First Impressions — Countdown to Street Appeal
Home sellers, caught up in the serious business of preparing their property for sale, occasionally quit before the job is finished. When the rooms within the house are sparkling clean and furnished with rental furniture that speaks out about comfort and style, you might think the deal is done. If you’ve hired an expert in house staging to help you, you have the advantage of having somebody who knows how critical little details can be, but if you’re flying solo, understand that staging your home for sale is all about first impressions.
Step outside, walk to the kerb and take a long, critical look at your home. Does it look like all the other houses on the block? Does it stand out? If it does not, we think some of these exterior staging tips will be useful:
• Clean it up. Your cladding may look tired and damaged. Some may need replacing. You might just need a good pressure washing. You can rent a machine at a local tool rental company, or hire professionals to do the job for you. If you have stucco or other material that is prone to mould or mildew this is especially important. Buyers are easily concerned about anything that could be perceived as a health hazard. In any case, understand that you would probably not want to attend a job interview with a dirty face. Neither would your house.
• If your house doesn’t clean up well, paint it. (Use one of the paint products that fights mildew if that’s a problem.)
• Paint the front door. Pick a colour that sets your house apart from the others around it. The Chinese philosophy of feng shui tells us that in order to optimise your home’s Chi, or energy. For example, an East-facing door wants earth tones, particularly green or brown. The South-east facing door is associated with money, so paint it green, blue, brown, black, very light yellow or any earthy colours. A north-facing door is associated with the elements of water and metal, therefore blue, black, white and gray are your best paint choices. There are actually optimum colours for each of the eight compass directions, and if you’re serious about your feng shui and the condition of your home’s Chi, there are also colours you should absolutely avoid. The point is to make your house’s face bright and eye-catching while the structure remains strong and stately.
• Add big new house numbers in a colour to match your door. Find uniquely stylish numbers to complement your home’s architecture that are big enough to see from the street.
• Give your yard a manicure: Make sure your lawn doesn’t get shaggy during the time your property is listed for sale. Pay special attention to edging the lawn, trimming the shrubs, and cutting back overgrown anything. You want your yard to look restful and welcoming. (An overgrown lawn or bushes instantly signals that your home involves work. Few buyers appreciate reminders that spell hard labour.)
• Exterior windows must shine. Eliminate water spots and/or streaks religiously. Windows are important outside and inside so don’t tolerate any blemishes that might make your buyer baulk.
• Spruce up the mailbox. If your mailbox is situated on the street, make sure that it doesn’t list but stands up straight. If it needs a coat of paint, buy a can of spray paint and give it a coat then add new numbers (preferably ones that match your new house numbers.)
• Add a plant/floral vignette at the front entry. Buy one, three, or five potted plants, depending on the size of your entry, and arrange them in an attractive way. (An even number of plants will look too fussy.) Don’t crowd the entry.
• Clean, paint, or replace the light fixture at the front door. While you’re at it, make sure it has a bulb that provides plenty of light to show off your house even in the dark.
These often forgotten steps can make your house stand out from the crowd and make a positive first impression. If your house remains on the market for any amount of time, just remember that neglected-looking homes don’t sell very well.
Perhaps the best money you can spend in terms of return on your investment is to hire a professional who specialises in house staging. Because their eyes are trained to watch for the little details that can turn buyers off, your home stylist can protect you from making common staging mistakes. You’ll be glad you called Urban Chic Property Styling, Sydney’s premier home styling company.

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