DIY Home StagingLiving on Amelia Island, you would think potential buyers would be clamoring for available properties. While we are fortunate to live in such a highly coveted area, competition in the real estate market is still tough. “Buyers make their decisions in exactly eight seconds,” says Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, a real estate firm. “After that, they’ve either fallen in love or are just honoring an appointment.” In this market, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Make your home TRULY stand out with these DIY home staging strategies that will make your home look clean, modern, and welcoming to potential buyers.

Keep Walls Clean and Neutral
While you may love bold colors, potential homebuyers can have a hard time picturing themselves in a home that is overly stylized. A fresh coat of neutral paint is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to give your home a fresh look. If your walls are already a neutral color, make sure they are free of smudges or handprints. Remove family photos and bold artwork to provide prospective buyers with a blank slate where they can imagine their own belongings fitting into the room. If the neutral colors feel drab to you, you can always add a burst of color with fresh flowers.

Upgrade Old Hardware and Any Items that Date Your Home
Brass hardware on kitchen cabinets and bathroom fixtures and chain-like fireplace screens can seriously date your home. Upgrade hardware to something that is simple and modern, stainless steel is typically a good choice. If you have a glass shower door, consider removing it as it only serve to make the bathroom look smaller and closed off. Instead, install a light-colored shower curtain close to the ceiling to make the room appear taller and maximize square footage.

modernize-kitchen-cropStain or Paint Kitchen Cabinets Instead of Replacing Them
If your kitchen cabinets are in good shape, but have a cherry or pine finish that looks very 90’s, simply paint your cabinets white. It will make your kitchen look fresh and spacious and save you the cost of brand new cabinets that may not be of the same taste as potential homebuyers. If your cabinet doors are not in great shape, you can also consider painting cabinets white and either removing doors altogether for an open look or adding inexpensive, but stylish plexiglass doors for a more modern design.

Get Rid of Clutter
If your home looks too “lived-in” it may make potential homebuyers feel like they are intruding on your space. You want buyers to take the time to linger in your home so that they can begin to imagine themselves living there. Keep laundry out of site. Remove stacks of magazines. Keep kitchen counters free of groceries and any unnecessary gadgets. If you have built in bookshelves, try not to overload them with objects. A few strategically placed items (thinks plants, vases, and simple candles) are all you really need when it comes to decorating.

Provide Plenty of Natural Light
No one wants to move into a gloomy home. Keep blinds and curtains wide open and make sure that windows are sparkling clean to maximize natural light. If you have a room that tends to be dark, add plenty of lamps to make the space feel much warmer. Be mindful that many homebuyers are conducting the bulk of their searches online these days, so remember to keep the outside of your home well illuminated, too in case prospective buyers drive by your home after work in the evening hours.

modernize-mindful-of-scent-cropNever Underestimate the Value of Curb Appeal
With so many listings on the market, you need to make sure that the exterior of your home catches a buyer’s eye. Rusted gutters, cracks in your driveway, and a barren lawn can make a potential buyer think that your home has been neglected. Start out by pressure washing to make walkways and driveways look new. Paint gutters and downspouts and make sure that they are firmly adhered to your home. Conceal eyesores like large electrical boxes that are connected to your home by painting them to match the exterior of your home. Update your address numbers and mailbox. Also, even if you don’t have a lot of green space (or the budget to invest in professional landscaping) make sure that grass is freshly mowed and consider a small container garden to highlight natural elements and add a pop of color.

Finally, Be Mindful of Scent
There is a reason that there are always fresh baked cookies or brownies at an open house – because they smell delicious! It’s really difficult to determine what your own home smells like, especially while you’re still living there. Your best bet is to make sure that your home is freshly cleaned and that you’ve allowed plenty of fresh air in before potential buyers visit. If you have pets though consider replacing any carpet (remember neutral colors) that may be trapping pet smells as well as allergens that could affect home buyers visiting your home. Also, be cautious about overdoing it with scented candles or air fresheners, as the strong smell can be overpowering for your visitors.

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