So you’ve decided the time has finally come to make your move to the Lowcountry.
First of all, smart move. We’re a little biased, but our little region of the south is one of the most charming and welcoming places on earth and we can’t wait to welcome you.
But first, you have to get your hone on the market. And if you want it to move, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and get some work done. Start by thinking about what made you fall in love with this house in the first place – what design feature first captivated you, which view first took your breath away, and then build from there.
In short, accentuate the positive, and eliminate the negative (or at least put the negative into storage until you’re under contract). That is how you stage a house for showings. Need more? Here are some helpful hints on staging.
Never sleep on your home’s potential for pure curb appeal. Even a modest front yard can get a major makeover with just a few flowerbeds and a little TLC on the lawn. Mow and edge, and lay down grass seed on any bare patches (even if the buyer noticed the patches, you’ve at least shown they’re being addressed). If you have beds, do some weeding.
Your front porch can be a huge factor in the buying decision as well, even if the buyer doesn’t consciously notice it. Get that welcome mat sparkling, and get some fresh potted plants and furniture out there (if you have room for it – DO NOT over clutter. A single pop of color from a handful of flowers can work wonders).
Also, it goes without saying, but power wash. Your buyer may not notice that your exterior has been cleaned, but they will certainly notice if it’s dirty.
Also, make sure your house number is clear from the street and leave your porch light on at night (a lot of buyers will scope out properties at night before meeting with a real estate agent. You want to make sure they can find it, no matter the hour).
Get a Head Start on Moving Out
This has been your house and home, but the ultimate goal here is to make this someone else’s house and home. So you may as well get started now.
Take a good hard look at your clutter. We all have it — the personal mementos, the small items scattered throughout the home that truly make it our own – and it needs to go. Leave behind the most tasteful items (sorry, kids, the macaroni artwork has to come off the fridge).
This extends to the kitchen – your cabinets and counters are most likely packed with those items you pull it every once in a while but can do without. Slow cookers, tea kettles, waffle irons, these are things you can easily part with while your house is on the market. Relive the college years and spend some time cooking with a single skillet. Your kitchen will look that much cleaner for it.
In the bathroom, you’ll obviously want to clear up your personal toiletries from counters, but here you have a great opportunity to leave enough to create atmosphere. Arrange perfumes and cosmetics into an attractive display to give buyers a sense of elegant utility. And if you have an extra fluffy robe you can hang nearby with some plush slippers, you’ll really drive home the notion of an in-home spa experience. Never underestimate the impact of some candles and a single orchid.
Your buyers will be looking for space, so if they see roomy cabinets, closets and countertops you’ll soon be seeing dollar signs. Just remember that when you’re sending all of your knick-knacks into storage.
Set The Mood
There’s an old saying in advertising: Don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle.
Your house is the steak. At this point, the buyer is touring your home because it checks off the requisite boxes in terms of their needs: the right size, the right neighborhood, the right school district, etc. They’ve already been sold on the steak.
Your job now is to sell the sizzle.
You accomplish this by creating a lifestyle, or the notion of a lifestyle, in and around your home.
Hang up that hammock you always meant to string up in the backyard. Pull a few chairs around a firepit. Get a café table together with some chairs and create a lovely breakfast nook on a backyard patio. The point of this exercise is to get your buyers imagining themselves living the good life in your home.
Inside, keep selling the lifestyle. Dress up the dining table with a small but tasteful centerpiece – just a few candles or fresh flowers, you want to keep it simple. Even if it doesn’t suit your day-to-day needs, rearrange the furniture to create a sense of openness, with conversation areas here and there. Draw them in with accent pieces and artwork, get your closets organized and leave them open. Encourage exploration.
A home is a major purchase. You want to create an atmosphere where your buyer tours your house imaging the lifestyle that comes with that purchase.
You may find that when you’re done, your home is in such brilliant shape you’ll wonder why on earth you’d want to move. Just keep thinking about those Lowcountry sunsets and the white sandy beaches.