After weeks or months of hard work rehabbing your first investment property, now comes the exciting part: selling it for a profit. One way to maximize your profit and get as close to asking price as possible is to do a professional job staging the home for showings and open houses. Home staging shows buyers the home's potential and helps them more easily visualize living there. This can translate to a faster sale for more money, since you've captured the buyer's enthusiasm and imagination. Here are five staging tips for your first investment property:
Have it Professionally Cleaned
Even if the house you purchased was a 100-year-old dump in ill-repair before you renovated it, you want it to feel as clean and new as possible for potential buyers. The rehab process has no doubt left dust, smudges, plaster, etc. throughout the home.
Hiring professional cleaners to come in and deep clean before you show the house will leave things spotless and give buyers the impression of a new house. Keep a small stash of cleaning supplies in a closet or kitchen cabinet for touch-up cleanings in between visitors.
Opt for a Small Amount of Nice Furniture
Don't worry about completely furnishing the home. You want to keep things as simple and neutral as possible, so that buyers can easily envision their own belongings in the home. Purchase just enough furniture to make the home feel more inviting and homey, and opt for quality over quantity. Go for neutral colors and styles, as well as small and streamlined over bulky furniture, as this will help the house feel bigger.
Pay Attention to the Details
Small details can make a huge difference in how buyers feel in your home, and at a minimal cost for you. Here are a few examples of small details that may have a big impact:
- Update doorknobs and hardware on cupboards.
- Update old switch plates.
- Add new, fluffy towels to the bathroom. Rolling them and placing them on an open shelf will give the bathroom an upscale hotel feel.
- Have a pleasant, subtly scented candle burning on the kitchen counter.
- Add nice quality curtains in a neutral color in the main rooms.
- Add a couple of throw pillows in a bright color to the neutral-colored sofa.
Don't Forget Curb Appeal
While most of your focus may be on the inside of the home, don't forget that the outside is the first thing buyers see. The lawn should be freshly mowed, and there should be no weeds, fallen branches, trash or debris anywhere in sight. The front walk, steps, and porch should be swept before the showings begin. Spending a small amount of money at a home improvement store on a cheery welcome mat and perhaps some potted flowers can make buyers' first impression of the home even more positive.
Keep Things Light and Bright
Focus on keeping a light and bright interior, especially if the home is small or dark. During the day blinds should be open and at night you should keep as many lights on as possible. When painting the walls opt for light, neutral colors like off-white and beige. This will help the room feel bigger, and the neutrality will help your home appeal to the largest number of people.
Studies have shown that homes that are staged tend to sell in half the time of un-staged homes, and for 6% more than asking price. By spending a bit of time and money staging the home in such a thoughtful way, you will stand out from the pack of other houses for sale and boost your odds of a successful real estate investment.