If your house is on the market or you’re preparing to put it up for sale, you probably feel like you have 101 things to do!

Fortunately, the list is much smaller than that and you can enlist the help of a real estate agent to handle many of the details.

To increase your chances for a fast sale, your agent will offer you suggestions on ways to enhance the eye appeal and curb appeal of your home. Although many of the things they point out may seem minor and superficial, the cumulative effect they’ll have on the marketability of your home could be significant.

Minor flaws will be noticed by potential buyers and could easily give them the impression that your home hasn’t been updated, properly maintained, and well taken care of. While that may not be true, remember that presentation is everything. And, if I may slip in one more old, but true cliché: “You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression!” That is as true in real estate sales as it is in making sure you’re breath is fresh!

With that in mind, here’s a list of some of the relatively inexpensive improvements you can make that will help you favorably impress prospective home buyers.

  • There are a lot of cheap or relatively inexpensive repairs you can make, such as repairing and painting over damaged walls, oiling squeaky hinges, and replacing cracked windows and bathroom tiles. Toilets that run and faucets that leak are other examples of minor problems that can make a bad impression on potential buyers.
  • Lighting, both natural and artificial, sets the mood in a room and can have an impact on how people perceive your home. It’s usually advisable to let in as much natural light as possible and increase the wattage of lightbulbs in dark rooms and hallways. On the other hand, harsh lightening can also make an unfavorable impression, so it’s necessary to find the perfect balance between glaring and dreary lighting. Most real estate agents are attuned to minor (or major) changes that need to be made to elements like lighting, décor, and furniture arrangement.
  • Avoid the appearance of clutter, disorganization, and chaos in any part of your home! This would apply to everything from closets and cabinets to counter-tops, desks, and bedroom dressers. If your basement or attic is a “disaster area,” that could reflect negatively on you and the attractiveness of your home. A good, general rule-of-thumb for controlling clutter is “less is more.”
  • Be prepared to do at least a little painting and a lot of cleaning to prepare your house for successful showings. A certain amount of landscaping and lawn care is also necessary, with tasks such as mowing, pruning, and weeding at the top of the list.

Although there are a lot of things to keep in mind when staging and preparing your home for a fast sale, the best way to start out is with a list of priorities and the advice of a seasoned real estate agent.

One very important, yet often overlooked aspect of setting up a home is that of lighting. We often take lighting for granted. We turn on a light in order to see something better, but there’s so much more to a well-lit room than placing a light anywhere in the space. Lighting should be done in layers. These layers include:

  • Ambient lighting
  • Accent lighting
  • Task lighting
  • Decorative lighting

For well-balanced lighting in a room, you should mix and match the types of lighting from these layers. Let’s break down the different layers of lighting:

Ambient

This kind of lighting includes natural light sources such as windows and doors. Ambient lighting would also include pendant lighting and overhead light fixtures like a combination light/ ceiling fan.

Task

Task lighting is exactly as the name denotes. You use this type of lighting when you want to complete some kind of task. These fixtures could include under the counter lighting, desk lamps, and reading lamps. 

Accent 

Accent lighting provides additional brightness to a room. These fixtures include adjustable lights and recessed lighting features. 

Decorative

Decorative lighting accents a room in a different way. These types of fixtures would be something like chandeliers, different colored light bulbs, and other lights that can be used for decoration.      

Highlights


The great thing about the right kind of lighting is that it will feature the best parts of a room. Do you have a painting that you love? Use lighting to bring it out. Is there a statue that you want to make stand out? Use a soft spotlight. You can even highlight your crown molding and ceiling features with some mounted sconces or rope lights along the edge of your ceiling for an added effect. 

Spread It Out

One of the worst mistakes that people make when lighting a room is forgetting to spread out their light sources. All of the light in the room is concentrated in one spot, leaving dark patches in the space. This can be a decorator’s nightmare. This is why the layering method works so well. The lighting is spread out around the room and even. There won’t be any spots in the room where the lighting is overwhelming or on the flip side, not enough.

Use Your Windows

One of the other big mistakes in lighting is that people often forget to make use of the natural daylight. While you may need some lighting in a room that’s used often at night, there should be some great resources coming from right outside your windows. Don’t block this light! Use creative ways to direct the light accordingly like curtains and blinds. Don’t be afraid to leave some window space open as well to let the light shine in. While you don’t want to sacrifice your privacy, you do not want to live with your windows darkened all day, every day!

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