With our local market’s low inventory, you shouldn’t have a hard time selling your Minnesota or western Wisconsin home this summer. However, today’s buyers are savvy, and they’ll expect a home with both web appeal and curb appeal. Below, we offer summer staging tips so you can hook them online and then get the bid in person.
Front yard and exterior tips
The first thing buyers see online or in person is the front of your home, so it’s important that this view is flawless. In the summer, this means mowing the lawn frequently, edging around your sidewalks and the driveway and trimming your hedges. If you don’t have in-ground plants to add natural color, add some planters with bright flowers to your front step.
If your front door is older, consider replacing it with a brightly painted steel door. A new front door is one of the home improvements with the highest ROI in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, so your investment could pay for itself while also helping you stand out to buyers online and in person.
Next, think about the other fixtures and features of your home’s exterior. Be sure to clean gutters, shingles and window wells so they are free of dirt and debris. Wash every window, preferably with a power washer, so they sparkle and aren’t streaky. Remember that if you don’t feel comfortable getting up high on ladders, you can always hire out a professional for these tasks. Test each outdoor light to be sure that your home is well-lit at night, and consider adding in-ground lighting along walkways so nighttime visitors can easily make their way to the front door.
The finishing touch? Be sure that the address numbers on your home are easy to read from the street, and that they are also well-lit at night. It may seem minor, but there’s a big difference in attitude between buyers who drive up and down the street five times, and those who pull up and immediately think, "This could be my home."
Summer may be short in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but the right backyard set up can still go a long way when it comes to selling a home.
If you have a deck or patio, arrange the furniture and tables to create a secondary living room. Add bright pops of color with new chair cushions, table umbrellas and potted plants or flowers. Check to make sure this outdoor area is well-lit at night, and consider adding table lanterns for additional ambiance. Power wash the area to make sure that it’s bright and free of any stubborn winter dirt and debris.
If you have a pool, schedule regular cleanings or commit to a regimented pool-cleaning schedule before you leave for work in the morning. Pool chairs can remain out, but floating devices, pool "noodles" and other water toys should be stored so the area remains uncluttered while buyers walk around. Remember to check the pool for nighttime lighting, as well.
The backyard isn’t only about dining and being in the pool, though. Many homeowners have elaborate gardens, bird feeders and other outdoor hobbies that can attract or distract buyers. Work with your REALTOR® to determine if you should show off or downplay your potting station, bocce ball court or homemade treehouse.
The process of staging a home for summer is fun, because it is a lot like taking off your winter layers once the warm weather arrives.
We’ll start with what a buyer sees right when they walk in the door. If your welcome mat shows traces of our cold winter and wet spring, replace it with a new, cheery version. Remove heavy coats, hats, mittens and boots from the front entryway and any closets and consider putting them in storage while you sell. (Your closets will look much more appealing without a wall of down jackets trying to break free from inside.) Be sure to open up your windows and doors to get fresh air circulating, and to get rid of musty smells and pet odors.
Next, move into the living room and family rooms. The framed family photos and personal knick-knacks in these rooms are priceless to you, but buyers prefer to see a clean slate with room for their own memories. Box up most framed photos and the items decorating shelves, and replace them with neutral items like bright plants or color-coordinated stacks of books. Remove any thick fleece or flannel blankets that kept you warm during the winter, and replace them with lighter throw pillows and blankets that match the season.
If possible, keep all rooms a neutral palette — white, beige or gray — and then add bright accent colors like orange, salmon, teal or turquoise. Your real estate agent will help you determine the best way to stage on a budget, or they may recommend a professional stager to help your space really shine.
Last, remember that while you have been using your home and rooms in a certain way, buyers fall for the homes that give them the most options. Your real estate agent will help you determine if you need to turn your office back into a guest bedroom with a desk, or if your "mancave" basement would have more appeal as a general lounge area. Together, you can strike a balance that will draw in buyers online and grant you some freedom as you sell your Minnesota or Wisconsin home.