The real estate market tends to slow in the fall. Because it’s less disruptive to a child’s education, families try to be settled in a new home before school starts. But sometimes job transfers and other circumstances force families to move at other times of the year, and of course, not all buyers have children. For sellers, this means that although there may be fewer buyers in the fall, those who are looking may be more motivated.
Staging your home can help set it apart from other homes on the market. The primary goal of staging is to help potential buyers see themselves living in your home. To this end, there are a few guidelines that are helpful in every season:
- Consider curb appeal: if the outside of your home isn’t appealing, potential buyers may never make it inside. Be sure your home is attractive from the road.
- De-personalize: remove personal photos and mementos so potential buyers can envision their treasures in the home rather than yours.
- Clean: make sure every inch of your home is immaculate, so buyers are confident it has been well maintained. Kitchen counters and other flat surfaces should be free of clutter.
- Organize: clean out your closets and garage and store excess items off site so buyers know the home can accommodate all their possessions.
- Keep it neutral: Stick to neutral color schemes so buyers aren’t turned off by colors they don’t like. Add color with decorative items such as pillows, rugs and wall art.
Beyond those basics, here are a few specific ideas for staging your home in the fall:
- Start at the curb. As in any season, take a good look at your home as potential buyers will first see it. Unraked leaves may make a buyer feel that the home will be too much work, so be sure your yard is free of debris. Trim any ornamental grasses or bushes that may be dying for the season. Add a pop of color with mums or pumpkins and other fall décor.
- Turn on all your lights. Use the fact that the days are getting shorter to your advantage. Bright lights make rooms feel larger so have plenty of lamps, and turn them all on before each showing. This is especially true of the lights that will show from the front; warm, welcoming lights will set the right tone for a showing and add to your curb appeal.
- Add some seasonal décor. A few well-placed accents can highlight your home’s best features. Place a fall floral arrangement in the foyer or a bowl of seasonal fruit in a built-in bookcase, for example. Keep the focus on nature rather than ghosts and ghouls or pilgrims and Indians.
- Emphasize comfort. If you have a fireplace and the timing allows it, have a fire going to create a warm, inviting ambiance. Add an autumn-inspired, plush throw blanket across the arm of your couch and coordinating pillows in the chairs.
- Use seasonal scents. Be careful about going overboard on the scents as some buyers may have sensitivities to smell, but a few candles or bowls of potpourri of the same scent can help create an inviting atmosphere. Heat some apple cider with cinnamon sticks before the showing and leave it in a thermos for buyers to enjoy. If time constraints don’t allow you to prepare refreshments, Amazon has an apple pie potpourri that looks like an actual pie. Display the pie on the island in your kitchen to evoke pleasant memories and help potential buyers envision themselves creating new memories in your home.
Fall is a great time to use all of the senses to help buyers create an emotional connection to your home. Let your REALTOR® help you price it right, and it will be sold in no time!