When you are trying to sell a historic home, there are a few things you might consider changing in your marketing compared to selling a newer house. Old homes attract a different set of buyers that are typically looking for something very specific. Showcasing your home to appeal to those needs will be necessary since you are competing for a smaller number of potential buyers.
Staging homes has gained popularity in the last decade and can be used to highlight the great features of your historic home in order to sell it faster. Staging doesn’t necessarily mean bringing in all new furniture and remodeling, it can be done using what you already have or in a lot of cases simply removing what you currently have in order to show more of the house off. Here are a few tips we use when marketing a historic house for sale.
Emphasize the Architecture
Buyers that want a historic home are looking for period details, whether it’s Queene Anne towers, or Stick Style trim details, they want to see the varied width original wood floors, the Greek moldings, fireplace mantels and wavy glass panes. In order to show off these details you will want to take a look at furniture arrangements, move rugs around to allow more of the wood floors to be seen, arrange living rooms to focus on the fireplace, make sure lighting is one and clean to direct the eye to ceilings with decorative plaster work or moldings.
Choose Appropriate Window Coverings
Large heavy draperies may have been the style in the Victorian era, but today’s buyers want to see a home filled with light. If your historic home is an estate home with large proportions, you may be able to incorporate custom window coverings that are period appropriate, but if your house is smaller you will want to consider leaving windows uncovered or using shutters where called for.
Historic Wall Colors
The cheapest, best way to show off any home is by painting rooms. Paint can change the look of any room, and it is inexpensive. Use neutral historic colors to help enlarge spaces, and consider using bolder historical colors to showcase details such as moldings where period appropriate.
Lovers of historic houses tend to be collectors, but we need to look at our homes as a buyer. Since older homes tend to have small rooms, especially bedrooms, it is doubly important to declutter. Most stagers suggest removing a third of your furniture, and making sure at least one-third of your closets are empty. In historic homes you will want to concentrate on mantels, floors, window sills and walls. Buyers want to be able to see the details and envision their own possessions in the space so give them room to imagine.
Although buyers are all about historic details, they do need to live in today’s world which typically means they want a working kitchen and indoor plumbing, and least! While this is probably the first thing you tackled if it was needed when you bought the home, now is a good time to take a look and make sure that everything is working and that it blends into the period details of your home. Buyers don’t want something that looks too modern, but it does have to function as modern as possible.
You can breathe a sigh of relief here, buyers do not expect your home to be filled with period pieces! Most historic homes are a mix of furniture that can be best described as transitional. Owners have a few pieces that represent history that they love, mixed in with normal modern furniture that is livable and usable. Buyers want to see that their furnishings will fit in the home, and unless it is an estate home of museum quality, they will likely own normal furniture just like you.