To plot to not to plot? 

Your questions help me help you. Whether the questions come through email, blog comments, Facebook, or friends, they tell me what nitty-gritty dilemmas people face when they want to sell a house.

Here are some of the questions I’ve received lately, and my answers.

Let Garden Grow?

Q: We have a 12- by 12-foot vegetable garden in our rather small backyard. Is a garden like this an asset or a liability when it’s time to sell?

A: Most people want an easy-care or no-maintenance yard. But the idea of a small vegetable plot is still appealing to many people, especially during the growing season. If you want to keep the garden while your home is on the market, keep it tidy during any off-season, and consider adding hardscape like stepping stones, attractive fencing, and birdhouses.

During the growing season, keep it free of weeds, mulch it, and make it look abundant. "Staged" this way, it becomes a selling point. 
If your buyers decide they don’t want a garden, they can always convert a reasonably-sized garden into lawn, or use the space as a basis for something else, like a patio, above ground pool, play area, or dog run. 

Storm Door or Not?

A handsome storm door that functions well
will add value to your home.
Q: Our house has a storm door over the front door. It keeps out the cold in winter, and converts to a screen door in summer, so we like it. But I don’t think it looks great. Should we remove it?

A: If the storm door hides a pretty front door and seriously detracts from curb appeal, I’d consider removing it. Or I’d remove it if it’s a dated style and your home is fairly up-to-date otherwise. If the door does become history, you’ll want to putty and paint over the screw holes in the trim around the door.

In the interest of curb appeal, some home sellers remove the storm door while the home is for sale, and store it so it can be replaced if the new buyers want it. 

The right storm and screen door won't be an eyesore. Can you replace the door with a new one that is contemporary and really helps with the way a home shows?

If you do replace a storm door, make sure its character is in keeping with your home's innate style.

Make sure the glass stays clean, and that the darn thing doesn't bang the heels of people entering, one of my personal pet peeves. 

Uncooperative Spouse

Q: My husband doesn’t believe we should spend money on staging. Any advice?

A: Instead of pleading or nagging, enlist the aid of your Realtor. Any Realtor will be able to give statistics and stories about homes that didn’t sell because they were not staged, and success stories of homes that were effectively staged.

I give more tips on how to be deal with a partner who doesn’t see the value of staging, in my $4.99 eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar. 

Big Home Small Budget

Staging a large home after you've moved can be daunting, but there are a few alternatives. 
Q: I’m selling a large, vacant house. If I can’t spend money to “do it right,” should I skip it?

A: This is a common quandary. The best advice I can offer is to do what you can.

One possibility is that you can omit an entire section of the house, such as the second floor, or a basement. Concentrate on making the necessary living quarters – at least one bedroom, one bath, the living room and the kitchen – as well-staged as possible.

The downside of the partial staging solution is that buyers may think you’ve moved to your next home, and are therefore even more desperate to sell and willing to entertain low ball offers. You can let your realtor know that you’ve staged the house the way some builders will stage a model home.

If you do decide to leave the home vacant, be sure everything is spotless and in great condition. Paint the walls and trim if necessary and have the entire house smelling good.

Do you have a question about home staging? I'd love to hear from you!