Staging your home is Marketing 101. You want your house to stand out from everyone else’s. Staged homes sell faster and for more money. So, consider the small expense of staging to be an investment, not a cost. Many realtors stage homes for their clients by suggesting that they repaint, remove window treatments, and get rid of clutter. Effective staging, however, involves much more than that. It’s selecting the right “props,” getting rid of furniture and other items that make the space look cluttered and smaller. It’s also about adding finishing touches that produce an appealing look and creating focal points in the main living areas.
A properly staged home shows the home’s possibilities and potential, creates an inviting space to inspire potential buyers, and generates a mood befitting the home (inside and outside).
Remember… First Impressions are Lasting Impressions
Potential buyers will size up your home before they even enter. If your home lacks curb appeal, many prospective buyers will reject it without looking further or will try to lowball you on price. Here are a few tips to turn browsers into buyers:
• Paint the house if paint is peeling or looking dull.
• Display easy-to-read house numbers.
• Mow the lawn and trim the shrubs.
• Wash the windows.
• Power wash siding and walkways.
• Make any repairs that make the outside of the house look unappealing.
• Be sure the doorbell works.
• Select a doormat that compliments the architecture and color of your house. (One that says Welcome” works, but monograms and team doormats don’t).
• Remove garbage bins and anything else that may be unsightly. (As obvious as that sounds, I’ve seen that many times.)
Sure the Foyer is Appealing
The foyer is the first space potential buyer will see once they enter your home. Add color through artwork, place fresh/silk flowers, or a table lamp on a hall table, and lay a gorgeous area rug down to add warmth and interest. Don’t forget scent. Have a dish with potpourri or lay an incense stick on the ledge over the door trim. If you don’t have a foyer, you can create a sense of entrance by placing an interesting chair or small table near the front door.
Get Rid of the Clutter
Once you decide to sell your home, it’s really no longer your home. Think of it as a commodity. Get rid of the clutter. The major contributors to a cluttered look are too much furniture, too many knickknacks, too many family photos, too many items on the walls, and too many things on the refrigerator door. Take a hard look at what you have, and ask yourself what you can live without. You can always rent temporary storage for large items you need to remove but will want to use in your next dwelling. And if you won’t use those items, discard them. There are many organizations that will be glad to get them.
Add Some Interesting, Colorful Accessories
This doesn’t contradict removing clutter. For example, after you’ve removed the small appliances, canister set, and recipe books from your countertops, place a colorful bowl of fruit on the center island, put a place setting at the table or counter, or place some colorful bottles of cooking oil with a cookbook on a bookstand. This will make the kitchen look like a cozy place to gather.
Play Musical Chairs
Consider moving furniture, artwork, and accessories into other rooms. Just because you bought that armchair for the family room doesn’t mean it won’t look great anchoring a sitting area in your bedroom. And the hope chest at the foot of your bed may make a lovely piece in a hallway or foyer. Try refinishing the piece to give it a fresh, new look.
Make Your Dining Room Appear Larger
Remove a leaf and use fewer chairs to make the dining room look larger. Consider putting a colorful runner on the table but not a table cloth (which will make the room appear smaller). And if you have nice hardwood flooring, show it off instead of having an area rug.
Paint for Larger-Looking Rooms
If you want to make a room appear larger, paint it the same color as the adjacent rooms. This creates a seamless look that will give the illusion of both rooms feeling like one larger space. For an even greater illusion, paint your walls the same color as your window treatment. Also, remove all the wallpaper.
Make Sure Each Room is Well Lit
Many homes have improper lighting, making them cold and unwelcoming. Increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures, and use dimmers. Don’t depend on just one or two fixtures per room. Try to have a variety of lighting in each room: ambient lighting (overhead), task lighting (under cabinets or reading), and accent lighting (on tables and walls.) And when your house is being shown, make sure all the lights are on. This is especially true if you don’t have natural sunlight streaming in.
Raid Your Yard
Nicely staged homes usually have fresh flowers. Instead of buying them, pick them from your yard. Forsythias come out in the spring and make a cheery arrangement in a vase. Blazing fall foliage can warm up your décor on a chilly fall day. And holly branches (heavy with berries) will add holiday spirit during the cold winter months.
In conclusion… When potential buyers can see their family and friends lounging in the family room, relaxing and watching television, or sitting around for a candlelight dinner, they’ll think they found the holy grail. The next thing you’ll see on your front lawn is a sign that reads SOLD.