-7407 or twick@kw.com