A Beginner’s Guide to Outer Banks Home Staging

By Jeff Scott

More than ever, buyers want to walk right into their new Outer Banks home with just a suitcase and a fishing rod and make no repairs. In many cases today it is the best maintained, the cleanest and the most up-to-date houses that are the first ones to sell.

Realtors’ marketing efforts are geared to help a seller receive the highest price in the shortest time period. But the marketing of a home does not stop with putting a home in the Multiple Listing Service, placing a sign on the property and advertising. It also includes presenting the property in the best light possible when it is being viewed by potential buyers. You always want to make the best first impression and make your home stand out from the others on the market. Improve the condition of the property and you will enhance the salability of the home.

The First Impression

The landscaping and exterior is the first thing buyers see. If the exterior does not look inviting, then buyers may not want to get out of the car. A nice manicured lawn is a plus in some Outer Banks locations; however, this is not as critical here as it is inland as many Outer Banks buyers do not want to worry about maintaining a yard. When preparing a home for sale, a little landscaping and yard maintenance will make the natural look appealing to the average buyer.

-Make sure the trees are trimmed away from the house and that weeds and underbrush are removed.

-If your home is in the beach zone, then beach grass instead of weeds give the home a good beachy feel.

-Make sure the shrubs and flower beds have fresh mulch and are clear of weeds.

-Nothing welcomes a buyer more than flowers blooming at the entrance to the house. There are types of flowers that bloom in almost every season on the Outer Banks. Plant some blooming flowers strategically near the entrance to your residence.

-A clean and maintained yard invites buyers to take a closer look.

-The exterior of the house should  be in good condition.

-Moldy deck boards should be pressure washed, and cracked and worn deck boards should be replaced.

-Cracking or chipping paint is a signal to a buyer that it won’t be long before they will have to hire a painting contractor. Recouping money spent on renovations rarely results in a positive return on the investment when selling. But painting or staining is one of the expenses that at least comes close and may need to be done to attract an offer.

-Cobwebs, mold and algae are also commonly found on the exteriors of Outer Banks homes. These should be removed before putting the house on the market.

-Lastly, the door into the home should be in good shape. A freshly painted front door with a bright, shiny door knob welcomes a buyer to take a look inside.

The Inside Look

Having the interior of the home prepared for viewing is as important to the marketing of the property as any advertisement. The best-placed ad may get more people to look at the property, but if they are turned off when they see it then you are still at square one.

Over the years, home floor plans, building materials and styles change. As these things change, most homes remain the same. It is human nature for us to become comfortable with our surroundings, but some of those features of your property you enjoy may actually be a detriment to a sale. Recently a seller stated that he enjoyed the dark paneling interior walls because they were easy to clean. Unfortunately, today these walls are a major turn-off to most buyers. This is an extreme example, but every seller should objectively look at their interior, see what things date their home to a former era and update what they can to better attract today’s buyers.

Here are a few more things sellers can do to improve the salability of their property without spending a ton of money and time.

-Getting as much light as possible in the house is important. Buyers today typically are looking for homes that are open, airy and bright.

-Replace old light fixtures to more modern fixtures and install bulbs with the maximum wattage allowed for those fixtures.

-Clean windows and install light-colored blinds.

-Remove all but a few of the personal items from the property. Removing personal items that have been stuffed into closets and garages allows a buyer to visualize their own possessions in the home.

Buyers willing to spend a little more money should consider a few other items.

-Painting the interior can help. Dark walls or paneling can be painted white, and having an accent wall with color in rooms can be beneficial. Those people without much design experience may consider talking with a designer about colors that complement each other.

-Update the flooring — is the carpet worn or the vinyl cut? Are tiles cracked? Sometimes a good carpet cleaning will be enough, but a worn carpet hurts the chance of a sale.

-The kitchen is probably the most important room in the house. Updating the appliances can make a huge difference in the overall feel of the home.

-New counter tops and cabinets are not cheap but should result in considerably more sales activity of the house.

Regardless of market conditions, there are four variables that impact the salability of a property. These variables are location, condition, terms and price. Of course location can not be changed, and in most cases today great terms are available to buyers. That leaves just the price and the condition. Taking the time and investing the money to improve the condition of your property should result in the property selling for the highest price in the shortest marketing period.

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