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Trying to Sell Your Home? Tips for Preparing Your Home for the Market #3: The Living Room

by: Sue Adler
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Once the kitchen and bathroom are all squared away, it is time to focus your attention on the living room and any other common living areas. While these areas do not contain costly appliances and fixtures that need to be updated, replaced or repaired, there are still several things you can do to help make the living room more attractive to potential buyers.

Paint, Paint and More Paint

Perhaps the simplest and most effective way to make your living room and other common living areas more appealing to potential buyers is to repaint the walls. Many homeowners choose a color that is highly personalized when they paint their home. While orange walls may be appealing to you, many potential buyers will not feel the same. Therefore, it is important to paint the walls in a neutral color that will more likely attract a broader range of buyers. Even if the walls are already painted in a neutral color, applying a fresh layer of paint is a good idea. It adds a warmth and more inviting atmosphere to the room. It ‘s amazing how new paint can really brighten up a room and make it look new, fresh and clean.

Staging the Room

You can also prepare your living room and other common living areas for the market by completing a process that is known as staging. When staging a home, you take steps to make the home more appealing to buyers in a number of ways. The first goal of staging a home is to help the buyer envision himself living in the home. Therefore, if you have a number of personal items scattered about the living room, such as family photos and souvenirs, it will be far more difficult to achieve this goal. While it may be difficult for you to pack away the family heirlooms that you have proudly displayed, it is in your best interest to remove them from all of the rooms in your home before you put it on the market. Not only will this help to depersonalize the room, but it will remove unnecessary clutter as well. Go through the house and clear off all countertops — in other words, get rid of those piles of magazines, mail and papers.  This will help make the space look larger and more open.

Another purpose of staging the home is to appeal to the buyer’s five senses. The more you can appeal to all of these senses, the more of an impact your home will have on the buyer’s memory. You can appeal to the sense of sight by removing unnecessary furniture, which will help make it easier to navigate throughout the room. You can also appeal to the sense of sight and touch by opening up windows and allowing the warm sunshine to come through. Of course, you will need to make sure your windows are clean and in proper working order before you do this! In winter months, light a fire – nothing warms the heart more than a beautiful mantel and a warm, inviting fire. A fresh bouquet of flowers works wonders in creating a serene and relaxing ambiance. Remember, a home should smell good.  Put scented soaps in your bathroom and help remove any stale, cooking or pet odors. You can even appeal to the sense of hearing by playing classical music softly in the background and to the sense of taste by offering a plate of cookies as soon as the potential buyer walks in the door.

Make the potential buyer think “hmm, I can see myself living here.”  Take a little extra time and put yourself in your potential buyer’s shoes – it will pay off to set the right mood.


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