Cool air is moving into Salt Lake City and leaves are beginning to turn. I’m often asked how sellers can prepare their home for a fast sale. While there are general tips, such as de-cluttering, each season has it’s own set of suggestions as well.
Like pulling on a favorite autumn sweater, you can dress up your home comfortably for prospective buyers. Here are home staging tips for the fall to make your home’s exterior and interior warm and inviting.
Autumn Maintenance and Cleaning
Step across the street and take a long view of your house. Roof tiles that appear to be lifting or out of place send a warning message to prospects. Make sure your roof is not only structurally sound, but looks secure from the curb.
The front door is the gateway to a buyer’s new home. Make sure yours is hung straight, doesn’t squeak, and has solid, polished hardware. If the hardware is dated, replace it now. This little detail makes a great first impression.
Window screens can be removed in the autumn once the temperatures allow. Doing so will instantly brighten your windows and let buyers see more of their potential purchase from the curb (you’ll notice that model homes never have screens on their windows). At minimum, consider removing screens from street-facing windows. As you remove them, clean and dry the screens thoroughly, storing them neatly in the garage or basement. Replace dented or ripped screens, and polish windows thoroughly so they sparkle and shine.
Clean out rain gutters, and if you have a problem splash zone, attach a rain chain to quell splashes, should prospects visit on a rainy day.
Trim bushes and trees, cut back leggy plants, and keep the yard tidy. This is always good advice for dressing a house for sale, but is particularly important in autumn. Regularly rake up all leaves and pinch off any deadhead blossoms so your property doesn’t greet buyers with an advertisement of how much yard work has to be done each season!
Add plantings with bright seasonal color. A wide range of flowering plants in yellows, oranges, reds, and browns are typically available in the fall. Choose the shades of these colors that best complement the color scheme of your house. Not a color expert? Swing by the paint department of your local hardware store and pick up swatches of your home’s exterior colors. Most paint displays offer palettes of coordinating colors that will help guide you in choosing just the right shades for your new blossoms.
If adding color to all of your front beds sounds overwhelming, simply add seasonal potted plants and flowers near the front door.
Warm It Up
Speaking of paint, refresh the paint on the front of your house. You don’t have to paint the entire house exterior (unless it’s needed!). Simply touching up the accent work with a fresh coat can make a world of difference. Stick with your home’s established color palette, but imbue a sense of warmth by selecting hues in the warm end of the spectrum—for example, select a deep cornflower blue over a steely-grey blue. Remember to check any homeowner association rules prior to painting.
If a front window is visible from the curb, place electronic candles on handsome stands such that their flickering light shines through the glass. A candle in the window is a traditional sign of welcome, and even subliminally suggests the ideas of comfort, warmth, and home.
Place a bench or chair on your front porch or stoop, casually draped with a cozy throw blanket. This visually extends the concept of living area offered by the property.
Little Details Make a Big Difference
Refresh your curb-painted address using reflective paint and replace or freshen up any worn numbers on the house. While you’re at it, check to see if the mailbox could use a cleaning or paint. Even metal boxes can be updated with a quick coat of high-quality spray paint. Rust-Oleum or Krylon’s Rust Protector line can work wonders!
Your draperies may match your interior, but how do they look against your house and yard colors when viewed from the street? Hang window treatments that coordinate with the exterior colors for a pulled-together look from the curb.
Smells of the Season
Add the subtle smell of autumn to your home using an essential oil warmer with cinnamon, spice, or vanilla. Emphasis on subtle, many people are adverse to strong scents, especially the artificial ones found in many air fresheners. Another option is to simmer water with a tad of spice and vanilla on the stove before leaving. The ultimate option is baking cookies, muffins, or rolls each morning. I can’t find a downside to that one! Yum.
Clean and Decorate the Fireplace
Fall is the season when people begin to appreciate a warm fireplace. However, if yours is filled with old logs and dust, it could be a turnoff. Clean it out and consider adding an arrangement of candles in the opening.
Add Seasonal Accents
Add autumn colored pillows, throws, and other seasonal accessories in sets of three or five to add the warm glow of fall to rooms. Resist the urge to overdo it though, keep accents simple and tasteful.
Use these tips to make your property a cozy autumnal sanctuary so prospects can’t help but “fall” in love with your house!
Autumn is fleeting and soon snow and ice will replace the red and gold leaves. In fact, the Cottonwoods have already had a light dusting. Prepare now by reading my Five Tips for Selling a Home in Winter. For general staging tips, read Home Staging on a Budget.
If you have questions about selling your home or the best ways to make it look inviting to buyers, give me a call. I’m happy to help!