Home checklist: How to make your house sell faster

Published: Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013 - 12:00 am

What makes a house sell? It’s not just location, location, location.

“Staging” can make a big difference in how long a home stays on the market — and what price it ultimately brings, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“Home staging is all about preparing a home for sale so the buyer can move in mentally,” said Lisbeth Toivonen, creative director for home textile maker Bemz. “Statistics show that homes that have been staged sell 50 percent faster and increase the selling price by 6 percent to 10 percent. A modest investment in home staging can result in a considerable gain.”

But where to start?

Here are Toivonen’s tips:

•  Clean, polish and declutter. You’ve got company coming and you want to make a good first impression. Make surfaces — such as counters and floors — look their shiny best.

•  Depersonalize. Staging is not about you; it’s about the house. You want potenital buyers to visualize themselves in each room; they can’t do that surrounded by your family photos and heirlooms.

•  Make your space “gender neutral.” Tone down the “man cave” or overtly girly decorating. Again, staging is not about your interests, but making the house the center of attention.

•  Go for neutral color schemes. A neutral palette and minimal frills make rooms more universally appealing to a wider selection of buyers.

“The idea is create monochromatic harmony that invites potential buyers in and makes them feel instantly at home,” Toivonen said. “Rather than making major changes such as buying new furniture, just pare down and work with what you have.”

•  Cover worn or overly colorful (or loud) patterned sofas and armchairs in neutral slipcovers. Toivonen suggested off-white, sand or soft gray; neutral tones that fit many different furniture and design styles. For example, Bemz offers many styles made to fit Ikea furnishings as well as sofas and chairs from other popular furniture makers.

•  Not sure of what color to choose? Go with white, the ultimate neutral. It always looks clean and classic. White also works on furniture as well as walls, and can feel contemporary or traditional. For example, inject some “urban edginess” with a Bemz Basiq armchair cover in Soft White Panama Cotton, she said. Or create a striking dining area by covering dining chairs in fresh Absolute White multifit covers.

For more decorating ideas, click on www.bemz.com.

— Debbie Arrington

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