May 2, 2006 — -- When getting ready to sell a home, investing a little money into sprucing it up can result in big dividends in the final price tag.
Barbara Corcoran, "Good Morning America's" contributor and founder of the Corcoran Group, said that in general, home staging could increase the final sale price by 5 percent to 20 percent.
Her tips for home staging are below.
Make a Good First Impression
You start the home-staging process by sprucing things up inside and outside so that your home will make a great first impression. Some of the things on this list won't cost any money, like opening windows and sending pets to grandma's, which is always good for making sure the odor of your home doesn't offend potential buyers. Other simple things won't cost much: Paint the front door ($25), put out flowers ($100), mulch the front yard ($65). Spending less than $200 is worth it when you consider that people decide whether they want to buy a home within the first eight seconds.
A neat closet is a sign of a house in good working order, and be forewarned -- people do look in your closets. Prospective home buyers also need to see themselves moving in the space, and they can't see past clutter. Rent a van to dump old furniture ($75), clean closets ($0), clear off countertops ($0), and change doorknobs ($40). Spending about $115 is not bad if it adds to the final resale value.
Let the Sunshine In
Lighting is the No. 2 reason home buyers cite for choosing a particular property. No. 1 is location. The third step in home staging is to make sure you let the sunshine in. Clean the windows with Windex ($4), dump old drapes ($0), replace lampshades ($100), and buy stronger light bulbs ($25). Total cost will run you about $129.
Freshen the Bathroom
A bad bathroom is the No. 1 turnoff that can kill a sale. Everyone hates a dirty bathroom, and cleanliness is key to moving property in a slow market. The bathroom is also the most personal space in the home, so do everything possible to depersonalize it. To freshen up, regrout tile ($15), caulk the shower ($5), buy a new shower curtain ($20), and invest in new hand towels ($20).