Quick staging tips to sell your New York house

Tips for selling your house faster and for a higher value

I’ve worked with so many buyers and sellers, and it’s fascinating to watch home sellers prepare their houses for the market.  In some cases, the sellers are leaving a lot of money on the table by not investing in fixing and prepping their home; in other instances, I see people over spending and not getting their return on investment.


(And, of course there are times when sellers acknowledge that making some improvements will have a positive ROI, but it doesn’t matter as they don’t have any money to invest).


The advice in this article assumes that the the seller does in fact have some money to prep their homes.  And, of course all houses and circumstances are different, so this article makes some generalizations.


The goal here is to balance what will give you the best value/return for your money and sell your house faster.


1.  Hire a Stager for a consultation.  This small investment for an outside consultant is usually worth its weight in gold.  The good stager should be able to help you prioritize the most important items during the consultation.  They can also give you good advice on color selection for whatever changes you may make (e.g. paint colors, floor colors, etc.)  Note:  There are many ways to stage, and many levels.  Getting a staging consultation is very different than renting furniture to stage your house.  Start with the consultation.


2.  If you have hardwood flooring under your carpet, you should refinish them.  Hardwood flooring is the preferred flooring surface in the New York Metro area.  If you have hardwood floors, by all means rip up the carpet and refinish the floors.  This is one of the strongest return on investment items you can find.  You will instantly improve the value of your home and it will help you sell it much faster.


Usually, sanding and refinishing costs less than what most people think, so you may be pleasantly surprised with the price.  Conversely, buyers often think it costs more to refinish than it really does…so if you don’t do it, they will and they’ll deduct that perceived price from their offer (and they’ll capture that added value).  Check out this article on hardwood flooring colors and trends to see what’s most popular.


3.  Generally, adding a fresh coat of paint will have a positive ROI.  If you have dark colors or taste specific colors, you should strongly consider repainting and going with a more neutral color (e.g. light gray, light beige or even an off white.  This will make your space more neutral and attractive and will also make your space look larger and more inviting.  And, the more consistent you can be with colors across rooms, the better off you’ll be.


If you already have neutral colors, great.  But, look at the condition of your walls and moldings.  Do they look clean and bright, or have they seen their better days.  If they look tired or dirty, it’s probably smart to add a fresh coat of paint, even if you do it yourself.


4.  Clean, clean, clean.  I think this one goes without saying.  Just do it!


5.  Clear the clutter and open up your space as much as possible.  This may include eliminating furniture, as well as extra “stuff.”  Less is more for sure.  A stager can help you determine which items should go (as well as ideal ways to arrange your furniture.


6.  Do any obvious repairs.  This is a general statement.  If you have broken items, either repair or replace them.  In particular, if you have any areas damaged from water, fix the issue and the area.  These are red flags for buyers (and inspectors).


7.  Replace or clean any carpets that are visually dirty or smelly.  Generally smelly ones will need to be replaced (especially if it’s pet damage as that has usually penetrated into the carpet cushion beneath.  If it’s surface dirt, carpet cleaning may take care of it.


Generally, you will not get your return on carpeting if you replace it…but sometimes you have no choice and if you don’t replace it, it will simply reduce your selling price.  However, as mentioned above, if you have hardwood underneath your carpet, you will get a positive ROI if you refinish the floors (and this is less expensive than replacing the carpet).


8.  Make sure you have strong curb appeal.  This is the first impression for your potential buyers, so make sure it’s a good one.  Make sure that the driveway and walkways are clear (and safe).  Make sure they look nice too (trim trees/shrubs if needed).  Add flowers.  Make sure your front door looks great (consider a fresh coat of paint if it needs it).


9.  Be careful about how much you spend on the kitchen and bathrooms. While they say kitchens and baths sell homes (and this is true), most neglect to tell you that you generally do not get your return on investment on them.  Generally kitchen remodels have a 70% ROI and bathrooms have a 60% ROI.  So, try not to spend too much here and go for easy and inexpensive wins here (e.g paint the cabinets/replace the hardware rather than replace them, reglaze the pink colors rather than retile the bathroom).


I hope these quick selling tips will help you when you are preparing to sell your New York home fast.  Remember, you can’t do everything.  You want to do enough to get your home in good shape so that potential buyers will want to make an offer.  If your house needs “too much work” and you just sell your house “as is,” most will just pass (as they don’t have the available cash to get the house ready).