When you buy a new house in McKinney, TX, there are few things more wonderful than making the new home your own. You know, the little touches that add your personality, from family photos, to trinkets picked up on travels, to your collection of National Geographic Magazines dating back to 1918. These things transform a home into your home.
But when you’re preparing your home to sell, you have to face the fact that potential buyers may not find these things so charming. Your beautiful duo of girls so lovingly displayed in artsy photos may make it difficult for a family with a trio of mischievous boys to imagine their rowdy gang in the space. And the trinkets and magazines – well, there are folks who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, stay local, and avoid all tropical disease, thank you very much.
This is where home staging comes into the picture. So I’ve asked Aimee Ihde of Spaces and Places Real Estate Staging and Interiors to answer a few questions for Get McKinney about how to prepare your home so the next family that moves in can imagine their life in it.
GM: What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when getting their house ready to sell?
AI: Not having a deep cleaning done. Everything including baseboards, the pantry, even your drawers needs to be cleaned. You don’t want buyers to be put off by cobwebs on the light fixtures or a cluttered pantry.
GM: Okay, so not your typical weekly cleaning. Anything else?
AI: Yes, you want to present the house in a very neutral way. Think of it like a beautiful hotel penthouse. When you walk in you see everything that you need is there, but there is no personality attached to it. You can envision using the space in the way that makes sense for you. This is how you want potential buyers to perceive your home.
GM: So decluttering is important?
AI: Yes, people generally understand this, but there are a couple of things I always like to point out. First, don’t declutter to the garage. Typically one half of any couple really appreciates a garage, and opening the door to the garage only to find a wall of clutter could turn them off entirely. If you have a lot of items to store, it’s best to rent a portable storage unit until you move.
Also, people don’t always realize that they need to declutter personal effects, not only to achieve the hotel penthouse effect, but also for privacy reasons. If you have things like diplomas, your children’s names and sports teams, or a large family calendar with details of your schedule on display, you are essentially sharing that information with strangers.
GM: I never thought about that – what great point! Where should sellers spend money in prepping their home for sale?
AI: There are several areas where it makes sense to spend. A deep cleaning and having the windows professionally cleaned are good investments. Repaint rooms with vivid paint colors that might not be universally appealing. It’s also worthwhile to repaint if the paint is old and the room needs to be freshened up. Be sure the light fixtures are nice and clean and have matching bulbs that give off the same type of light.
On the exterior of the house, a fresh coat of paint on the front door goes a long way as does a pop of color such as a pot of flowers near the front entry. Buyers often stand by the front door while their real estate agent opens the lockbox to retrieve the house key – they’ve got time to take in that spot and it can make a strong impression. You don’t need to do a lot of landscaping, but be sure trees are trimmed and flower beds are freshly mulched. It’s important to keep regular lawn maintenance going while the house is on the market as well.
GM: These are great tips. Anything else you want us to know?
AI: Yes. I like to break down the overall view that a potential buyer has into three distinct impressions. The first impression is typically on the internet, which is why I always recommend using a professional real estate photographer to show off the home’s best assets. The second impression is the drive up or curb appeal. It is not unheard of for buyers to decide to not even look at the inside based on what they see when they drive up. The third and final impression is the tour of the interior of the home. Make sure this is a wonderful experience for them!
Here are a few photos of Aimee’s work with tips you can take away from the spaces:
Aimee Ihde is a professional home-staging consultant in McKinney, Texas. She offers consultations, staging services using the owner’s own furnishings, and packages for adding furnishing to add the finishing touch. Aimee is an Accredited Staging Professional® (ASP®), a licensed real estate agent with Altus Realty, and a member of the American Society of Interior Designers. When not busy helping someone sell their home, Aimee enjoys gardening, her dogs and planning her upcoming wedding.