Realtors know that an empty house will take longer to sell than a furnished one and often will command a higher price. Therefore, if you have an unoccupied dwelling to sell, it makes sense to spend some time and attention on dressing it for the benefit of potential buyers when they come for a viewing.
It’s tempting not to bother. After all, it will take work and thought to achieve; but if you want to get the best possible price without waiting a long time, making an effort to dress the house will reap considerable rewards.
The emotional response to house buying
Buying a home may be the biggest investment anyone makes in their life. Still, the final decision about choosing can rely more on subjective feelings than hard-headed practicalities.
A house that sounds perfect on paper will not sell unless the buyer feels warmth towards it, that feeling of being able to make a home and be happy somewhere, which is at the root of the buying decision. On the other hand, a place that doesn’t quite tick all the boxes in practical terms may win someone over simply because of its charm and the prospective buyer getting a good feeling from the house. One thing that can influence people’s opinions when viewing a house is being able to picture themselves living there, which is far easier to achieve if there is furniture present.
How dressing can make a difference
People can judge how their own belongings would fit in and how they could arrange it if they can see an existing layout. It might seem counter-intuitive because it would make more sense for this to be easier to achieve if you were looking at a blank canvas, but the evidence proves that isn’t the case.
Part of it is to do with space perception because empty rooms always look smaller than furnished ones. If you’ve never been to a building site, it’s well worth looking at the foundations being laid. The footprint will look far too small for the rooms it is designed to accommodate, yet when the house is complete, walls are taking up even more space than the bare footprint, yet the true spaciousness of the rooms is then apparent. Another reason why dressing makes a difference is that when people view a house, they want to imagine themselves living there, and seeing how beautiful rooms can look helps them imagine how it would feel to live there.
You need to dress the house in a style that enhances the space and is complementary to the age and design of the building. It’s best to avoid anything too personal and keep everything fairly neutral. You want potential buyers to be impressed with the décor, not overwhelmed by it. Very unusual or loud decors can put many people off even when the house itself would be ideal because they are unable to see beyond the striking finishes.
There will always be the odd buyer who may love your wild and wacky designs, but they aren’t going to be in the majority, so unless you are prepared to wait for the one person who loves your style, you’re better off keeping everything fairly plain and understated. Of course, you can always inject a bit of color here and there with some bold cushions or a prominent piece of art, but you will attract more buyers by restricting your design inclinations to appeal to the moderate masses. It can be a good investment to have some high-quality pieces of furniture. If buyers think a home appears aspirational, they will be more impressed and thus more likely to consider buying.
Not too little, not too much
There’s no point putting a random couch in one room and a bare bed frame in another. This won’t enhance the space; it will only give the impression that it’s been stripped out and a few unwanted items are left behind. If you’re going to do it, do it properly and put the appropriate furniture in each room to show what the new owner could use the space for.
Put a double bed in a larger bedroom and a single bed in a smaller room. However, it’s key that you don’t put a king-size bed in an average-sized room because the large bed will make the room look smaller. Overall, it’s better to go for smaller furniture that makes rooms look bigger. If you get the right pieces, you can achieve the perfect balance between the furniture and the room to optimize the impression of space. If you have a bedroom, include bedside cabinets so buyers can see that everything will fit in ok, and in the living area, use a three-piece suite but use two-seater couches rather than three-seaters, again to make the room look bigger.
Little things that make a big difference
If the house isn’t being lived in, you still need to have it cleaned regularly so that cobwebs and dead insects don’t build up. Fresh flowers may look lovely on open house day, but subsequent viewings won’t be very successful if the house smells of dead foliage, so take out any organic items like flowers and bowls of fruit when you leave.
Keep the house smelling fresh with diffusers, which provide a gentle, long-lasting fragrance, and give kitchens and bathrooms a freshen up every so often to keep them sparkling.
Don’t let mail build up – have it redirected, and if you aren’t able to check frequently, ask a friendly neighbor to keep an eye out for anything left on the doorstep. Finally, keep the grass mown and the driveway clean, so the house doesn’t start to look neglected, and anyone driving by can see the place is well-maintained.
Some planning and a bit of effort will ensure your house looks its best and that it will appeal to as many buyers as possible. But, then, you could be shaking hands on a deal a lot more quickly than if you leave it to chance.
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