Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How To Stage Your Home For Potential Buyers

Staging your home can be one of the hardest parts of the selling process. It requires stepping away from your own personality, aesthetic, and use of the space to objectively consider how you can highlight the best aspects of the property and help a variety of potential buyers envision themselves living there. Fortunately, we have a few tips to make staging simpler and more successful.

Don't let potential buyers see this!
Copyright © abbamouse 
Creative Commons. 

  • Clear out the clutter. This will also help you pack more efficiently. Go through the entire house and pack up anything you don't need to use frequently to get through your day. Kitchen appliances, canisters of ingredients, candles, knickknacks, extra books, even excess furniture should all get packed into boxes and put into either the attic or storage. The fewer things you have out, the blanker a slate you leave for potential buyers to picture their own things there, and the easier it will be for you to keep things tidy between showings.
  • Be prepared to rearrange. You might have used the rooms in the house one way, but that doesn't mean everyone would and you might be downplaying some great features. A spare bedroom you were using as an office, for example, might be more appealing to potential buyers if you take out the desk and bookshelves and put in a daybed or a crib. A room that you were using as a TV den might look better without the clunky home theater system and instead put together as a formal entertaining space. Use your imagination, and don't be afraid to ask friends, relatives, or your realtor for advice.
  • Buy a few things for staging. Yes, even though you just put all your extra stuff out of sight. You want it to look finished, yet neutral, not stripped bare. When rearranging the rooms, you might need to pick up some inexpensive furniture to stage that office as a bedroom. Or you might need some generic decor items to fill in any gaps or give the house a showroom vibe. Think in terms of jars of oil with colorful peppers suspended in them, clear jars filled with bright pasta, or a simple vase holding decorative cattails or twigs. These things can help make a place look inviting without looking half empty after you've removed the really personal finishing touches.
Staging done right.
Copyright © urbaneapts 
Creative Commons. 
  • Contemplate paint. Just as buying a few things for staging can save you money and time on the market in the long run, so can painting the walls. There's a reason that on newly constructed homes, many builders paint the walls in shades of white and beige. Sure, they might not be everyone's favorite colors, but they are generally inoffensive and easy to paint over. It makes it easier for the buyer to see their furniture and decor fitting into the space since neutral tones match more things than, say, a bright red kitchen or a lime green accent wall.
  • During the holidays, don't go overboard. You may love Halloween or Christmas, but holiday decorating is very personal and what seems fun and festive to one person might seem overbearing and tacky to another. Seasonal touches can make the house welcoming and timely, but simple and nondenominational is always the way to go. At Halloween, consider small, simple displays of dried gourds or a couple pumpkins on the porch. For Christmas, basic white lights and greenery are secular decor items that fit into a wintery theme that can appeal to almost anyone, and won't necessarily make the place look cluttered or overdone.
  • Think about what you like to see when you're looking for a new home. If you've moved before, or have already started looking for the next house, try to figure out what the sellers at the properties you liked best did to make it inviting, accessible, and appealing. Did they arrange the bed linens and bath towels so that you felt a little like you were at a hotel? Was the kitchen cleared out? Were there fresh flowers on the coffee table or home made cookies in the breakfast nook? Don't be afraid to copy touches from other sellers to stage your own home more effectively.

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