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Artificial Lighting when selling

written by Jill Gargus, CID

When preparing your home for sale, the lighting subject cannot be overlooked. We covered the importance of natural lighting last week, this week we move indoors.

To fully appreciate this let me take you on a short showing through a listing that is badly lit up.

First we enter the front step and the Agent has trouble finding the key box and opening it because the exterior lights aren’t on or burnt out. After a few frustrating minutes access is finally gained and the showing begins. Upon entering the home for your booked appointment, you discover total blackness. It’s only 4 pm but it is January, so the home is pretty dark. Your agent fumbles around looking for light switches and you try to adjust your eyes to take in the sights of what might be your next “home”.

If all lighting is functional and the bulbs aren’t burnt out or too low of wattage then you get to see the digs, However, that is usually not the case and you are left wondering what this home is all about.

Moving onto the bathroom, the seller decided to save money and only has one bulb in there so it’s hard to see if there is water damage or repairs needed. The bedroom lighting is a small flush mount light with one bulb in it and the lamps are not on. The laundry has blinding florescent light and after you recover your balance you find a dingy dark basement with no strings on lights, no way to find a switch and just more disappointment.

I could go on but I think we get the point. Today showings are less than optimal for so many reasons and lighting being a large player. One of the reasons (there are more!) that I am opposed to CFL bulbs is the time they take to “warm up” and fully turn on. It’s much too slow and by this time, your buyer has already moved to the next room and is waiting for that bulb to warm up.

When you are presenting a large scale investment for sale and have only minutes to woo a buyer, you better make sure that they are able to see what you want them to buy. Remove the CFL bulbs and go for daylight bulbs or leave them on while you are out for the showing so that they have sufficient time to warm up. I realize that this means a larger power bill temporarily; however it is a small price to pay when you are selling. And besides if CFL’s are so fabulous on energy usage then it really doesn’t matter.

Another option is to keep your lamps on light timers and leave them set for the darker hours of the day/ evening depending on the season you are in. Keep in mind that Sept to March they will need to be set from 4 pm to 10 pm.

Another way to use artificial lighting to your benefit is to add more. A typical living room has 2 lamps, but you can add a floor lamp in a corner behind a chair. Entry ways can have a table and a lamp. You can also add one in the bedroom corner as well as the existing table lamps on nightstands. Add a lamp on a desk, a laundry room table and even a dining room corner with a nice vase and branches.

Upping the wattage will also help, and make sure that every space for a bulb in a fixture does actually house a bulb.

Light up corners with floor lamps or use up lighting. This involves using a small desk lamp behind a sofa chair in a dark corner, placing it on the floor and shining it upwards to light up the corner. This is especially helpful in basements where there are no windows or less natural light. Keep in mind that it has to be stable and not in danger of being a fire hazard so keep it on a timer.

Artificial lighting benefits best from neutral paint colors, as that of course makes the room look lighter. In the following newsletters I will discuss this.

We want to ensure that you have a great sale and that you are well prepared to sell quickly. Please call if you have further questions 780-452-4527