Staging has proven to sell homes faster and for more money
When staging a home for sale your ultimate goal should be to stage the property from the front curb to the back fence. When I say front curb, I mean from the instant your home becomes visible to someone driving or walking by. Everything makes an impression!
There are basically three steps when staging. Organizing, cleaning and staging.
Organize and de-clutter
Go through every closet, drawer and cabinet inside and outside of your home. You should also use this opportunity to depersonalize. Pack up anything in boxes that you won't need until you move into your next place. This should include all personal photos, trophies and awards, pictures the kids drew at school, etc...If you have a large garage or extra room that you can neatly stack everything in without it looking cluttered or detracting from the realtor’s tour, great! If not, consider renting a small storage space and removing everything from your property that you possibly can with the exception of the larger furniture pieces you will need for staging.
Expect that anyone serious will look everywhere and at everything. I always do. This is the time when a prospective buyer will give your home the white glove treatment. This is the time when they will likely try to visualize themselves living there! This is also an opportunity for you to show how organized and clean the people they are thinking of buying a home from are. This one factor alone can sell your home.
When I see that someone is meticulous and there's a "pride of ownership" feeling, I'm immediately impressed and interested in negotiating. If, on the other hand, the people don't even bother to make beds, flush toilets, do dishes or empty trash, I'm thinking, "these people are pigs". I wouldn't buy a home from people I don't respect. Besides, what other surprises are lurking just around the next corner? Surprises I may not see under after I have signed my life away and moved in.
Clean, Clean and Clean!
This cannot be stressed enough. A filthy house is only going to sell when properties are flying off the market with hardly a thought. It's important to clean everything! The oven, the refrigerator, the windows, fireplace, garage floor, basement, attic - everything!
It's important to sweep out closet floors and dust the baseboards and ceiling fan and leveler blinds - everything! If you have a shower liner, this should be changed even if it only has a little mold or few hard water spots. You want to present a fresh NEW beginning for prospective buyers!
Most people will take a day and clean the crap out of the entire house before putting it on the market. Some will hire a professional house cleaner to do the initial clean and maintain it daily themselves while the house is on the market. Still others hire a professional and have them come in once a week to keep everything looking its’ best until the house is sold. Whatever works for you works for you.
In addition to everything being really clean, the beds should be made, the window treatments open to let the natural light in, trash cans emptied, sinks and toilets checked and touched up - all daily. There is nothing more disgusting than someone else's dirty bathroom.
Also, your realtor will probably suggest that you leave the lights on in every room because your house will "show better". They are probably right but we really can't afford to waste that type of electricity any more. It's better to leave signs strategically around so the realtor can find the appropriate switches when they are actually "showing". It's just plain wasteful otherwise.
Also, the yard should look tidy – lawn mowed, leaves raked and bushes pruned where applicable. Loose firewood should be stacked neatly and preferably housed in its own special little area. Garden tools and toys should be put away. Pets should be put where they won't interfere with an agent showing your home.
Your garden lights should be on at night to showcase your home's charm in the event anyone does a drive-by in the evening. Also, keep water features maintained free of algae and fungus and always on. The movement and soothing sounds of water add a wonderful atmospheric quality when showing your home.
Beautify & Stage
Once your home has been de-cluttered, organized and thoroughly cleaned, it's time to begin the staging process. It's important to remember here that a little furniture, carefully chosen and placed is better than no furniture at all. Sales figures and statistics show that a home sells better when there's something in it. Many people have a difficult time visualizing so you've got to do some of the work for them. Lightly staged is better than over staged or not staged at all.
If your family still needs to live there until the entire selling process is complete, keeping the clutter at bay is your biggest challenge. Provide containers with lids to hide toys and other things the kids generally leave lying about.
Try to eliminate large pieces of furniture that aren't needed. Get them off the property if possible. Think about what each space in your home is likely to be being used for and stage accordingly.
A kitchen table with chairs and a nice flower arrangement, plant or bowl of fruit in the center is all that is needed to stage a dining area. A couch, chair, table and TV on an area rug are all that is really needed to stage a living room. A bed, dresser and possibly a chair is all that is needed for a bedroom. What you want to do is stage your home to look utilitarian and comfortable. Never flashy, never trendy, nothing superfluous!
If you have to paint, add appliances or put down new flooring, try to keep everything in a light colored, warm neutral. This will appeal to the most people, offend the least and allow more prospective buyers to better visualize their own stuff in the space. In other words, living there!
Buyers and buyer's agent are looking for anything they can use as leverage to make you lower your price or to test your desire to negotiate. Don't make it easy for them. When the other realtor starts talking about comparable properties, your realtor should already have researched all that and have a suitable comeback.
Selling a home is often a very stressful experience. There is so much riding on the outcome. So take some time to select an experienced realtor that understands you. And listen to their advice. You both have the same goal. To sell your home the fastest and for the most amount of money!
Light, Warm neutral colors - Minimalist decor - Super Clean and Organized - Ready to sell!
This guest post was written by Mike Stahl, self-taught interior designer and college instructor who teaches, writes and creates short videos simplifying the interior process for do it yourself decorators. Learn to inexpensively decorate like the pros in your spare time. www.doityourselfdecorator.com.