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12 Decorating Tips That Help You Sell Your Home Fast

Make your home universally appealing to get it sold more quickly.

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White front door of housePhoto: Shutterstock

Make an entrance

“The number-one, top most important item is the exterior,” says Scott McGillivray, host of HGTV’s Income Property, who has teamed up with low-commission brokerage “If we can’t get people through the door, it’s hard to make them make a purchase.” He recommends upgrading your front door so it’s clean, secure, and has matching hardware with the house numbers.

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Family photos nailed on wallPhoto: Shutterstock

Tuck away photos

When buyers are walking through a home, they’re trying to envision themselves living there—hard to do when they’re surrounded by the framed faces of someone else’s family. “Remove any type of family photos, anything overly personal in the home, because you want to make it appeal to the largest demographic possible,” says Laura Bonucchi, director of interior design for Designed to SELL Homes, LLC.

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Modern living room with neutral colourPhoto: Shutterstock

Make your colour palette more neutral

Beige isn’t the only choice for neutrals—go for gray too to keep you home looking clean and appealing. “You’re looking to appeal to 90 per cent of the people 90 per cent of the time,” says McGillivray. “The majority of people should feel comfortable in the space—not excited, not upset.” If you do want a pop of colour, use it as an accent in pillows, paintings, and other items, he says.

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Modern living roomPhoto: Shutterstock

Keep your style cohesive

While you don’t have to stick to one particular style—in fact, most people describe themselves as eclectic—try to avoid staunch differences between the designs of each room and go for a more cohesive look, says Bonucchi.

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Decorating tipsPhoto: Shutterstock

Cater to your location

While traditional, modern, and eclectic can all look appealing, try to set your décor up to match buyers’ expectations. A transitional look tends to work well in urban or suburban settings, says McGillivray, but you might also want to line your design up with a style specific to the area. “If you’re selling a chalet in the mountains, don’t set up in an industrial setting—it’s going to be more country,” he says. “Be in tune with where the home is and what design taste for that is.”

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Walk-in closet with clothesPhoto: Shutterstock

Clean out your closets

“When buyers are walking through the house, they’re going to be opening closets and looking in storage areas,” says Bonucchi. “It can be overwhelming for a buyer to step into a space that’s visually very cluttered.” Store excess items—especially kids’ toys—in your basement, as long as there’s enough room that you’re not just creating a new problem in that area, she says. Otherwise, box up your clutter and leave it in a storage unit.

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Real estate agent with young familyPhoto: Shutterstock

Get your flow

Set your home up with a good traffic flow so potential buyers don’t get stuck in dead ends. Make sure appliance and cabinet doors don’t block each other, doorways are clear, and your furniture doesn’t require visitors to zigzag through the room. “It’s nice to be able to walk all the way around and not get to the end and turn around,” says McGillivray.

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Modern living roomPhoto: Shutterstock

Cut down on furniture

“If you’ve been living there for a long time, a home can be overcluttered with furniture, which detracts from how big the home appears,” says Bonucchi. By removing a few pieces of unnecessary furniture such as corner chairs in the living room, you can open up the space and make it look larger, she says.

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Decorating tipsPhoto: Shutterstock

Consider renting pieces

Make sure bright or outdated furniture doesn’t detract from the beauty of the home itself. If you’re afraid your current collection of sofas and chairs could turn off buyers, try renting some pieces when showing your home. “Instead of your eyes going to the sofa that has super bright colours, you’re noticing the house and the views and the room,” says Bonucchi.

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Luxurious ktichenPhoto: Shutterstock

Let there be light

“Lighting is simple but makes a huge impact,” says McGillivray. “Some people really miss the opportunity to highlight a space.” The more light the better, he says. He recommends having lighting to fit a few different moods in each room. For instance, a kitchen might have general lighting on the ceiling, task light under cabinets, and sconces for mood lighting near the eating area, and leave all of them on when showing your home.

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Illuminated light bulbPhoto: Shutterstock

Update outdated light fixtures

“Updating a light fixture doesn’t have to be a fortune,” says McGillivray. “Pot lights can be expensive, but switching out a light fixture and maintaining the current placement is best.” If your main lighting in the room comes from a single bulb, replace it with a chandelier, using the same wiring so you don’t have to bring in an electrician, he says. Having those eight or so bulbs instead of one will make a huge impact.

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Renovating a kitchenPhoto: ShutterStock

Finish any projects

The last thing you want buyers to think about is all the work they’ll have to put into a home if they move in. If there’s a hook falling off the wall or a cabinet hinge that won’t shut right, now is the time to repair it. “Anything the potential buyer comes and says, ‘I’ll have to fix that when I move in,’ go ahead and take care of that so it’s not something they’ll have to think about,” says Bonucchi.

Next, read up on the things home inspectors wish you knew.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest