Tips to make your home more attractive to buyers

Recently I posted a link on my facebook page about bad real estate photos, it was an absolute riot!

Most of these were based out of the UK but there were some seriously hysterical photos taken from behind bushes or blurred like someone was hanging out of a car window doing a drive by photo!

I have recently downloaded the Realtor.ca app to my iPad and have begun researching properties as I hope and dream of a future without snow. Seeing so many property photos, a few things have stood out to me as pretty obvious staging blunders. As I look at these photos with a designer’s eye I can’t help but wonder what the realtor or homeowner was thinking when they took certain shots.

Clutter is the most common thing I notice; whether it is on a ledge by the bathroom or the hurricane of papers and magnets on a fridge – these are the things which can keep a prospective buyer from imagining your space as their own.

When you have something in the home that is not moving with you (like the fridge) it is a good idea to make it as blank and non-personal as possible allowing the new buyer to envision their personal touch.

Clutter in general is a big taboo for photos; a kitchen countertop with remotes, Kleenex boxes and cell phones strewn about looks like a disorderly kitchen no matter how much counter space you may have. People look at kitchens and bathrooms first; these are the rooms which sell the home.

If a room is a bedroom, try to stage it as a bedroom. Many people have a hard time visualizing if a room is big enough for a bed if you have stacks of boxes, your vacuum, laundry baskets and dog toys thrown in this room (yes, I have seen this picture).

Borrow a bed from a friend and ‘make up’ the room for its intended purpose. If a dining space has a table and chairs in it instead of a second TV and a gaming system, it will appeal to a buyer as a dining room and make your home more appealing to people who want to have dinner parties instead of video game pizza nights.

Put your laundry away! Make your bed! Don’t have shoes around the front door and if something can go INTO a cupboard….put it in!

Try to create want in a potential buyer; if a man sees a shiny new quad parked in the garage that room has just become the ultimate man cave and the house is SOLD! Of course, his lovely wife knows that she will park her SUV in there and that he will let her because he loves her and doesn’t want her to have to get into a cold vehicle.

If you can avoid drastic paint colours, it is a good idea. Most people loathe the thought of painting; even one simple feature wall can send them off to buy the next house that needs no painting. Stick with soft neutral tones, it is a good investment of a few hundred dollars to repaint that Roughrider green den you thought was such a good idea. This gives potential buyers freedom to put their own brand of décor on the house.

Kim Meckler is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.

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