I did a little Cable TV show last week about Staging homes. Before we started, the Moderator asked "What is Staging exactly"? And then, as we were moving furniture out of a house that sold this week, the next door neighbor asked what we were doing. When we said we had staged the house, he asked the same question…"What do you mean by Staging"? And then, looking back, I don't ever think I truly defined what staging is in this blog……..so that's today's topic!
In a nutshell, the Wikipedia definition says it best:
Home staging is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money. Staging techniques focus on improving a property's appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want.
The second sentence is the most important…….the entire reason you stage a home before you sell is to get the most money you can for a very valuable asset. When I teach classes to Seniors on downsizing and selling, I explain to them that it's like selling your car……you want the most money you can get, so you clean out all the clutter, vacuum the seats and floor, wash the outside and then you show it to a buyer. No different with a house!
It's really simple and proven………….STAGED HOUSES SELL FASTER
Here are six tricks from staging pros that will give you the home-court advantage:
- Get On Your Hands and Knees and Clean
OK, so cleaning up sounds like a given, but this goes way beyond a vacuum cleaner and a dust rag. To get your home in shape for sale, you need to scrub around the faucets and the light switches. Banish the dustballs hanging around the baseboards and the cobwebs in the skylights. Powerwash the house and the driveway and keep the sidewalk swept clean.
- Follow the Basketball Rule
It's no secret that America is a nation of consumers. And all of that stuff we buy is strewn about our homes.
In the living room of one luxurious home that Schwarz staged, she unearthed a grand piano beneath mounds of clutter — something she did not notice when she first visited. So while you might like being surrounded by your collection of trophy fish or glass figurines, these items can be a real turnoff to a potential buyer.
Here's a rule of thumb: Remove all items that are smaller than the size of a basketball. Pack up at least half of your books. And stash the photographs of you and the kids on your Hawaiian vacation.
You want the buyer to be able to envision himself in your home — not you.
- Color Your Walls
Yes, of course your bright red dining room and purple living room are exquisite and fit your style to a tee. But the truth is that a prospective buyer is unlikely to appreciate your extraordinary taste and doesn't want to have to paint everything down after closing on the house.
Cover your walls in neutral, complementary hues. They make rooms look expansive.
- Cast a Cold Eye
Stand at the doorway of each room and take in the impression it gives. Are there too many accessories on the wall? Too many area rugs? Do the plants look overgrown? Is the furniture clustered on one side of the room?
"Most master bedrooms have too much," says Schwarz. "They tend to look like furniture stores."
In the dining room, remove extra leaves and chairs. In other rooms, take at least half of everything out and see how it looks. Then reintroduce items into the room sparingly. Be sure to visit your garage, basement, and attic for inspiration. Go ahead and show some flair, but leave any dramatic artwork — especially nudes — out.
- Set the Scene
If you're expecting an agent to stop by with a potential buyer, there are several last-minute touches you need to do before leaving the house. Empty the wastebaskets, put the toilet lids down, hide your laundry and grooming items, and place baskets of new, color coordinated hand towels in the bathroom. Always leave some lights on.
And have soft jazz or easy listening music playing. It will put people in a buying mood.
- Call in the Pros if you need to
If staging your home is too big a project to pull off by yourself, there are scores of professionals willing to give you a hand