This article is part of a series of real estate tips from Brooklyn broker Gabriele Sewtz of Compass, a specialist in the Brooklyn family market.
Once upon a time, a prospective buyer first viewed a property when they strolled through the door with the real estate agent. Today, statistics show that 96 percent of potential homebuyers first see a property over the Internet or a mobile app.
Gabriele Sewtz, a real estate broker at Compass and a certified home stager, calls this remote viewing the “first date.” It’s crucial in getting homebuyers to the next step of actually visiting the property. The key is skilled staging, professional photos, and captivating descriptions.
“It must be a seamless promotion of property and lifestyle,” says Sewtz.
When you’re selling your house or apartment, it’s imperative to sell it in the least amount of time for the highest possible price. This requires “practical lifestyle staging,” or staging to showcase your home to your target audience, all while still living in your home. It’s about working with what you already have, while incorporating home organization tips that give your home an inviting feel without disrupting your life.
Home staging is not about getting rid of your things. It’s about planning. Sewtz lives by the three Rs of staging: Reduce, Rearrange, and Refresh.
Simplifying makes rooms look more spacious while putting prospective buyers at ease
The first step is to reduce your clutter. Throw a stoop sale, make some donations, or put things into temporary storage with a moving company like FlatRate that can merge your stored items with items for your actual move.
Another idea is to organize closets and toys using containers (who doesn’t love The Container Store?) that can easily be hidden away during showings.
By rearranging furniture, you can draw the eye to the features you want to showcase
The next goal is to rearrange what you’ve got to make every room feel as bright, spacious, and functional as possible. You want to showcase the best feature of a room, while still keeping in mind that small things can make a difference.
Try taking up rugs to make a room appear larger, or use art to create focal points. (Color tip: the eye tends to gravitate towards yellow.)
Another tip: if you are using a second bedroom as a study, turn it back into a bedroom so it will stick in the prospective buyer’s mind.
The right accents work with the room, without stealing focus
While getting your home ready to sell, it isn’t always possible to make big changes like new kitchen cabinets. But there are a number of easy ways to refresh things.
Or update your hardware to modern designs — think polished chrome and square fixtures — to make your kitchen and bathrooms more of a selling point. Another easy way to transform an outdated bathroom is by placing spa-like amenities on the counter, like small bottles of shampoo and lotion in a basket with rolled crisp white towels. Accessories like these help the potential buyer to imagine what it would be like to live in your home.
Meanwhile, grab your Magic Eraser and grout scrubber to get to those small repairs you’ve been putting off — buyers will pay a premium for a turnkey property they can move into immediately.
The task of home staging may seem daunting, but Sewtz knows from experience that it doesn’t have to be painful.
“As an expert in coming up with livable staging solutions for families, I followed my own rules when selling our apartment,” she says. “I know what it is like, and the key is really having a strategic step by step plan in place.”
The goal is to showcase your property in a way that lets the buyers envision themselves living their life in the space. Follow Sewtz’s three steps, and home staging will be the least stressful part of the selling process.
Click here for Brooklyn real estate listings by Gabriele Sewtz.