Tips for Getting Your House

Start with the Exterior

The view from the street is where buyers start, so it should be where sellers start too. “People judge if they want to see a house based on the exterior picture they see on the Internet, so curb appeal is critical,” says Aileen Muise of Signature Design Consultants of Dover. “Not considering your curb appeal or exterior is like trying to sell your car without detailing it first.”

Getting a landscaper to clean up edges and mulch is a good idea, and she adds that overgrown plantings are one of the most common problems she runs into: “The planting themselves can date a house. And the scale of planting needs to relate to the size of the house the way furniture in a room does.”

“People are going to look at the photos, then they are going to drive by the house,” says Pam Tiberia of Spruce Interiors in Hampton. “The closer you get the more flaws you see. So if there are any flaws from the curb, it is going to give them a reason to pass on your home.” She lists power washing, weeding, and fresh mulch as crucial to a polished exterior. “Then add sparkle,” she adds. “Get a potted plant, matching containers or something seasonal.”

“I tell clients they need to make the home shine on the Internet since that is where you have to entice people,” says Deb McLaughlin of Deb’s Décor, a home staging and interior design firm in Bedford. “Be sure there is no peeling paint, personal yard decals or pet holes. Where the Realtor starts the tour is the most important place to start. Make sure that entry area is the best it can be. And I recommend painting your front door — so many front doors are so blah.”

Think of Your Home as a Product

Tiberia says that she tells clients the most basic thing to remember is the house is now a product, something you would pull off a shelf. “People gravitate towards packaging, so we want to do everything we can to improve that packaging. It’s important to put yourself in the buyers’ perspective.”

The designers often work with clients to remove furniture and personal objects that detract from the focal points and natural selling features of the house. “Oriental rugs hide beautiful hardwood floors,” says McLaughlin. She tells clients that living in a house and staging a house are two different things: “You’re not being judged by how you live; people are judging the product that is for sale.”

Personal touches to the space need to be kept to a minimum, inside and out. “It is important to be cautious of personal expression, even in statues and yard decals,” says Muise. And Tiberia adds that “we have to tweak the creature comforts that match our habits. Sometimes we have to adjust the flow of the room and the space of the furniture, not for the people living there but for what will make the house look the most turn-key ready.”

Space Sells

The feeling of open, clean spaces is what makes buyers crave living in a home. “Clutter is visually very busy, so buyers notice the clutter and might not see features like crown moldings or hardwood floors,” says Muise. “Your Hummel collection or Elvis collection are great, but the buyer is not looking for those things. They might even like them, but it is distracting them from looking at the house.” She adds, “As a stager I have to work with the existing furniture, and address the layout to open up the room or if furniture is blocking a focal point. And updating walls with warm paint colors helps to create a soothing, emotional response in people.”

Tiberia says, “Clutter and small objects make the space feel smaller, especially in a picture. I tell my clients that anything smaller than a cantaloupe should be packed away. This will give the eye some breathing room so the space feels bigger.”

The result? Staging works. “People do see that staging does turn a house around quickly and sell it at the price point you want,” says McLaughlin. “Realtors are offering staging, so there will be competition out there that will have their home staged. You’re going to want to be able to compete with them.”

Categories: Features