You’ve found the right Waterloo real estate agent.
You’ve followed sensible wisdom imparted by that real estate agent and repaired or replaced everything that needed fixing.
You’ve covered the basic three D’s of home staging—decluttering, depersonalization and deep cleaning.
Finally, it’s time to put your home on the market. But before you do, there’s one more thing to check. Lighting. Home lighting is one often-overlooked detail of home staging that could sabotage all your hard work, especially at a time when more people may see your home for sale online via a virtual showing the first time at least, rather than in person.
In the very important game of Real Estate First Impressions, a badly lit home puts it at an automatic disadvantage. Darkness usually makes a home look and feel smaller, uninviting and dingy, even when, in reality, that isn’t the case. Worse still, potential homebuyers may wonder what flaws are lurking in the shadows.
Lighting design is a complex topic that one can research for a long time. But, for those of you preparing your home for sale right now – or sometime in the near future – here are some basic tips to help your home make a bright, energizing impression at its next showing, whether that is online or in person.
Audit the Current Lighting Room- By- Room
The first thing you need to do is take a long, hard look at the current lighting situation in your home. Working room by room, open all the curtains and blinds, turn on all the lights and look at each space through the eyes of a buyer.
Keep in mind that showings usually happen at different times of day, so it’s good practice to repeat the exercise in the evening, when there’s less natural light and more electric light in the space may make a noticeable difference.
In places where you do spot potential problems snap a few photos so that you can begin to build a lighting task list of the problems that will need to be addresses.
Look for Non Lighting Light Issues
Sometimes “lighting problems” are really home décor problems. Dark furniture, wall colours, flooring and even ceiling colours can make a room dark no matter how much light you pour into them. If you don’t have the time/budget/desire to paint or replace these things, here are some lower-commitment options:
- Use light colored bedding, throws, slip covers, drapes, area rugs and other room-appropriate accessories to brighten the space.
- Make use of mirrors to reflect and amplify available light and make the room feel larger and more open. Try adding them to rooms with inadequate windows.
- Add light sources that can wash across dark walls. The diffused light can add to the ambient illumination and give the eye a little help when assessing the room’s true dimensions.
Update or Upgrade Old Lighting Fixtures
Dated fixtures may not be a deal-breaker, but they probably won’t show up in a buyer’s “pros” column. Replace or refurbish what you’re willing to, then install the brightest bulbs you (safely) can.
If you choose LED lights, you can get many more lumens than incandescent bulbs, all while using less energy and generating less heat.
Add More Lighting On an As Needed Basis
If your existing lighting setups still aren’t getting the job done, you may need to call for some reinforcements.
- Bedside lamps, desk lamps and under-cabinet lighting can all add to your overall light profile while also highlighting attractive details, like your backsplash or countertops. In the case of the latter you can add lighting with no wiring needed, by installing inexpensive, battery powered stick on LED lights that are only illuminated during showings.
- Vanity lighting in the bathrooms should be bright and consistent, with no drastic shadows and glare. Adding sconces beside the mirrors may help you achieve this.
- Attractive table lamps may offer visual interest, as well as much-needed light in a living room, den or game room. No surfaces for lamps? Consider torchieres or other floor lamps.
- Accent lighting can draw attention to a room’s focal points, such as the mantle or built-in shelving.
- Tread lighting can help brighten a staircase—and provide added safety benefits!
- Tall ceilings shrouded in shadows? Your lighting may be placed too low. Consider adding a ceiling fixture, track lighting or pendants, depending on your space.
Don’t Overlook the Importance of Exterior Lighting
Curb appeal is just as important at night as it is during the day. Potential buyers may drive by at any hour to check out your home and neighbourhood. And evening showings are far from unheard of.
A well-lit exterior not only invites buyers, it also discourages burglars. Your buyers may not be consciously thinking about it, but they will probably feel safer in your neighborhood, the more light they see.
Path lighting creates a welcoming impression and, like tread lighting, helps decrease tripping hazards, very important, as the last thing you need is to have a potential homebuyer injured as they make their way up the path to view your home.