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How to style your home for an open house sale inspection

By Rikki Cook

To improve your chances of selling your home quickly, and for the price you want, it’s worth making a great first impression. Potential buyers may be looking at several properties in one day and if yours stands out, you’ll be the one getting the offer.

There’s plenty you can do to make sure your property looks its best, and it doesn’t take mass redecorating or a ton of new furniture.

1) Create a great entrance

When people think of property styling, they often focus on the interior. However, the first thing your visitors will see as they approach the property is your front garden, driveway and entrance area. Get your lawn in order, tidy the plants, or add some more if your existing ones aren’t looking so good. Hide anything unattractive, like rubbish bins or unused gardening equipment.

In the entrance area, remove excess shoes and umbrellas that not only make your home look crowded, but also provide something for your guests to trip or knock over. If your porch and hall look good, potential buyers have positive outlook right from the start.

2) Clean and tidy

This one should go without saying, but we’ll make it clear anyway. Clean your property from top-to-bottom and keep it super tidy throughout the inspection period. Those areas that you only clean now and then definitely need a once over, and now’s the time to deal with any small D.I.Y fixes.

Also blitz the clutter and then keep on top of it. Whether you get rid of it completely or pack it away somewhere else is up to you, but it needs to be out of sight. Cluttered surfaces create the impression that you can’t fit your life into the property, and that potential buyers won’t be able to either.

It’s quite possible that your viewers will open cupboards and drawers, so make sure they’re organised. Tidy storage spaces make it clear there’s plenty of space for everything.

3) Consider furniture placement and style

The aim is usually to make a room look bigger, but you also don’t want it looking empty and unwelcoming either. If one room is particularly busy, you might need to put some of your furniture in storage, or find a new home for it altogether.

Replace crazy colour schemes and funky patterns with neutral designs to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. In a small room, make sure the furniture is light coloured, an appropriate size and not too chunky.

A good way to work out what might need changing is to think about where people are likely to stop and look when they’re walking around. Try to get a feel for what will catch their eye first, and what part of the room is grabbing the most attention.

4) Add a few indoor plants

Healthy green plants dotted around the property make it look more like a home without being too personal. Most stylists and estate agents advise against items like family photographs as visitors need to be able to imagine their family living in the property, not yours.

Plants are homely but not unique to your family, and add colour without being overpowering.

5) Find the balance between hotel and home

There’s no need to go all out with mints and towels on the bed. Your buyers know this is a home, and they’re looking to see how their own life could fit into it. However, you still need to put effort into making your home look its very best. This means making the beds and refreshing tired flowers.

You may need to invest in extra pieces to make your home look a little more like a hotel – such as fresh bedding or new pillows, but it’s about finding a balance somewhere in the middle.

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