Currently there are 88 homes listed for sale on Mercer Island. That's a lot of competitors if you are trying to sell your home!
The numbers alone are intimidating, but what do you do if your house is less than brand new and is being shown while you are still living in it? What if you have a small home with awkward spaces and tight corners?
Shoppers have plenty to choose from so you should take action to make your home as appealing as possible while your realtor is showing it.
"Nothing turns a buyer off more than entering a house that is full of clutter," said Ewing & Clark Real Estate Broker Ken Urman. "When a buyer can't clearly see the spaces and can't imagine how it would look with the furnishing they will walk away."
Realtor Scott Nichols advises, "Taking the time to draw attention to positive focal points and enhance them is well worth the effort when prepping your home for viewing by potential buyers.”
Here are some helpful tips:
- Use mirrors to fool the eye and bring light into the room. This is especially effective if you have a tiny foyer. Remember the foyer is the first thing your viewers will see as they step inside and you want to make the best possible impression. A mirror that reflects the outdoors as you walk in makes the space seem bright and fresh.
- If you have one very small bedroom among the rooms in your house, don’t try to cram bedroom furniture into it. Stage it as an office or an exercise room instead. The psychological appeal of that goes way farther than just the visual.
- Lighting is everything. A harsh overhead bulb might call attention the smallness of a space, whereas a strategically placed lamp with a low-wattage bulb changes the space from small to “cozy”. And don’t forget about natural light. Tilt the blinds open or push the curtains back neatly— even if the view isn’t optimal.
- Replace closed cabinetry with open shelving. It’s important to then organize items on the shelves nicely, adding baskets and photos. Removing the boxed-in feeling of cabinetry can work wonders, especially in a small kitchen or bath.
- Less is more in small bedrooms. Consider moving your chest of drawers into your closet to open up some bedroom space. If possible, set your mirrored dresser opposite of your bed and center the mirror with your bed. This creates a visual trick that will make the room seem larger.
- You can enhance that visual trick by painting the wall behind your bed with a vivid color. If the other walls are a more neutral color, your eye is drawn to the accent wall, making the room seem larger. Voilà!
- Symmetry and balance work wonders on a small space. Pairing two chairs with a single ottoman in between them might make a small area seem more spacious than stuffing the room with an bulky sofa.
- Strive to find the center of a space and build around it. In the aforementioned example, if that pair of chairs was facing a fireplace, which would most likely be in the center of the room, then you have built around the room’s focal point. This creates a room that light and energy can move through both physically and visually.
- Make an effort to hide cables and cords. This sounds like a minor thing but in a small room with computers or televisions, the visual clutter of black cords is distracting and draws your attention away from the fact that a small room can make an efficient work space or a cozy family area.
- Here’s the most important tip of all: reduce clutter. The less stuff you have in your space, the larger the space will feel. It’s worth the effort to spend some time and money on this project by purging the space of stuff you don’t need and organizing and neatly storing the stuff you do need. Renting a storage space to make this sorting process happen might be worth the expense if it helps your home sell more quickly.
“Small space staging packs a big punch!” says Stacey Simpson, a property investor and home seller. “Even in an empty home, a strategically placed potted plant, countertop accessories, or art can create focus and spark the imagination of the buyer of what the space could potentially be.”
Depending on the current state of your home, your creative ability and your available time, you might find that hiring a professional is well worth the money. Most professionals can breeze through your home, tweaking and rearranging quickly and efficiently. If you have a budget, just let them know and they will accommodate.
“Painting a picture in the mind of the buyer of a pleasant nook or cozy space stays in their memory as they make the rounds of available homes,” Scott Nichols said. “I highly recommend employing this technique or hiring a professional to do it for you.”
Along with Ken Urman of Ewing & Clark, Mercer Island offers real estate sales professionals at Coldwell Banker Bain, Windermere Mercer Island, John L. Scott and RE/MAX, among others. Mercer Island is also home to several high-qulity home interior design professionals, including Six Walls and C. Michele.