Some home staging tasks just aren’t worth it when it comes to prepping your home for sale. Getting a house ready to go on the market is a huge endeavor, and the bottom line is that not all tasks are a good return on investment. Using your time efficiently and effectively is critical when preparing your home for sale. Here are a few of the biggest time wasters we’ve seen over the years when it comes to home staging.
1. Emptying Built-In Drawers and Cabinets
An empty drawer or cabinet does indeed look more spacious. If you’ve got the time and energy to proceed with packing them up, go for it! But for most home sellers, time is of the essence and this is a very low priority area. Why? These spaces will not be photographed, nor are they part of a buyer’s first impression. Sure, it’s possible that buyers will open built-ins to take a look, but in most cases, it’s just not worth investing your limited time and resources.
When It’s Worth It: Be sure that doors open without a creak and that drawers slide smoothly. Doors and drawers must also be able to close easily with no obstructions. Glass-fronted cabinets typically present better when empty. It’s also worth removing anything of a sexual/political/valuable/religious/otherwise personal nature from the drawers.
2. Filling in Nail Holes
While it seems like a logical home staging prep step, it’s probably not a step that’s worth your time. Nail holes are tiny. They won’t show up in your listing photos and likely won’t be an issue for potential buyers.
Remove picture hangers and thumbtacks. Gently pull small nails from the wall or push them back in. In most cases, this takes only a few seconds and leaves a barely noticeable hole. On the other hand, filling, sanding, and painting sections of the wall take a lot more time, money, and effort. And unless you happen to have the exact paint color in the correct sheen already on hand, you’re going to draw more attention to all the areas you patched.
When It’s Worth It: If you’re left with really large holes from toggle bolts or mollies, it’s a good idea to spackle and paint over the damage. Similarly, if the room needs re-painting anyway because the wall is damaged or the color needs neutralizing, go ahead and take a few extra minutes to fill in the nail holes, too.
3. Trying to Do Everything on Your Own
Costs can add up quickly when you’re trying to get a home ready for sale. Few homeowners want to spend extra money at this point in the process. But investing in professionals can be well worth it, not only in terms of your financial ROI but in the amount of headache it will save you in the long run. Professional painters, carpet cleaners, window cleaners, a handyperson…they’re all experts in their fields who’ll get the job done more quickly and efficiently than you’ll be able to on your own.
4. Packing and Storing What Should Be Eliminated
I get it — moving is overwhelming. Sometimes you just don’t have the bandwidth to make decisions on things like, “Do I want to keep this set of children’s books for my future grandchildren?” So you end up boxing items to move along with you. And you stack it in a spare room or a spare closet.
By the time you’re ready to put your house on the market, you’ve got stacks of boxes with “????s” on them being shuffled from room to room for photos. The extra boxes will make your rooms seem smaller (which buyers don’t like). Fast forward to moving day, and you’ve decided you really don’t want those items at all.
Save yourself the hassle. Most homeowners have plenty of items in those “????” boxes that would serve them better as a charitable donation or a gift to a friend. Maybe some of those items just need to go straight to the trash. Be honest with yourself as you pack, and take these items out of the house.
When It’s Worth It: For objects that possess a strong sentimental or monetary value, place these items in a separate storage facility, temporarily with a friend, or maybe even in the garage or attic for now. Come back to them when you have the time to properly evaluate whether they’re worth keeping for your upcoming move. In any case, it’s always worth it to get those items off-site when staging your home for sale.
5. Adding Granite Countertops
Not every house needs stone counters to sell for top dollar. It primarily depends on what your potential home buyers are expecting. For high-end homes, stone and solid surface countertops are standard. However, if you’re planning to list your home at the lower end of the price range or if your existing countertops are comparable to other homes in your neighborhood, spending thousands to upgrade likely won’t be worth the return on investment when it comes to home staging.
When It’s Worth It: Are you planning to sell your home near the upper price point of your range? Do you live in a neighborhood where stone countertops are the standard? Do you have the opportunity to get an amazing deal on the product and installation? If you can answer yes to these questions, it may be worth it.
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