From staging to sold: Tips from local realtors to help your house fly off the market

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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Less is More

LESS IS MORE – A home that is beautifully, but minimally, decorated allows potential buyers to envision their own photos and decor in the house. It’s also important to keep the home clutter-free while it’s on the market. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Selling a home is all about appearances.

Before those first potential buyers cross the threshold, make sure your house is inviting and orderly. Not only do you want to highlight its most appealing features, but you also want it to be welcoming.

As you prepare to put your house on the market this spring, consider these tips from Wise County realtors.

Lisa Caraway with Parker Properties Real Estate said it starts on the front porch.

“I always tell clients that their front door and porch is like their home’s first impression,” she said.

Caraway suggested power washing the porch and the door. She said you might even consider repainting the front door for a fresh, clean look. Finishing touches would include new house numbers and a pot of blooming flowers.

“I always say, no matter the style home, a rocking chair or swing on the porch says ‘home’ and is inviting,” Caraway added.

The inside of the home needs to be thoroughly cleaned before welcoming the first potential buyers. Caraway said this is the most important element. General cleaning is required, but don’t forget ceiling fans, baseboards, cabinets and windowsills.

“The smell of a home is also important,” Caraway said.

Sharon Blessing with Trinity Realty echoed Caraway’s thoughts about deep cleaning.

“The first impression is based on cleanliness,” she said.

Blessing said she also encourages her clients to declutter.

“Less is more,” she said.

Both Blessing and Beverly Whetsell, a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, agreed personal photos should be removed from the house.

“The less that’s sitting out and on the walls, the better they can see their own things on the walls,” Whetsell said.

Caraway encouraged homeowners to reduce the amount of furniture in the rooms and make sure the furniture in place isn’t too large for the space.

“You never want clients to have to squeeze around a piece of furniture to walk around a room,” she said.

Caraway said some real estate agents encourage sellers to completely redecorate, but she doesn’t think that’s necessary in the current Wise County market.

“In a market like ours with more demand than supply, we don’t have to play HGTV and make everything neutral and take down all the pictures of your children,” she said.

She explained that often a home will sell without making a lot of significant changes, which is a lot less stressful for the seller.

Whetsell said many of her customers assume they need to install new carpet or repaint the entire house, but she prefers a “wait and see” approach.

“You might get the same amount of money for your house, even if you don’t do all those things. Just offer an allowance,” she said. “A lot of times you don’t have to do it, and you still end up on the better end of the stick.”

Whetsell thinks it’s better to offer an allowance to potential buyers because then everyone is happier – the seller doesn’t have to spend money up front and the buyer has a say in the changes.

If a seller does decide to update an older home, Blessing said bathrooms and kitchens are the most profitable.

“You don’t always get all your money back, but it does help it sell,” she said.

All the agents agreed cleanliness is key, and with a little prep, your home could go from staged to sold in a matter of days.

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