Selling The Lifestyle: Home Staging

Before you present your listing to any potential buyers, it’s of the utmost significance to make sure it has been staged perfectly.  Stage smart to highlight each of the home’s strengths while playing down any potential weaknesses.  By following these simple tips and tricks, the property will appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers while showing them how fabulous the property has the potential to be, making it be on the market for as little time as possible and the selling price high!

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The most important thing you can do to prepare the home is to rid of any and all clutter. For every new item that comes in, an old one must leave. Clear all unneeded items including any unwanted or too old furniture throughout the house, and rearrange some of the furniture if necessary. Reposition sofas and chairs into conversational groupings, and place the pieces in a way that shows an obvious flow. “Thin out” overcrowded rooms, making them appear larger by taking out anything you can. A de-cluttered home will help the buyer mentally “move in” and envision their own furniture in the home.

If the current owner has a design aesthetic that is reflected throughout the house that would in any way detract from the home’s value, consider hiring a professional staging service to come in and give the property a bit of a facelift by bringing in new furniture and decor. A revamp like this is certainly worth the cost and will ensure that the house is shown for what is has to offer to another owner. Distracting furniture that is too evocative of a particular commonly unpopular style or is very dated will undoubtedly lower the price that a buyer is willing to pay, as they’ll see the house in a completely different light than they otherwise would.

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Staging is not just about the furniture and the main living spaces; don’t forget about the most important room in a house, the room where family comes together, prepares meals and talks to one another most, the kitchen! Kitchen countertops should be kept spotless, first and foremost. Clearing refrigerator fronts of any magnets, pictures, notes, etc. is important as well. For a quick fix, instead of replacing outdated kitchen cabinets, stain them. This is a very cost effective fix that will change the whole look of the cabinets without having to pay for updates. While in the bathroom, keep only the most essential toiletries in one small grouping on the counter; display nice perfumes if possible. Towels should be coordinated in one or two colors only. Make sure the bathroom walls are scrubbed clean – this is an area frequently forgotten about that usually needs some TLC!

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In every room, make sure patching and painting of all walls is complete. Also, pay attention to the number of family photos that are on display; a portrait above the mantle is a nice touch, but try to keep the family photos to a minimum so potential buyers can visualize their own family in the house.

If the owners are willing, have adjacent rooms painted the same color to make each appear larger than it is. This will give the home a nice flow and not feel so broken up by room.

The master bedroom should be able to appeal to both sexes; ensure that nothing in the master suite feels too gender specific. Neutral walls and bedding are always best. Make sure that the carpet and drapes are clean throughout, as well.

On the day of the showing, it’s extremely important to make sure that each light in the house is on – this seems obvious, but is easily forgotten. This will make the home feel especially warm and inviting. Always play light background music that is current and upbeat and reflective of the style and neighborhood of the home. In terms of candles, a great deal of research has shown that scents in a home can very drastically change a potential buyer’s opinion. While this can be positive if the candle burning happens to be one of the buyer’s favorite scents, the risk of burning a fragrance that conjures up bad memories for them or is a scent they simply do not care for is far too high to chance it. Instead, make sure the home is deeply cleaned, windows and French doors are open to let in fresh air, and fresh flowers are ample.

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If there is a fireplace, make sure it’s in working condition; a fireplace can be a valuable extra in buyers’ eyes and will make the home feel all the more inviting. If the weather is permitting, light it for the showing and make sure it has been cleaned.

In regards to the exteriors, walk around the perimeter of the property and make sure all garbage cans and excess items have been moved to the garage. Be sure the gutters and roof have been swept and cleaned and examined for dry rot and moss. Examine all plants by ensuring that bushes and trees are pruned. Remove plants that are blocking windows to make sure that buyers can actually see the home. Lawns should be freshly cut and fertilized during the growing season. Also, check the condition of the paint fn the home, paying special attention to the front door and trim. Storage space outside or inside is always a plus for a buyer; if there is a storage shed that would be embarrassing for the owners to open because it is jam packed, make sure they edit through the space, rid of clutter and relocate the items so the buyer can see how much they will be able to store away. If there are any lights outside the home, make sure they’re turned on and are cleaned, not covered in dust or cobwebs… the first impression is crucial and it’s all in the details!

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To help you and the owners envision what needs to be done, always picture the house “through a buyer’s eyes.” When buyers are trying to make a purchase, they are hoping to have to make the most minimal amount of changes possible. Creating a nice flow of the house, de-cluttering and deep cleaning will make the home all the more appealing to each and every buyer, each of whom are looking for different things, so be sure to check off everything on this list to impress each one of them. When you stage a home, either by giving the owners tips on small fixes that they can make, or even by hiring a professional, the home will usually stay on the market for far less time and sell at a higher price. Always be promoting not only the property itself, but the lifestyle it offers, which is really what the buyers are most interested in anyways.

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