Staging Your House

Staging

Another way to say prepare your home to sell, is to call it staging,  Make your home warm and inviting to boost your home’s value and speed up the sale process. If you need help, maybe you have a talented friend or hire a stager to help.

Check out the competition.
The first step to selling success is to find out what you’re up against. Before and during the selling process, visit other property open houses to see how your home measures up.When you’re out, here are a few things to note

• Property condition

• Highlighted features

• Move-in readiness

• Staging tactics that will work for you

Start with a clean slate

The first step of staging is cleaning.   Before you can worry about where to place furniture and which wall hanging should go where, each room in your home must be spotless. Do a thorough cleaning right down to the nit-picky details like wiping down light switch covers. Deep clean and deodorize carpets and window coverings.

  • Clean inside and out.
    Everyone thinks they know what “clean” means when it comes to their own home. Here’s where an agent or professional stager can be super helpful. Invite them in to get an outsiders opinion on how to make the nooks and crannies you’ve forgotten about glisten.  Also remember, the best selling homes tend to have garages, basements, side yards, and other outdoor spaces that are just as immaculate as their kitchens, bathrooms and master bedrooms.
  • Dive into the trim and details early.
    It’s tempting, when staging, to do the big jobs-painting walls, polishing floors, moving furniture-and to run out of steam and cash before the little details get handled.  Some of the least expensive home staging projects can carry the most powerful buyer-impressing payload. Here are few details to tackle to make your listing standout

    • Clean or paint baseboards and other trim
    • Ensure locks, doors, and drawers work properly
    • Paint or replace outdoor accents like house
      numbers or mailboxes

Stow away your clutter

Another step of staging is de-cluttering.   It’s harder for buyers to picture themselves in your home when they’re looking at your family photos, collectibles, and knickknacks. Pack up all your personal decorations. However, don’t make spaces like mantles and coffee and end tables barren. Leave three items of varying heights on each surface. For example, place a lamp, a small plant, and a book on an end table.

  • Eliminate the excess.
    Before you head out to buy new accessories to “spruce up your home,” focus first on items you can remove that will enhance a buyer’s experience.The best signs of things you should eliminate are the things that you aren’t using and those you’re planning to get rid of before you move.
  • Pre-pack personal items.
    Depersonalizing and decluttering are the most critical steps of staging, but they can be a challenge. To make it easier,start by pre-packing and storing away the items you won’t need until after the move and anything personal (like family photos) that might prevent buyers from envisioning the home as their own.
  •  Clear off the counter space.
    When it comes to the tops of your tables and counters, less is more. Clear off your counter spaces except for the occasional decorative or functional pieces (clocks or vases of flowers).  Remember, your goal is to help buyers see themselves in a home and they can’t do that with your stuff in the way.

Scale back on your furniture

Another step of staging is minimizing.  When a room is packed with furniture, it looks smaller, which will make buyers think your home is less valuable than it is. Make sure buyers appreciate the size of each room by removing one or two pieces of furniture. If you have an eat-in dining area, using a small table and chair set makes the area seem bigger.

Rethink your furniture placement

Now we get to what most people think staging is….but without the earlier steps this is not too effective.  Highlight the flow of your rooms by arranging the furniture to guide buyers from one room to another. In each room, create a focal point on the farthest wall from the doorway and arrange the other pieces of furniture in a triangle around the focal point. In the bedroom, the bed should be the focal point. In the living room, it may be the fireplace, and your couch and sofa can form the triangle in front of it.

Float furniture away from walls, reposition it into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in the room is obvious. In most cases, this means keeping the perimeters clear. “When you place furniture in a room, envision a figure-eight or the letter H in the middle, with clear pathways around it.”   Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, it will open up the room and make it seem larger.

Give yourself permission to move furniture, artwork and accessories between rooms on a whim. Just because you bought that armchair for the living room, for instance, doesn’t mean it won’t look great anchoring a sitting area in your bedroom. Or try perching that little-used dining room table in front of a window, top it with buffet lamps and other accessories and press it into service as a writing desk or library table. And as for that now-empty dining room? Flank an ottoman or cocktail table with a loveseat and comfy chairs for an instant conversation nook.

Add color to brighten your rooms

AAAHHHH the art of staging….color.  Brush on a fresh coat of warm, neutral-color paint in each room. Ask your real estate agent for help choosing the right shade. Then accessorize. Adding a vibrant afghan, throw, or accent pillows for the couch will jazz up a muted living room, as will a healthy plant or a bright vase on your mantle. High-wattage bulbs in your light fixtures will also brighten up rooms and basements.

Let the sun shine in.

Let nature do the staging with sunlight!  “We almost always take off old, heavy drapery and put something light, airy, and gauzy in its place.” This allows natural light to shine into a room and makes a closed-in space seem larger. Simple sheers on a tension rod are great for screening an unattractive view and providing a bit of privacy while still letting in lots of light and making a room look larger.

If you have lovely vistas from a window, try doing away with treatments altogether. If privacy is paramount, Roman shades will block the neighbors’ view of your bathtub but still let you gaze at the sky while you soak. Designed to Sell’s Lisa LaPorta favors bamboo or parchment shades and simple curtain panels made from fine cotton twill or translucent linen, because all let light stream in during the day, provide privacy at night and add touchable texture to a room. Or consider investing in home stager Christopher Breining’s favorite window treatments: Sheer fabric shades with built-in blinds (Hunter Douglas offers several options). “They look great and offer so much versatility,” he says.

Other window-treatment tips: If windows are narrow, extend curtain rods a foot or so on each side to suggest width. If your ceilings are low, hang rods at the ceiling line and consider window treatments with vertical stripes to create the illusion of height.

Light the way.

One of the things that make staged homes look so warm and welcoming is great lighting design. As it turns out, many of our own homes are improperly lit. We either have too few fixtures, or our lighting is too dim, or it’s as harsh as a spotlight. To remedy bad lighting and make your home more inviting, increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures. Aim for a total of 100 watts for every 50 square feet. Then install dimmers so you can vary light levels according to your mood and the time of day. This is a relatively simple project for a do-it-yourselfer, or you can hire an electrician for a couple of hours to do several at once. And while you’re at it, be sure to replace those dingy, almond-colored light-switch covers with crisp white ones. New covers cost less than a buck apiece and are a quick, easy update.

Don’t depend on just one or two fixtures per room, either. It’s just as important to layer lighting as it is to have sufficient wattage, Breining points says. So go for ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, undercabinet, or reading), and accent (table and wall) lighting. “A combination of overhead, floor, table, and accent lighting creates great ambience,” the San Francisco stager says. “Having lights on different planes provides good illumination and makes the room interesting.”

One thing that’s always in Breining’s bag of tricks: uplights. “You can buy one for as little as $5 at home-improvement stores and hide it behind a potted plant — it creates incredible drama.” Another hint: Place mirrors, silver or glass bowls, or other reflective objects near lamps to bounce light around the room and make it glow even more.

Set the scene

Lay logs in the fireplace, and set your dining room table with dishes and a centerpiece of fresh fruit or flowers. Create other vignettes throughout the home—such as a chess game in progress—to help buyers envision living there. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.

Make your bathrooms feel luxurious by adding a new shower curtain, towels, and fancy guest soaps (after you put all your personal toiletry items are out of sight). Judiciously add subtle potpourri, scented candles, or boil water with a bit of vanilla mixed in. If you have pets, clean bedding frequently and spray an odor remover before each showing.

Make the entrance grand

Mow your lawn and trim your hedges, and turn on the sprinklers for 30 minutes before showings to make your lawn sparkle. If flowers or plants don’t surround your home’s entrance, add a pot of bright flowers. Top it all off by buying a new doormat and adding a seasonal wreath to your front door.

Be brutally honest with yourself.
When you think you’re done preparing your home, think again. It’s not overkill to go out on a Sunday afternoon,walk through a few Open Houses, get back in the car and drive home to walk through it like a buyer would. Ask yourself: What can you edit or declutter?  What is distracting? What stops a buyer from seeing the possibilities for their own family here?  If all else fails, take your agent with you. Arm him or her with a packet of post-it notes and give them free rein to stick one on anything that should be removed before showing the home. Then get that stuff out of there!

 

House looks great.  It is now time to determine…..How Much is My Home Worth.