Live & Play Chicago MagazineThe following article originally appeared in our Chicago real estate magazine, Live & Play Chicago.

We all know that you can’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to selling your home, buyers will definitely be judging your property on its presentation.

With that in mind, taking some time to ensure that your home shows well before putting it on the market can really pay off – both in terms of a better price and a quicker sale. Best of all, you can see these benefits without the need to remodel bathrooms or pursue major renovations.

Here are a few of the simple, inexpensive tips our Team gives clients when preparing their homes for sale:

Closets

Most sellers don’t realize the importance of organizing all of their closets. Buyers care about having sufficient storage, and overstuffed closets can give the impression that your storage is anything but “sufficient.” Before you put up the “for sale” sign, thoroughly clean out your closets and get rid of everything you no longer need.

Here are some easy ways to make your closets feel more spacious and inviting:

– Remove all dry cleaner plastic.

– Group your clothes by type and then by color.

– Toss out your old hangers and replace them with new, matching hangers. Bed Bath & Beyond sells ultra-slim, non-slip velvet covered hangers that are attractive and inexpensive. Generally, avoid wood hangers (they are expensive and bulky), except for with men’s suits.

– Use matching clear plastic boxes to organize your accessories.

– Move everything off the floor and onto shoe racks, shelving or hangers.

Bedding

Upgrading your bedding is a great way to help your home feel new and fresh, and you can use the items in your new home! Simply get rid of your old linens and start from scratch. Before shopping, look online at the bedding collections at Restoration Hardware. Note how they furnish their beds with well-pressed sheets, a stylish blanket tucked in tight around the mattress, lots of pillows, and comforters folded down at the top of the bed. Regardless of where you shop, your objective should be for your beds to present a similar look of refinement and coordination.

Bathrooms

Imagine the most luxurious of hotel baths. A set of fluffy new white towels and a crisp new cotton or linen shower curtain can go a long way toward creating that feeling in your own home. Also, consider displaying extra towels rolled in baskets or neatly folded. Move all of your shampoo bottles and personal care products out of sight. Cutting out and replacing old caulk and upgrading bath hardware or lighting can also make a significant difference. Finally, look at your colors. Out-of-date finishes like cultured marble are less noticeable when you put an appealing, contemporary color on the walls. Again, Restoration Hardware – and Pottery Barn – are good sources for design ideas.

Lighting

Most sellers don’t give much thought to their lighting, yet it is critical to a home’s presentation. A dull, poorly lit home is much harder to sell than a crisp, brightly lit one.

Easy suggestions to improve illumination include:

– Put away all of your new fluorescent and low-energy light bulbs and save them for your next home.

– Install halogen floodlights in all your recessed ceiling fixtures. Halogen gives off a brighter, cooler light and is used to illuminate the merchandise in upscale retail stores.

– Install clear incandescent bulbs in light fixtures where you see the bulb, like bath sconces.

– Do not rely solely on overhead lighting, and especially not on a single overhead source like a ceiling fan or center fixture. Lamps are a must in bedrooms, your home office, etc.

– Make sure all your bulbs in a single fixture, like a chandelier or bath strip light, are of the same wattage.

If your bath fan and light are on the same switch, consider getting an electrician to “split” the switch so they can be controlled separately. There is nothing worse than showing a bath to a potential buyer and having to speak up over the sound of a noisy exhaust fan.

If you have questions about preparing your home for sale, feel free to call us at (312) 440-7525. We always provide a complimentary evaluation for our clients. More often than not, our clients have just one complaint after they finish staging their home for sale – they regret not doing it sooner.

Best of luck!


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