I’ve been working on the idea of selling my apartment for years. And starting early might be a good idea for you as well. First reason is I’ve been spreading the updates over time so it’s not hitting my bottom line all at once. And if you’ve never done this before it takes a lot of work to get your place ready to sell.
But according to the National Association of Realtor, for every $100 invested in staging the potential return is $400. And did you know that a staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home? And staged homes sell faster!
Declutter, declutter, declutter.
I’ve forced my son to take all his yearbooks and memorabilia with him. And I mean forced. I still have all my daughter’s stuff, literally stuffed into different places. I’ve managed once or twice to get her to spend a few minutes getting rid of things she doesn’t want or use. I look at everything and ask, “would I move this if I were moving today?” and if the answer is no out it goes. I’ve also been boxing it up and labeling it making it easy to find things and if it goes into storage at some point it’s all ready to go.
Paint and decorate with neutral colors.
It would cost me thousands to paint my whole apartment. I’m slowly painting things room by room. And I’m painting things neutrals. I have a gold color wall in the dining room that is going to get painted a neutral color next. People can rarely imagine a space and its possibilities when they are distracted by an offending color. Sometimes just painting the baseboards can transform the overall clean look to a room.
Hire an interior designer for a couple of hours.
I’ve hired a designer a couple of times to help with paint decisions and closing off a room. It was well worth the hourly fee to hire an expert. As I get closer to wanting to sell I will hire one to help with finishing touches on staging.
Ask a broker for tips early on.
I am fortunate to live in the same building with a broker and I was able to convince him to come look at my apartment and tell me what I needed to do.
Keep extra bedrooms as bedrooms.
One of the questions I asked the broker about was turning my daughter’s old bedroom into an office. The answer was no. The apartment is more sellable as a three bedroom versus trying to convince a potential buyer the office could be a small bedroom.
Take the time to organize closets.
First thing a prospective buyer will look at is the size of the closets so taking the time to organize and make your stuff look less cluttered will be time well spent. I bought black bins and other storage boxes and wished I’d done it years ago. It definitely made the closets look better and more put together. The best part is my daughter puts everything back in the box.
Get rid of papers and go digital.
- This is a big undertaking but again worth the time.
- Medical papers and records need only be kept for six years.
- Financial records only have to be kept for three years past the date you filed your income tax return. Bank statements for one year.
- Regular statements and pay check stubs need only be kept a year.
- Utility bill only need to be kept for a month.
- Credit card statements need to be kept for a month.
You can digitalize all your papers using an app like Scannable, OfficeLens or a service like Shoeboxed. And if you want to get rid of stacks of business cards there is an app for that as well, like Camcard.
And if you’re like me, you’ll feel so good once you get rid of some of the clutter or at the mere sight of a well-organized closet.
Any other tips for staging a home? Please add them in the comments below.