Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is Your Bathroom Staged to Impress Buyers?

Bathrooms are so important to buyers that a seductive one can be serious buyer bait, and a loser one can be a deal breaker. 

What’s important about baths is that they look as up-to-date as you can afford, and as luxurious and clean as you can manage. 

Here are some do’s and don’ts to get the look. 

Buy new towels. If you purchase only one thing brand spanking new off the shelf when it’s time to stage your home, make it bath towels. And make them look plush. The white ones get my vote. 

But if the bath is all white, some towels with colored accents or trim will liven things up a tad. I go to places like Tuesday Morning and T.J. Maxx for these kinds of fancy towels. Buy sets, not singles.

Did you know that the five-star hotels donate, or sell to their employees the guest towels as soon as they begin to lose “loft?” Take your cue from these hospitality experts. If you want the luxury look, ya gotta go fluffy.

Women are The Deciders in most home purchases. Most women can spot from across the room a towel that’s been around for awhile. Most women are very judgmental and super-sensitive about hygiene. Most woman  work hard and like being pampered. Fluffy towels are a sign of the pampered life. I am giving you permission to splurge on towels, in case you need encouragement. Women buyers will love you for it.

Paint with clear colors. Choose pale blues and greens that don’t have any warm or muddy undertones. Tell the paint salesperson you want a color with a high LRV. These letters stand for light reflective value. The higher the number, the more light that particular color reflects, and the “cleaner” the color looks. Clean is important. 

Don’t choose colors that look…how can I say this? …poopy.

Hide the ordinary toiletries. You know the drill. Ideally, there will be no “signs of life” when prospective buyers tour your home. I know it’s difficult when you live in the home and are human, but the more you can make your bathroom look like it’s part of the suite in a luxury resort, the better. That means only pretty stuff gets displayed, and grooming and medicinal essentials get tucked out of sight.

You can do it!

To keep the bath hotel-spotless and discourage people on tour from using the fancy towels, I like to tie a decorative ribbon around the ones I've artfully arranged on rods. I know that some may find this practice hokey, but I want to be practical. I don't want people using them. If they want to wash their hands, they're on their own.   

Replace non-white toilets and sinks. Most house hunters will think twice about making an offer on a house with green or pink toilets. And they want white sinks. 

Neither of these fixtures needs to be expensive. To install a toilet is not difficult. The cost, including new seat, tank kit, and wax ring, could be less than $200. You'll also find good, economical options for new bathroom sinks, vanities and vanity tops, or pedestal sinks at home improvement centers.

Add bling and texture. For all the gleam they add, updated faucets give excellent return on your investment. Consider new ones if yours are beyond polishing to newness. If you are marketing your home as a period piece -- an authentic Craftsman or Colonial, for example -- you'll want to follow through with the appropriate metal style in the baths. That could mean oil rubbed bronze or chrome or hammered nickle.

Make sure your towel bars match the faucet. If possible all hardware should match, including shower head and spout, door hinges, toilet paper holder, and towel rings. Changing out shower hardware is the tricky one because you'll probably need a plumber. The others are DIY projects.

Since baths can feel sterile, add some soft stuff. Textiles usually do the trick. If your bath has a window, dress it with fabric. A shower curtain is another chance at adding softness. Matellase is a good choice because it's classic and spa-like. The current style for shower curtains is oversized grommets threaded on the rod. Or sleek, polished chrome roller rings.

People like hotel-style curved shower rods.

Don't be incredible. The early days of over-the-top staging, where tea lights floated in tinted bath waters, and champagne flutes sat at the tub's edge, are over. People just shook their heads.

Today's staging needs to be more sophisticated. Keep it simple and tasteful, the way you would actually live if you had a maid!

Don't burn candles for a showing. Don't leave the house with easy listening instrumental music playing. Don't add fake photos as props. So wrong! 

More than in any other room, good bathroom lighting is crucial. Traditional Home.
 
Maintain the room. Once your bath is staged, the challenge will be keeping keeping it tidy. Having a container of sanitizing wipes in the vanity is a given for quick sink, toilet, and counter cleanups.

Except for the part about you having to be the room service person, you might even begin feeling like you live at a luxury hotel.

Plan to take Mr. Clean (Magic Eraser) into the shower with you. That's how I keep our glass shower doors and tile surround from getting dull, just by wiping walls as I rinse. Call me crazy, but the shine speaks for itself.

There's a book for this! Need more bathroom staging tips? Download my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar. You'll get encouragement, solutions, links, advice, and so much more. If you have a home to sell, I'll help you stage it yourself.

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