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Invite buyers to your house

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September 22nd, 2009

Though you may have lived in a house for years, when you decide to sell it, you should take yourself out of the picture so potential buyers can envision themselves and their possessions in the space. Staging is the process of removing your imprint from the house and opening it up for others to make it theirs. Here are some techniques:

Clear off surfaces

Naturally, the eye is drawn to busyness, so surfaces in every room need to be cleared of all but the essentials. In the kitchen, the coffeemaker and toaster are acceptable, but the magnets need to come off the fridge; in the bathroom, the buyer doesn t want to see your toothbrush or grooming tools, so put them away. People want to see the seller s house, not the seller s stuff. The old adage remains true less really is more. A good rule is that if something is sentimental, pack it away. Just because you re packing it doesn t mean you re not taking it with you. Quite the opposite now it will be ready for the move.

Pare down furniture

We all accumulate furniture, but when staging a house for sale, it s important to keep only the basics in each room. Unless the living room is very large, have a sofa, two chairs, a coffee table, and two end tables. Furniture takes up space, so make sure each piece ' is really necessary. Some people put accent furniture in the hallway, but obstructions make hallways look narrow. Remember, if things are cluttered, people will think there s no room for their things, and that s not a good message to send to potential buyers. All ' pathways and walkways need to be clear and open. Closets should be cleared of all excess. It is okay to stack boxes neatly in the garage. This is one of those spaces where the buyer expects to see some boxes. Just make sure the area is neat and presentable, and again, that you can see a pathway.

Create a warm atmosphere

Make sure your house smells pleasant, and every surface is dust-free and clean. This includes window treatments. When people see a little dirt, their minds run away with what they can t see. To help buyers recognize the good in your house, ' let as much natural light as possible through the windows. This means shades up and curtains open, unless it is a really bad view. Light, especially natural light, makes things look bigger. When the potential buyer can see through a room to the outside of the house, it also brightens things up, making the space seem more cheerful. Don t block windows with any kind of furniture, like a sofa or bed, and make sure the windowsills are cleared of clutter like figurines and plants.

Show rooms for what they are

When buyers are looking at a house, they don t want to have to think, so take the guesswork out of it for them by making the purpose of each room clear. The more inviting your house looks, the quicker it sells. In fact, staged houses sell five times faster than houses that aren t staged.

Need help?

Erickson Realty & Moving Services is available to anyone moving to an Erickson community. It includes access to personal moving consultants who provide trusted realty and moving resources, plus advice and assistance with every aspect of people s moves. To learn more about this complimentary service and how to get reimbursed for up to $2,000 in approved moving costs, call 1-800-917-8643.

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