If you’ve decided to get out of the rental market and sell the house you’ve been renting, there are a few things you should take care of. With a home that has been a rental, or still is, you have a couple of options. If you’ve decided to sell your vacant rental, you need to know a few things about staging.
If you still have tenants in the home, always remember your advance notice laws. It may be a better idea to wait until they’ve moved out to show the house, but, if they’ll allow it, see if they wouldn’t mind you staging a bit. Bear in mind, they do not have to do this for you. However, if you’ve got a good relationship going with them and they are willing, there’s still a certain amount of staging you can do.
Whether you’re staging an ex rental or just a home you’d like to sell, the biggest thing is clutter. It needs to be spotless. Remember, you’re creating a place that anyone who walks in should be able to visualize as their home. When my girlfriend professionally stages a vacant property, she makes sure that it is minimally furnished. If you’re living in the property, you don’t need to eliminate nearly the amount that she or any other stager would: but get rid of as much as you can.
This holds particularly true of anything personal, particularly items that express beliefs or are funny. People visiting your home might be just fine with your novelty salt and pepper shakers: those looking into buying it, maybe not so much. Politics is another area you don’t want displayed. It’s one thing to be proud of your party affiliations, but that pride isn’t paying off the mortgage and can actually turn off potential buyers. Photos are another thing that need to go when staging a home. Instead, opt for art that doesn’t have people in it. Again, bearing in mind, this is someone who you want to be visualizing themselves in the home: not you.
One area where you constantly see self-stagers mess up is the furniture arrangements. Sure, you might think that pulling all the furnishings against the walls will open up the room. The exact opposite is true. You end up looking like you’ve moved everything out of the way for an at-home Yoga class or something. Instead, pull the furniture into the middle, float it in more intimate, conversational looking groups. Do so in such a way that the traffic flow in a room is clear. Doing this not only makes the room actually open up but it also inspires a more comfortable feel.
Lighting is another area where quite a few people could use an update. Many people think soft, warm lighting only is the way to go. This is partially true. Warm lighting is wonderful, it’s welcoming, but it’s also not particularly forthcoming. The problem with that is, most people are going to look harder, anyway. Start by making sure there’s a fresh coat of paint, or at least no smudges or discolorations on the walls and flooring in the rooms. Then? Increase the wattage. You want to have about 100 watts per 50 square feet. Include every type of lighting, in the rooms large enough to do so. Accent lighting, which will be things like table and wall lamps, Task lighting, which includes under cabinet and reading lamps, and ambient lighting- either overhead or general.
Pay attention to scent. Studies have shown that above all other senses, scent is the most evocative. Where it becomes problematic is that you do not know what allergies are walking in with your prospective buyers. The way around this? Opt for real scents that people love. Any savvy real estate agent will have a toaster oven or even just a toaster in the kitchen. This is simply for the purpose of popping something like cookies in there that creates a scent that offends almost no one.