Written by Phoebe Chongchua
We know that dressing for success is important when it comes to establishing an image. Well, when it comes to selling your home, it’s important to dress it up too. Staging homes has become increasingly more popular because it works.
I think of it like setting the stage for a theatrical production. The director wants everything on the set to have a specific place. Using a critical eye, the director makes sure that the set ambiance (furniture, decorations, and even open space) is going to convey the exact feel she intends. That’s what staging can do for your potential buyers – if done correctly.
Staging a home can allow buyers to understand how to best use the space in a particular room. It de-clutters a home. Think about those pictures of model homes … you never see all the electrical cord chaos in an office, right? Instead, you see a single computer (likely an Apple because they look cool) atop the desk. There might also be a big window offering plenty of natural light and that has an unobstructed view to the outside grassy hills. Nearby, a Feng Shui combination of flowing water, rocks, and glass in some sort of ornamental water fountain might sit on a countertop. A filing cabinet that isn’t overstuffed with files takes up a small area of the room. And, yes, it’s important that it really not be overflowing. Buyers will snoop around … in closets and cabinets. Anything that looks like it’s been stuffed to capacity leaves an uneasy feeling for many buyers. But this look is streamlined. The emotional feeling conveys a non-verbal message of accomplishment, success, and an attitude that shouts, ‘Wow! I can get a lot done here!’ Bingo. That’s good staging. And, perhaps, the very thing that causes a buyer to make an offer.
You can hire an expert to stage your home. Your real estate agent will likely also have many valuable tips. And you can also start to do some things on your own. It’s often said, “You don’t stage a home the way you live in a home.” But, sometimes a staged home looks so good (if it’s practical) you might want to keep your home that way. I have seen amazing changes from home stagers…sometimes you don’t even recognize the home! Debra Gould of Six Elements, a home staging company, says that staging your home can increase the sale of your home by $10,000 to $70,000. She also points out on her Web site that “One of the side benefits of home staging is that it helps you see your house as a real estate listing instead of your home.” This gives you the chance to really think about the sale of your home from a buyer’s perspective. If you’re selling your long-time home, it might have been a while since you shopped for a home. When we live in our homes, we begin to see them through a single lens. When home staging is completed it can give your home a completely new look, transforming it into a home that others can see as theirs.
There are typically a few major tasks to act on first when it comes to staging. They are:
1. De-clutter: I know we all accumulate lots of clutter and then get used to living with it. But really, clutter is a big distraction for buyers. Often they simply can’t imagine what the home would look like without all that clutter. So, make it easy for them. Start with a clutter-free home when you list it for sale.
2. De-Personalize: do you want buyers spending more time looking at your personal photos or your home? Easy answer…so, put away the photos and trinkets. Besides, you’re moving…you need to pack them up anyway.
3. Deep clean: don’t leave dirty floors, carpets, windows, hallways, railings, or floorboards. It’s just too easy to lose a buyer’s interest due to something that really is such an easy fix.
4. Lighten and brighten: dark and mood lighting can be good for your creative ambiance but light and bright is best for showing the home.
5. Keep traditional rooms traditional. Gould writes on her Web site that she has seen hundreds of homes where the dining room is not used for its original purpose. While that might work for the homeowner, Gould explains that buyers need to see it as a dining room or else they might be inclined to think there isn’t one.
Doing just these five tips will help improve the look and feel of your home and increase the chance of buyers seeing their belongings and their family in your home—and that means you may be closer to getting and offer and, ultimately, a sale.
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