For Sellers: how do you broaden the appeal of your house?

Here are a few tips:

• Walk through the house and prioritize things that, if changed, would
increase the value of your home. For example, repainting a child’s bubblegum
pink bedroom may attract more buyers than something not as
apparent, such as replacing an old dishwasher.

• You can direct a potential buyer’s eye away from something negative
or toward something positive. Use artwork or a room’s own features,
such as a fireplace, to capture a buyer’s attention. However, there’s a
fine line. You want buyers to be able to appreciate the room and not just
focus on the items in the room.

• Remove any furniture that tightens spaces. If a couch or chair makes you
turn your body as you walk by or just makes a passage look small, get rid of
it. Everybody wants more space.

• Rid the house of personal effects, and don’t forget simple things like
magnets on the refrigerator. Small distractions to the buyers’ eyes will
disturb their thinking, preventing them from picturing the house as theirs.
And while you want the rooms to look well-decorated and spacious, avoid
turning the house into a perfect home. Try to balance the brand-new look
with some of its lived-in warmth.

• Potential buyers often feel uncomfortable in bedrooms and bathrooms
because they are, by definition, personal and private places. To counter
this reaction, make bedrooms and bathrooms look like a model home (toss
the lived-in feel out the bathroom window). Clear off all surfaces of the
bathroom—remove even simple things like toothpaste and soap. Put out
nice, fresh towels instead. The goal is to make these rooms comfortable for
buyers. When they’re comfortable, they’ll linger and picture themselves in
the house.

• Consider hiring a professional to improve your home’s visual appeal. The fee
charged by a “stager” can be worth it if the changes bring a quicker offer or
a higher sales price.