Interior Appeal: It Takes More Than a Pretty Face
Posted on April 2, 2017
The home was a simple, one-level ranch located in a quiet SW Portland neighborhood. We had known Jane, the seller, for 20 years. (We had sold her the home originally.)
We assumed her home would sell quickly due to the popularity of ranch styles with boomers and millennials today. But when we walked in the front door, we weren’t so sure.
The word that came to mind was “unattractive.”
The carpets were old and stained. The walls needed painting. The furniture was dated and tired. There was also a general sense of imbalance due to a living room crowded with furniture while two bedrooms stood empty. (Jane had been renting them out.)
Additionally, there was a feeling of disorder because Jane used rooms for multiple purposes. For instance, the living room, traditionally used for entertaining, was also used for computer work and TV watching.
Here’s how we approached the project:
- We provided Jane with boxes to pack up what was moving with her
- We created a room plan that outlined furniture rearrangement and improvements
- We recommended removing the carpet to expose the hardwood floors underneath
- We reviewed, in detail, Jane’s personal items, such as what artwork to display, what appliances to pack, where to tuck the dog bowls during showings, and more.
Jane followed our guidance and as a result, we attracted a full-price cash offer the first weekend the house went on the market.
This is the power of a home’s interior appeal.
6 Secrets of Interior Appeal
Secret No. 1: Pack it up if it’s smaller than a basketball.
A buyer is purchasing a house, not its owners’ personal items, which is why agents request that sellers pack up personal items. In fact, a professional stager taught me that if an item is smaller than a basketball, pack it up.
Pack up closets so buyers can see space for their belongings
- Remove most personal photos and artwork
Create a sense of organization by cleaning and facing items outward in:
- Cabinets under sinks
- The pantry
- The refrigerator
Remove area rugs to show the floor and ensure buyers don’t trip.
Tip No. 2: Let go of your home emotionally.
Emotions invariably emerge as you pack personal items. This is a necessary part of the home-selling process.
If you have a spiritual practice, use it to emotionally let go of your home and transfer stewardship of it to new owners. Honor your home’s role in your life by asking yourself:
- What did you love the most about this home when you bought it?
- What “work” have you done here, such as raising a family?
- Why are you selling the home?
- What new adventure calls you?
Tip No. 3: Create “walk around” space.
Buyers like to walk around a space to get a feel for it, and to imagine living in that space.
To create “walk around” space in your home:
- Remove excess furniture that blocks access to other areas
- Have one focal point in a room, such as a fireplace
- Remove one item in a matched set, such as chairs
- Remove a bedroom’s exercise equipment so there is a rest-and-recharge feeling
- Provide access to windows so buyers can see their (future) views
- Make furniture inviting so buyers will sit and visualize their lives in the space.
Tip No. 4: Mimic the current trends.
Familiarity breeds comfort, and when it comes to home interiors, everyone is familiar with what they see in the media. If you mimic it, you can elicit those same feelings of comfort.
Today’s trends include:
- Open space and simple living
- Casual dining that blends into entertainment space
- Inside/outside spaces flowing together
- Soft greys and whites surrounding the living room furniture.
Tip No. 5: Clean it up.
Depending on your home’s size, professional cleaners charge $200-$900, and work in teams of 3-4 at $25-$30 per person. Do what your budget can afford.
If that means cleaning yourself, we can recommend quality cleaning products at a reasonable cost.
When cleaning, remember to:
- Clean the oven
- Wash all the doorknobs
- Clean and organize the pantry
- Clean and organize the refrigerator.
Tip No. 5: Use essential oils to remove animal and smoke smells.
Aromatherapy is “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote” health, according to The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy.
Our personal experience has also shown that such essential oils can work wonders at removing animal and smoke smells in your home.
To learn more about essential oils, consider visiting some of the local apothecary shops in Portland:
Young Living is also a well-known resource and has information and oils.
Tip No. 6: Pay attention to your home’s mechanicals.
Buyers, and home inspectors, want to know your home’s systems are in order.
To ensure your home rates highly:
- Provide easy access to the water heater and electrical panel
- Change the furnace filter
- Wash off the water heater so it gives the appearance of being in order
- Consider installing “smart” features, such as a programmable thermostat you “talk to” with a smart phone or a smart door that automatically unlocks when you walk up to the house.
This is Part 2 in a series. Part 1 discussed exterior appeal.
Photo Credit: Clutter04 by surprise truck is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
To protect our clients’ privacy, anecdotes shared are based on true stories; however, names and specifics have been changed and/or combined into composites.