One of the first questions I ask a new client is “How long do you expect to live here?” My design advice differs If you plan to sell in less than 2 years versus staying longer. Homeowners should decorate their home for themselves unless the move is imminent.
1) If a sale is in the near future, fresh paint is the easiest and cheapest way to update the house. I’m an advocate of color, but a potential buyer won’t be able to get past bold turquoise or burgundy walls.
2) Arranging furniture is difficult for most people and impossible for the seller. The biggest and hardest thing the seller has to do is downsize. Grandma’s antique chair (or hutch or table or whatever) may be a beloved favorite, but if it’s taking up space, send it to storage.
3) The buyer’s first impression should be “wow, look at how big this room is!” That will be achieved when the clutter and excess is gone.
4) The furniture should be arranged toward a focal point. That could be the fireplace if there is one. Otherwise, the view or a beautiful piece of artwork or even the TV.
5) A furniture plan should allow for easy mobility and separate the seating area from the walk path or the front door.
6) If the home has an open plan, there should be some distinction between the areas. The dining room should be separate from the living space.
7) Cleanliness and neatness should be the first item on the to-do list for the seller. Potential buyers can overlook paint and carpeting, but will run for exit if the first thing they see is dirt and disorganization and chaos!
8) Of course curb appeal can kill a sale before the potential buyer gets in the door. A well maintained yard is a must. Make sure there isn’t any peeling paint or shutters or gutters in disrepair.