7 New Jersey Home Staging Tips

21903424_361290f88fWhen you are preparing your house to sell, follow these 7 Simple Steps:
1) Clean it thoroughly or better yet, have it professionally cleaned. A clean home, just like a clean hotel room, is critical to impressing buyers! Don’t forget to clean carpeting and floors as well as around faucets and tile grout and around all light fixtures and window sills.
2) De-clutter your home of all knick-knacks, papers, toiletries, small items on floors — including shoes, baskets, dog beds, dog toys, fish tanks, excess items on countertops.
3) Remove excess furniture and/or re-arrange furniture to highlight the best features of your home (large windows and fireplaces, for one). Especially be sure not to block those selling features with furniture, treadmills, large lamps, etc.
4) Remove fussy, frilly, dark, floral drapes and valances or any other heavy window treatments. The only fabric window treatments that are in vogue these days when selling are simple to-the-floor lightweight panel drapes pushed to the sides of windows to let in as much light as possible.
5) De-personalize both your decor and your paint colors. Stagers know what colors are currently popular and neutral enough for buyers AND which ones will work best with your home’s finishes (floors, cabinetry, countertops, tile, and all the non-movable items). Eliminate themed decor, such as western, country, beach, tropical, southwest, etc.
6) Update light fixtures, hardware, bathroom fixtures, appliances where needed (stainless steel is still very popular in kitchens, and brushed nickel or chrome are still the leaders in bathroom faucets). If your competitors’ houses all have granite or marble countertops instead of formica or Corian, then yours should too!
7) Last but actually FIRST to buyers who drive by your home is to spruce up the curb appeal! Paint or clean the front door and trim as needed. Adding a new large door mat, new house numbers, mailbox and large pot(s) of either evergreens in winter in New Jersey or flowering annuals in the summer will attract buyers’ eyes and make a great first impression!

Landscaping For Maximum Curb Appeal

Now that spring has FINALLY (!!) arrived in North Jersey, this is the perfect time to spruce up your front, side, and backyards — including patios and decks — to improve curb appeal and maximize your selling price. A beautifully landscaped yard goes a long way towards creating outdoor ambience and a lifestyle that buyers want. The easiest and cheapest way to upgrade the look of your front entrance is with LARGE potted plants, using annuals for color that will last all summer. If the front steps or landing are small, one pot or large hanging plant will work fine. For added punch, use flowers that match a colorful front door — like purple pansies or red petunias or geraniums. Don’t forget to consider the amount of sun that the plants will need, since many front entryways tend to be shady. A good option besides impatiens or begonias are New Guinea impatiens or red ferns.
If you have a front light post or a “lemonade” front porch, dress them up by hanging one or two flowering plants (don’t overdo it).
An inexpensive and easy way to improve the look of any yard and make it look professionally landscaped is to mulch all flower beds and foundation areas, preferably with dark brown or black shredded mulch.
Dress up a patio or deck with an outdoor table and chairs or at least a bench and a potted palm or plant to show buyers your home’s entertainment potential. Add colorful cushions to make any outdoor area look more summery and inviting. Stow all tools, hoses, and toys out of sight. If you have a grill, make sure it is uncovered and looks clean, ready for grilling.

Curb Appeal More Important in Buyers’ Market

With the 27.2% drop-off in home sales in July and an increase in inventory supply from 7.6 months in June to over 9 months in July, it has become even more critical for sellers to attract buyers through curb appeal. As we head into Fall, keep the lawn mowed, the leaves picked up, the shrubs trimmed — especially if they are blocking any windows — and make sure your house has been power-washed if it needs it. The walkways, steps, and front door should all be in excellent condition, with a fresh coat of paint if needed. A good safe color for the front door is a couple of shades darker than the shutters, or black or dark gray, or a medium-to-dark wood stain. (Works on fiberglass doors, too!)
Even little touches like a new welcome mat that says “Welcome,” new house numbers and mailbox, if your old ones are out-of-date or rusty, can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on buyers. Make sure your outside lights are all in good working order for any night-time appointments, and to make a great impression on potential buyers who spot your home’s For Sale sign at night, which starts to come earlier and earlier in the Fall.
A couple of pumpkins (if they’re real, make sure you replace as they start to rot!) or large pots of mums on the front steps will go a long way towards making your home look welcoming.

Different areas of a house need to shine in the summer!

Now that warm weather is here, it’s time to emphasize all the outdoor recreation and relaxation areas of any home on the market . . . whether it’s a 7 bedroom mansion on several acres with a large in-ground pool and tennis courts, or a 1-bedroom apartment with a balcony or patio. Curb appeal becomes even more important — now’s the time to add large urns of flowering plants to front steps, porches, and all patios. Spruce up the landscaping with dark brown or black mulch (the “in” colors), flowering annuals along walkways or around lampposts and curbside mailboxes, and prune the bushes everywhere, but especially in the front of the house and alongside the foundation. If there are any “empty pockets” of missing plants, be sure to fill them in with ones that match the neighboring plants. Look to create solid “masses” of no more than two colors with annuals in the foreground of foundation plantings.
Make sure you replace any worn, broken patio furniture with new furniture that fits the style of your house — but make sure it’s on-trend in the newest colors. For instance, a Victorian house looks best with wicker furniture, but the dark resin “wicker-look” is the most popular right now. A cabin or barn-type house looks great decked out with Adirondack chairs in painted colors that match the trim on the house. Sling-back chairs with bronze or dark frames or tightly-woven rattan outdoor furniture look great with traditional colonials, ranches, or contemporary homes.
If your home has a patio with nothing on it, stage it so buyers know what it can be used for and can see how much the space adds to the entertainment value of your home. You could add not only a table, chairs, and umbrella, but a firepit, couch and coffeetable, and potted trees or plants in the patio corners. For a small balcony or patio, stage the space with a bistro table and chairs so buyers can picture themselves having a drink or coffee in this outdoor “room.”
Be sure all your outdoor lights work for buyers who might drive by at night or even visit at night — you want your home to look brightly-lit to show warmth and its features. This would be a good time to invest in some uplights at the base of focal-point trees in both the front yard and back. And if you have a worn or broken fence, get it stained, painted, and fixed! Make sure the grass is cut, and if you have a pool, keep it dive-in ready so it looks like it’s not a maintenance chore!