Do I Need to Clean Up My Attic Before I List My House?
Q: I am about to put my house on the market, and would like to feature the large, open, unfinished attic for potential finishing and use …
Q: I am about to put my house on the market, and would like to feature the large, open, unfinished attic for potential finishing and use. Presently, it has unpainted plywood flooring. Do you have any suggestions for how to best stage this space, with minimal cost and work?
A: Resist the urge to throw time and money at an unfinished attic. Instead, focus your energy on the rooms where you spend the most time: the living room, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms. You want a buyer to walk through your front door and immediately imagine living in your home. By the time they get to the attic, they should be making plans for how they’ll decorate the living room and primary bedroom.
“The point of staging is to have a buyer walk in and absolutely fall in love with the space and feel like, ‘I’m trading what I have now for something better,’” said Donna Dazzo, the owner of Designed to Appeal, a home staging and redesign company that services New York and the Hamptons. “That’s where your dollars should go because you need to engender that feeling.”
If you’ve fully invested in the main living areas and still have some nickels in your budget (and energy in your tank), go ahead and turn your attention to the unfinished attic. Assuming the attic has stairs leading up to it and not a pull-down ladder, simple staging could give buyers a visual sense of its potential.
You could fashion the space as an exercise room with a yoga mat, exercise ball and weights. Or, create a faux bedroom with an air mattress set atop a few cardboard boxes hidden beneath a duvet. “It gives the buyer the sense of how to use the space,” Ms. Dazzo said.
If you’re feeling inspired, paint the floors, walls and ceiling white, adding a pop of color with a framed poster or area rug. Or give the space a bohemian vibe with lush plants, a rattan chair and a standing lamp. “If you can use the staging to distract from the fact that there is so much to do, it does help people get excited about the property,” said Kirsten Jordan, an associate broker with Douglas Elliman. Another option: get an estimate from a contractor for what a renovation might cost and include that detail in the listing.
For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on Twitter: @nytrealestate.