Summer is, traditionally, a big time for home sales. Buyers and sellers alike are usually eager to take advantage of the good weather when they’re trying to coordinate a move.
However, selling your home in the summer also means you’re in competition (of sorts) with other would-be sellers. Given that the rising interest rates have made buyers slightly more cautious about their approach, it’s wise to do everything you can to make your home stand out and seem inviting.
This is where good home staging comes into play. Staging a home helps showcase its best attributes – and it helps potential buyers see themselves living in that space.
Start with Enhanced Curb Appeal
The first thing a potential buyer sees is the outside of your home, so pay careful attention to the overall vibe you’re giving off with your yard and exterior decor. Even if the inside of your home is immaculate, an unkempt yard can subconsciously make buyers wonder if you’ve been lax about basic maintenance and repairs – and that’s not the tone you want to set.
Decorative items should be neutral-toned or match the trim of your house, and largely functional. Think “hanging baskets,” and not that quirky piece of metal art you found at an art fair. (You want to showcase your home, not your personality or preferences.)
If the yard has gotten away from you, consider hiring a service to trim the hedges, prune the trees and edge the sidewalks. Tear out overgrown gardens and add some mulch to create a sense of serenity and order.
Planters full of colorful annuals make a porch look welcoming, and a few inexpensive flats of flowers can brighten up an otherwise drab yard, with little effort or cost. Other tips include:
- Putting up new house numbers
- Pressure-washing the exterior siding
- Replacing the house numbers with new ones
- Resurfacing the blacktop on your driveway
- Repaint any hand railings that have gotten weathered
- Make sure the sidewalk is free of weeds between the cracks
- Give your front porch or steps a good sweep before every showing
Just make sure that everything is neat, clean and postcard-perfect. If you aren’t sure how your house looks, try actually taking a photo from the street and see what sticks out.
Eliminate Any Insects That Are Hanging Around
There is one thing that most people hate about the summer: The bugs. If you want buyers to take their time and really explore your home (which increases the chances that they’ll fall in love with the property and make an offer), you need to manage this issue.
Serious potential buyers will be walking around your yard, climbing up into the attic and touring the basement – all places where creepy, crawly things tend to locate. Before you list the property, it may be worth having your yard and home professionally sprayed for ants, spiders, mosquitos and other pests. (This can also help you avoid any unpleasant surprises, like a wasp’s nest in the attic.)
You should also repair any torn window screens, replace loose caulk around the windows and eliminate any other access points for bugs. That will minimize the likelihood that your buyers will associate your home with insect infestations.
Pay Attention to the Lighting and Temperature
No potential buyer wants to stumble around a dimly lit home, and a lack of light may cause them to wonder what you’re trying to hide. Sunlight is plentiful at this time of the year, and you need to capitalize on your home’s natural lighting wherever you can.
Trim back any hedges or trees that block the light from your living room windows, put up lightweight window treatments and draw them back when you’re having a showing. Make sure that any rooms that tend to be dark anyhow have plenty of artificial lighting installed.
You also need to think about the temperature of your home at this time of the year. Buyers won’t stick around long if the house is hot and stuffy. If it’s cool and breezy outside, opening the windows can be enough – but make sure that your A/C is running when the temperatures are soaring.
Showcase Your Outdoor Spaces
In the winter, buyers may only give your backyard a cursory glance, but summer automatically draws people outdoors, so expect your outdoor living spaces to receive extra scrutiny at this time of the year.
Make sure that your back deck is spotless and freshly painted or stained, or your patio stones are in good repair. Additional staging with a table and chairs and a few decorative accent pieces can help your potential buyers envision themselves having family meals on the deck or parties under hanging fairy lights – and that can be very enticing.
A little extra effort on your part for proper summer staging can translate into a faster sale and a better price – so go ahead and put out a glass pitcher of ice water and some cups alongside a tray of cookies and note inviting guests to help themselves, but pour most of your attention into the bigger details. When those offers come rolling in, you’ll be glad you did!
For extra resources when you’re trying to figure out how to best stage your home, never be afraid to rely on your real estate professional’s experienced guidance.