Tips for Maximizing Sale Price (or Simply Tarting Up)

If you close your eyes and imagine walking through a model home, you’re probably envisioning a whistle clean, attractively furnished and thoughtfully accessorized house. Now look around your own home. Hopefully, it is pleasantly tidy yet thoroughly loved and lived in. Perhaps it is packed to the gills and could use some Ajax. Whatever the condition, there is likely room for improvement! Every homeowner wants to impress buyers, garner the best offers and reap top dollar from their sale but most don’t necessarily want to hire an expensive staging company, rent furniture and evacuate their belongings. You can achieve much of that staged and perfect look, while still living comfortably “on set.” Here are a few tips that anyone can employ.

DE-CLUTTER

Unless you are a pro at spartan living this is one of the most important steps. Besides creating the illusion of more square footage, “clearing the decks” (including the closets, pantry & garage) creates more highly desirable storage space. If your stuff is piled up in corners or spilling out of closet doors it signals to the buyer that there is not ample storage in the home.

I highly suggest employing the KonMari method. Spend an evening binge-watching Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix and get to it! Summarily, her method spells out the following:

Organize your belongings by category – 1.) Clothes 2.) Books* 3.) Papers 4.) Komono (miscellaneous stuff) 5.) Sentimental**

Remove all items that don’t “Spark Joy.” First, remember to thank them for their service, literally say, “Goodbye,” and donate them (or trash).

Quick KonMari guide here- https://www.livible.com/blog/ultimate-konmari-guide/

*I don’t necessarily agree with the mass purging of “Books” and I personally horde many in the attic a.) because I love them and b.) they’re great on bookshelves (!) and table-top vignettes.

**“Sentimental” may overwhelm you if you’re already in an emotional state about selling a home, so perhaps save this step and store these items until after the move.

REMOVE

Consider storing all religious relics, personal photographs, kid’s artwork and bric a brac. People want to picture themselves in your home and your stuff is a distraction (in addition to making your home seem smaller). Once you have reduced the overall volume of items, your home will appear more airy and more spacious. The focus will return to the great flow and away from the personal possessions inside the home.

CLEAN

Now for the most obvious piece of advice – clean clean clean!!! Spend a weekend deep cleaning (or better yet hire professional cleaners to do it in a matter of hours) and clean every square inch of your home, including the windows, the garage, and the inside of the cabinets (people will open them).

PAINT

Re-paint your home if necessary. There’s more mass appeal in a pleasant neutral color throughout then a specific room by room color scheme.

Check out these winners!

Benjamin Moore- Balboa Mist, Gray Wisp, Revere Pewter

Behr- Vintage Linen, Perfect Taupe, Seagull Grey, Shoreline

Sherwin Williams- Eider White, Agreeable Grey & Alabaster

Always paint a swatch on your walls!  The internet photo, paint chip and wall sample often look vastly different in your space’s unique light.

FIX-IT!

DIY or HIRE- oil the door and window hinges, fix loose handles and knobs, re-grout the tub, remove that dated wallpaper border, consider replacing old fashioned looking light fixtures or extremely old faucets.

FLOORING

Consider replacing extremely worn carpeting. Often buyers prefer to choose their own new flooring, so you can potentially save here by starting with a deep clean and seeing if that doesn’t alleviate the eyesore.

ENTRY

Welcome to your house! Make sure all the plants are alive and thriving, cut the grass, pull the weeds! Shine (and repaint if necessary) the front door then crown it with a wreath! Place a fragrant bouquet in the entryway to set a lovely tone.

Pamela Day Designs - Interior Designer - Foyer

STYLE IT!

Well placed accessories can work magic. A few smartly arranged vignettes might help sell your home!

LET THERE BE LIGHT!

Lighting is inviting! Darkened rooms not so much.

DON’T FORGET!

BAD SMELLS- Do your absolute best to reduce odors. Our strongest sense tied to memory is smell, so make sure when people walk through the door they are not assaulted by the unpleasant odor of pets, smoking or cooking. Never cook curry, garlic or onions the night before showing your home. Think about taking Fido out for a walk during showings.

GOOD SMELLS– Realtors are always enticing buyers with warmly baked cookies fresh from the oven because it conjures a nostalgia for home. Some other universally good smells include lime, cinnamon, orange, peppermint, and of course- nothing!

FLOWERS– Add them! Super easy and so important. Don’t go crazy arrangement-wise, but don’t be shy with placement!

FENG SHUI– Put away the knife block (it’s bad Feng Shui) and hide the Kleenex box (because no one wants to see it).

CLEAN AGAIN!- Keep it up through the whole process.

These few ideas alone can magically transform a home for a quick and profitable sale.

Need more help? Hire an interior “re”designer by the hour. We can make suggestions for furniture placement to maximize flow and impact, and help you create a cohesive design statement using only your existing furniture and accessories. Table top vignettes are my specialty!

Practical Feng Shui

Did you know we spend about 90% of our time indoors?  Thus, it is critical to our health and happiness that we live in interiors that make us feel good!  Feng Shui is not just about Eastern superstitions or well-placed totems, but rather making your home flow and feel comfortable. Here are a Four Basic Feng Shui Principles & some Quick Tips (in no particular order) for creating an optimal home environment that we can all understand and apply immediately.

Feng Shui Principle #1 – Incorporate Plants  Humans relax and feel nurtured when surrounded by images & materials from nature.  In this man-made world we inhabit we still long for the natural world.  The solution is to incorporate plants.  Hearty houseplants are great, but even good silk plants have come a long way.  My personal favorite solution is bringing in fresh flowers.  They need not cost a fortune; I generally pick up a few stems at Trader Joe’s as part of my weekly grocery haul and place them in a small vase next to my bed, on the kitchen table, the island, and in the entryway to instantly spruce up the home.

  • Healthy plants and flowers uplift spirits, and specific plants will even help purify the air, e.g. bamboo, snake plants, spider plants, Gerber daisies and orchids.  Incorporating natural images in art & accessories also helps to lower the antenna.

 

  • Feng Shui Principle #2- Watch your back!  With our back protected we feel an increased sense of security and relaxation. Imagine entering a restaurant in front of your friend and being led to the seating banquet.  Which seat do you choose- the booth side facing the action, or the individual seat facing the wall with your back to the crowded restaurant?  Most will choose the booth seat, this is known as the “command position,” and when you have your back “protected” you will generally want to stay longer than the other person who can’t necessarily discern why, but isn’t quite as comfortable.
    •  In your own home try to organize seating to maximize the number of people that have a view out and a protected back.  High back chairs work well.
    • Also try to avoid placing beds under windows and arrange them to face the door but not be in line with the door.  Solid headboards (wood and upholstered) feel best, and also work wonderfully to add a feeling of security.

 

  • Feng Shui Principle #3  Don’t point!  It’s rude in almost all cultures.  We put our guard up when things are pointed at us.
    • While I personally love crisp clean moldings, walls & trim, I do attempt to minimize sharp pointy objects by opting for furniture with rounded lines rather than sharp angles, circular tables (where it makes sense), framing windows with soft drapes, stowing the knife block away, and avoiding spiky plants (choose succulents that don’t have a lot of spikes) particularly in the front of your home.
    • Straight lines do not exist in nature, organic shapes are for more interesting and they add a sense of adventure.  If a new landscaping project is in your future remember to integrate meandering curves.

 

  • Feng Shui Principle #4 – Create a balance between extremes.  This is the basic Yin/Yang Theory.  Feng Shui helps to make things feel “Just Right.”  And create balance in one’s life and one’s space.
    • Whenever you use the word “too” to describe a space you need to do the opposite word to fix it.  For example, the living room is described “too dark,” “too dated,” “too cluttered,” and “too small,” so make it feel lighter, updated, organized, and bigger by adding windows, removing the brick around the fireplace, using white to bring in light, updating with more contemporary furnishings, etc.

Quick Feng Shui Tips for your Home

Wayfinding– Make sure your house number is visible!  You want people to arrive calm, happy, relaxed and feel cared for, not stressed out.  You cannot over-give directions.  If people can’t find your house emergency services won’t know where your house is either.  Make sure people can see where they’re going (if that’s the goal).

Full Spectrum Lighting Our bodies are engineered to respond to nature.  Our endocrine system utilizes sunlight to produce melatonin (sleep), serotonin (mood), and all of these hormones are hardwired to thrive in sunlight.  Under full spectrum light we get an accurate depiction of light and  color.  Full Spectrum comes in LED, energy efficient bulbs.  Important- Never put on make-up without a full spectrum light source!

Artwork Art should always portray something positive, as the subliminal message can be very powerful.  Artwork can be used as a visual affirmation for what a person wants to achieve in their life, thus images of pairs, are better than images of singles.  Artwork shouldn’t have too many sharp angles or points.  Art for walls should always fit the size of the wall on which it is to be placed (not too big or too small, scale-wise) and should be hung so that the center of the piece is at eye level for an average height adult (roughly 60” to center).

 

Kid-Free Zones- It has been said that couples don’t get along as well when the kid’s stuff takes over the house because symbolically complete power in the house has gone to the children.  One of the biggest mistakes is giving the main room of the house over to the children.  Kids can always bring the toys out and play with them, but they shouldn’t reside there.  Make it easy for your child to clean up with reachable storage.  Children need boundaries.

Healthy Home- Remember this simple fact- nothing smells better than nothing!  A home can’t have good Feng Shui if the house isn’t healthy.  Reduce artificial scents from air fresheners & candles.  Many of these plug-ins and candles contain toxic phthalates which are linked to cancers and reproductive issues.  When you breathe it goes into your lungs and your bloodstream = not healthy!

Hopefully, I’ve helped simplify Feng Shui.  It can be useful to all if you just consider the basic human responses we have to shelter and always remember “Ugly Bad, Pretty Good” because it takes just as much money to make an ugly home as it does to make a pretty one!

  • For a lot more information on the subject I refer you to, “Feng Shui That Makes Sense,” by Cathleen McCandless.  This book covers everything you’d ever want to know about Feng Shui including the Five Elements of Feng Shui – how to energize and balance rooms with introduction of color and specific elements (Water, Wood, Fire, Earth & Metal) as related to the location of the home.  Feng Shui can get really complicated but this book breaks it down nicely in terms we can all understand.

You’ll have a lovely home

Years ago on a yoga trip around India I had a palm reader point out a square on my hand.  He said it meant I would have a lovely home and travel extensively (he was sure he couldn’t be 100% wrong as I was a few miles from home already).  The “lovely home” part I locked away in my mind.  I had a great apartment and career already but it never quite felt like home. Years later- one new career , one new husband, and two gremlins, we bought the worst house on the best block and all but knocked it down and began anew.  We didn’t add a ton of space (just an additional 500 s.f.) but provided a desperately needed updated, created a good flow, added ample storage and imparted a serene vibe.  It’s not palatial, but it is perfect for us, and most importantly all of the inhabitants are happy.   Front of House 4
Before Front of HouseLong View Kitchen

Before Kitchen One

Fireplace Me and the kids