One of the most cost-effective places to live in New York City, Harlem is popular for those who want a quiet lifestyle while still being in a vibrant neighborhood full of fantastic restaurants, fun events, and exciting nightlife options. If you own a home in Harlem and plan to sell this winter or next spring, you should know that while the neighborhood is bouncing back from the real estate hit the entire city took when the pandemic struck, it’s still considered a recovering market. For interested buyers, you need to be especially diligent when it comes to preparing your home for listing so that it can compete.
In addition to pricing your home competitively by having your Harlem real estate agent perform a comparative market analysis, making any needed repairs, and painting the interior in neutral colors, you should also consider staging it to make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers.
What is staging, and why should you consider it?
Staging is the process of redecorating and adding, removing, or rearranging furniture to make homes for sale in Harlem attractive to prospective buyers. Some sellers hire professional stagers to do the work for them while others prefer to stage their homes themselves. Homes that are staged sell for an average of 20% more and 88% faster than those that are not staged, so it’s well worth the investment of time and/or money.
Tips for staging success
If you’ve decided to go ahead and stage your home yourself, following some best practices will help you succeed. Here are some tips Harlem real estate experts suggest for those doing DIY staging.
1. Declutter your entire home
Homes in New York — especially condos and co-ops — can suffer from a lack of space. Anything that clutters up counters, floors, or wall space will make them appear even smaller. No matter how large (or small) your home is, the first step in staging is always to declutter as much as possible.
Remove any belongings that aren’t necessary for your daily life and aren’t needed to designate the purpose of the room. This includes small appliances, books, papers, out-of-season clothing, knickknacks, and toiletries. Pack unneeded items into boxes and put them in a rented storage unit to free up space.
2. Depersonalize as much as possible
Homes for sale in Harlem need to be a blank slate rather than boldly proclaiming their current owner’s tastes and personality. To achieve this goal, remove any highly personal items like framed photos, memorabilia from your favorite sports team, religious items, and unique artwork. Prospective buyers want to visualize themselves living in your home and anything that doesn’t match their tastes or preferences will diminish their ability to do so.
3. Remove large or excess furniture
Too much furniture in a room or large pieces of furniture can make homes for sale in Harlem look more cramped than they actually are. Look around your home, and identify which pieces are not needed to designate what the room should be used for or that are simply too large for the space. For example, a master bedroom needs only a queen-sized bed, dresser, and small nightstand.
4. Create as much light as possible
Homes that are bright appear larger and more welcoming. The best source of light is natural light, so a key part of the staging process is to remove heavy draperies or blinds and replace them with sheer options or leave them off entirely. If you have rooms that don’t get much natural light and don’t have enough overhead lighting, add floor or table lamps, and make sure to turn them all on prior to showings.
5. Boost curb appeal as much as possible
Depending on the type of Harlem real estate you are selling, you may have some exterior areas you need to pay attention to such as a stoop or front entry. As these will be the first thing prospective buyers see when they view your property in person, you need to make sure they are as appealing as possible. Make sure that any shared entryways or common areas are clean and free of clutter.
6. Address odors
Staging is not just about how homes for sale in Harlem look. Bad odors from pets, cooking, smoking, or other sources can turn off prospective buyers just as easily as cluttered countertops and dark, dingy rooms. Before you show your home, air it out by opening all the windows and removing all pets and their supplies. If odors linger, you may need to get your carpets or upholstery professionally cleaned.
7. Put on some finishing touches
As any experienced Harlem real estate agent knows, it’s sometimes the little things that sell a home. Before you have your home photographed and you start showing it, put on some finishing touches like fresh flowers in vases and luxury bath or shower products, and fluffy towels in the bathroom. You can also create a pleasant scene for buyers to imagine by setting a kitchen or dining room table with quality dishes, linen napkins, and wine glasses. The goal is to make your home look (and smell) as welcoming as possible.
Staging your home yourself can be a lot of work, which is why many of those with homes for sale in Harlem opt to use a professional. Whether you decide to go with a pro or DIY it, staging is a worthwhile project that will help your home sell.
Ready to start the pre-listing process? Reach out to one of the trusted Harlem real estate agents on The Catalyst team for advice and guidance.