Property Managers, owners and landlords looking to rent or sell a home know the basics to make it show-worthy: neutralize wall color, remove personal items and get rid of clutter. But in today’s market, it can make all the difference to go the extra mile whether your goal is getting the price you want or securing a great tenant without losing a day of rent.
A potential client’s gut reaction when they first see a place sticks with them, and that is affected by their senses. This is the first in a two part series on the topic of making maximum use of the senses to stage a home.
Realtor.org drummed up some stats on the effects of home staging, stating the average home sale price can be increased up to 5% simply by staging properly. You may spend a little but that amount should double or triple itself in returns. Most of these suggestions cost nothing or very little!
When someone looks at a place, often they feel things. Maximize that by appealing to that sense. These little “touches” can really make a difference.
- Put a fuzzy or faux fur throw across the corner of the couch or the end of the bed. Add plush decorative pillows. Hang or roll fluffy towels in each bathroom. Add plump, new cushions to the patio furniture.
- Fingers also run along edges – especially in the kitchen. Make sure surfaces and corners on counters, bar and table tops are free of grease and end tables, shelves, picture frames and lamp shades are dusted.
- Be sure door and cabinet knobs, handles and hinges are secure, so nothing rattles when they grab it to open. Doors on sliders should be well oiled, and check those on casters to be sure they’re in their runners both top and bottom, so all will open smoothly.
- Does the water get hot fast and is the pressure good? They may turn on the taps to find out so if you can improve either or both, do.
- If carpet needs to be replaced, adding a thicker pad (even under less expensive carpets) will make it feel far more luxurious from the first step.
After sight, scent is the most powerful influences on a client’s gut reaction to a home. This is why the suggestion to bake bread or cookies is so common. Is there more that you can do?
- Pets can be the trickiest scent-challenge. If pets are allowed to sleep everywhere in the house, chances are they are contributing to less than fresh air quality. Wash whatever rugs, blankets, duvet and slipcovers you can. It’s recommended not to use special “odor fighting” perfumed soaps, as that’s just switching out one unappealing scent for another. Arm and Hammer baking soda detergent is one option.
- Febreze makes a special Unscented Allergen Reducer spray to use before you vacuum up to make pet dander heavier and easier to remove.
- Ask the current sellers/tenants to not cook fish, things like cabbage and cauliflower or use have heavy spices during the days before and during the showing period.
- Stick a lemon rind in the disposal and grind it up to help with kitchen odors.
- Smoke can linger – whether it’s from cigarettes/cigars, something burned in the kitchen, or a lovely wood fire gone awry. Check into the many kinds of Febreze, from sprays to detergent to sachets. Again, go with the unscented choice, called Fabric Refresher Free.
- If you must use a scented air freshener the best is orange/citrus. These smell fresh and natural, not perfumed – the latter of which can drive allergic people (and there are many) right out of the house. Find natural citrus sprays at a health food store and forego the national brand’s version as they can reek of chemicals. Another good choice is a citrus or eucalyptus candle, which also creates atmosphere.
- Flowers also do double duty to both beautify and mask odors, but you do have to use with care, as the aforementioned allergies are usually specifically to floral scents. Perhaps a small bunch in a bathroom that held a kitty litter box (which should be removed well before a showing!). Blooms with the most pungent scents are: tuberose, lilacs, freesia, jasmine, roses cut from a garden (the store bought are scentless) or lilies.
If your property is located by a playground, school, athletic field or an airport, firehouse, hospital or highway, noise can be a concern and either deter potential buyers/renters or cause you to reduce your asking price.
We all want home to be a peaceful place. Chances are, external sounds are not 24/7, so if your showing is during a time where kids are in session or it’s a busy time for flights, here are some tips:
- Put on soft music without words – classical or jazz – during a showing. Keep it low so as not to be obvious. It really does help.
- If a bedroom is nearest the noise, a sound machine with rain playing on low is an option, as many people have them in that room for sleep.
- For the rest of the house, running air conditioners, dehumidifiers or ceiling fans can create all the white noise needed and is a more natural way to take the echo out of a dead-quiet house, which only enhances any sounds from outside.
- If a the property has a real wood fire, unless it’s mid-summer, putting a new log on a minute or two before a showing can add crackling to help – as well as a pleasant, cozy scent.
- Consider a electric water fountain to decorate a table top or corner. Some make little sound, so go for the ones that bring the appealing music of dancing water into a room.
- Hang thick fabric curtains with easy-to-install, affordable decorative curtain rods and grommet panels from a discount store.
- Caulk around windows, light fixtures, and door casings.
- If it’s really bad, there are windows that are specially made to help break up sound waves. Consider what kind of frequencies you’re trying to break up – high (birds chirping) or low (garbage trucks). There is now a STC scale to rate the sound-stopping qualities of different windows, making it easier than ever to get your money’s worth. Look for STC ratings of at least 45 to block 95% of the sound. Shop around for the best prices – this is not cheap but you can weigh out the investment vs. the difference it can make to your sale.
The next post will cover both Sight and Taste, as well as how to apply these tips to the outside too. So come back to look for for Part Two! In the mean time, find more tips and ideas in our previous posts: How to Sell Your Home While You’re Still Living in it, and Prepare Your Home for Sale!
Meet Your Contributor:
Rochelle Joseph is a Writer and Image and Marketing Consultant who has had experience marketing, renting, buying and selling her properties for over 20 years. She has written and edited for several publications, including the Boston Book Review, The Emerson Review, ZooBorns.com, WildLife Magazine, the Houston Zoo, The Wildlife Center of Texas, One Spirit Interfaith Seminary as well as AHRN.com. She currently writes at her great gifts blog at http://lookyhereu.blogspot.com and her animal blog at http://naturegirrrl.blogspot.com