If you’re giving thought to listing your New York apartment, the good news is that it’s a great time to sell. Chances are, though, you’ll probably have to spend a little time and cash sprucing up your home if you haven’t already.

Prepping your property for showings is at the top of the list when it comes to selling quickly and getting an offer close to asking price. Note these suggestions when getting your apartment ready to sell.

When selling your home, it’s important to remember that you’re selling a lifestyle, but not necessarily your own one.

Home staging is all about presenting potential buyers with a glimpse of what life could be like on a property. It goes beyond simple cleaning and decorating and seeks to trigger emotion in a home buyer that makes them want to buy it instantly.

Staging is by no means a new concept but with the present market, it has gained greater popularity in recent years.

Exact statistics for the difference home staging makes are hard to come by but thankfully a new survey for 2017 has recently come in. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) caused a wave among home stagers when they first released their report in 2015. While not much has changed, the value of home staging is still pretty clear.

Some of their main findings were:

  • 39% of seller’s agents said that staging a home greatly decreases the time it is on the market.
  • When staging, 29% of seller’s agents reported an increase of 1-5%, compared to other homes on the market, while 21% reported an increase of 6-10%.
  • 49% of buyer’s agents report that home staging had an effect on most buyer’s view of the home.

If you’re in a hurry to sell or looking for ways to increase your home’s value then a small investment in home staging could be just what your property needs to find a buyer.

The Mindset for Home Staging

Many people make the mistake of thinking that home staging is little more than decorating each room to make it look as appealing as possible. Your own aesthetic taste though may be very different from most buyer’s.

You want to make your home appeal to a broader audience of people as possible which means knowing what the buyer’s market is looking for. Usually, this means a modern look but that can change depending on your location. This is when hiring a professional home stager can really pay off as they know the buyer’s market and how to make your homes appeal to the highest percentage of buyers.

If you’re unsure then go for a minimalist approach. Each room should be staged to emphasize how it can be used and what the design possibilities are. The key is to entice a buyer’s imagination and make them feel like this could be their home.

How to Stage your Home

You can do small scale home staging or large scale. Hiring a professional home stager would be best but if you’re on a tight budget there are a few key areas you can focus on that will make the biggest difference in selling price and appeal.

The NAR survey on home staging reported that, for buyer’s, the most important room to stage was the living room (55%), followed by the master bedroom (51%) and the kitchen (41%). Even if you’re limited by time and budget you should try to stage as many rooms as you can by using these techniques.

1. Perform a Deep clean

If you can’t afford any new appliances then make sure the ones you have are spotlessly clean. Go through the entire room and try to make everything look as new as possible. Your bathroom sink should shine and your kitchen should be grease free. If you have a carpet it may be worth having a professional deep clean done.

Keeping your apartment clean is a given (and it should be sparkling clean), but what about getting rid of the clutter?

Depending on how you live, finding a place for your tchotchkes and those items with sentimental value could take some time. You might need to rent a storage unit outside your apartment. Tossing everything in your closets (or oven) for a clean, orderly space isn’t the answer, either, which brings me to the next point.

2. Eliminate the dog or cat smell.

Living in a pet-friendly building is often considered an amenity to dog and cat owners, but you don’t want to smell a dog or cat when you enter your home. Be sure to keep the litter box extra tidy, and bathe your dog if he needs it. Use air fresheners, candles, and home fragrances to keep your nest smelling fresh for any lookers or buyers.

2. Remove all clutter

Too much clutter distracts buyers from a room and makes it look smaller then it is. Get rid of everything that doesn’t serve a purpose or add to the aesthetics. All this clutter should be stored well away so there’s no chance of a buyer coming across it in a wardrobe.

3. Organize your closets

Potential buyers will open your closets, and if they’re packed to the gills, your apartment will give the impression that it’s not large enough. As tough as it sounds, try to part with unnecessary trinkets and seasonal items. Keep those knick-knacks and accessories that you must, and send the rest to storage. Every single item should have its place in your closets, and those necessities that don’t fit should find a home elsewhere.

4. Depersonalize

The whole point of home staging is to allow buyers to envision themselves living in your home. It’s a bit hard to do that if you’ve got family photos hanging everywhere or a distinctive style. Remove all personal items and if you have a distinctive style or theme then scale it back a bit. They key is to neutralize each room and emphasize its functionality. The final look should be organized, simple and welcoming.

5. Lighting

Make as much use of natural lighting as you can. Curtin’s and blinds should be left open and supplemental light added where needed. Try to organize the layout of each room in-line with the lighting so the best features are shown off.

6. Look at your floors

Floors are crucial in the sale of any home. Most likely, you have hardwoods or parquet floors in a New York City apartment. Be sure that the wood is in good shape. If you have holes, cracks, or uneven spots, call in a specialist and consider filling and possibly refinishing depending on what the expert recommends. If redoing the floors isn’t possible, consider purchasing area rugs to cover the worst spots.

7. Touch up the paint

A fresh coat of paint can do wonders. Touch up walls, baseboards, doors, trim, and ceilings, as needed. If you choose the bargain route and do it yourself, be careful not to drip paint on the floors in the process.

If you have any dark or bold colors, you might consider painting a lighter neutral in its place before you list your apartment on the market. Lighter colors will not only give the illusion of a lighter space but can make the rooms feel larger.

8. Furniture

If it’s been a while since you last redid your furniture you may need to update it with the latest tastes for a modern feel. You don’t need to throw out a lot of cash to switch your existing furniture, you might even be able to rent it, but it should look new and inviting.

9. Fresh flowers

Flowers breathe life into the dullest interiors. Add flowers to your living room, dining room, and perhaps a little greenery in the bedroom, as well. Rather than choosing large arrangements, select small vases and group together with the same flowers or similarly colored buds. Try and color coordinate flowers with your room if you can, and if the color isn’t your forte, creamy white works with most anything.

10. Finishing Touches

Lastly, before you open doors for the first showing, leave a few finishing touches around to make your home feel more welcoming. A bowl of fresh fruit, a pleasant scent, fresh flowers and nicely folded new towels in the bathroom.

How Much Does Home Staging Cost?

Prices vary depending on your location, property size and local demand for staging experts. Unless you’re putting a multi-million dollar property up for sale there’s little need to go crazy with home staging. You want to emphasize the homes best features while appealing to the largest range of buyers. The more people you can entice, the higher the selling price will be.

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