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tips for home staging

Three Tips for Home Staging

by Josh Kruk

The benefits of staging a home for sale have been validated in countless television shows that follow the process from start to finish.  With the warm-weather selling season about to hit full stride, it might be helpful to know just a bit more about home staging in case you are thinking about selling your home either this year or in the near future.

Staging is a process that most homeowners can do themselves, or they can hire one of the many professional staging organizations to come into their homes and do the work.  The staging process involves three following three steps:

  1. Decluttering
  2. Repairing and organizing
  3. Redesigning select spaces in your home

Staging helps a home seller in two ways: It helps accentuate the positive attributes of a home and deemphasizes most of the perceivable negatives a home might have from a buyer’s point of view.   These two steps can translate into a higher sales price for the home.

Step One: Decluttering

The first step, decluttering, is where you begin the staging process.  Home buyers are buying space.  Household clutter is not only unsightly, but also it consumes space, both physically and visually.  Yes, you still have to live in your home, and yes, your things are near and dear to your heart and make your house your home.  But your collection of Medieval weaponry might be off-putting to a potential buyer.  So the best thing to do is pack your swords away (you will have to do it eventually when you move) and anything else on your walls, tables, curio cabinets and bookshelves that distracts from the space available in your rooms.  You can rent a temporary storage space for the items you clear out of your rooms, closets, garage and basement so that each space in your home looks airy and clutter-free.

Home sellers generally have the most difficulty in temporarily parting with their family photos.   But most professional home stagers will tell you that family photos are too personal and inhibit buyers from picturing themselves in your rooms.  You can get a head start on your move by packing up photos before you list your home for sale.

The best way to visualize the effect of decluttering is to recall the last time you were in a professionally decorated model home.  These spaces are designed to sell homes and because no one lives there; model homes are not cluttered with stuff.  But they are well designed with items that appeal to a wide variety of decorating tastes. They don’t feature too many items, just enough to add warmth and a broadly-appealing personality.  This doesn’t mean you should go out and buy generic things; you probably have something appropriate already.  Just be selective when it comes to accessories, and keep in mind that fewer is better.

Staging your home for sale

Step Two: Repairing and Reorganizing

Most homeowners have learned to live with the little imperfections in their homes.  A small crack in the tile here, peeling caulk there—we all probably have more of these little issues than we would like to admit.  With a decluttered home, all the little imperfections (and big problems) are no longer obscured by stuff, and that is actually a good thing.  Once you have identified the areas in your home that need repair, you can fix them before listing your home.  Buyers will see an impeccably maintained home and have the peace of mind that they aren’t failing to see a flaw they can’t live with.  And you won’t be faced with significant repairs that an inspector will undoubtedly find that may affect the deal price or kill the deal entirely.

After the little repairs are taken care of, you can begin to organize your spaces.  Make sure your closets aren’t overstuffed and that clothing is hung neatly.  Try to keep shoes, etc., off the closet floor to make the space look bigger.  One trick for organizing closets is to hang similar items together and group like items by color.  So, all white dress shirts should be hung together and all slacks should be grouped together by color.  It really does make your closets look more organized.

Take a look at your kitchen drawers and cabinets.  (Buyers will look in both!)  If possible, pack away all the seldomly used items and group other items together so that the spaces makes sense.  All cereals should shelved together and all spatulas in one place should be in one drawer, etc.  Your organized spaces tell buyers that there is plenty of space for their things to remain orderly as well.

Basements, garages, and any other storage areas of your home should be similarly organized. Boxes you have packed in advance of your move can be stacked neatly in your basement or garage or in a temporary storage facility. Remember, the goal is to have buyers remember the space, not your things.

Step three: Staging

The trick to staging a room is to have it look spacious, welcoming and warm.  You have already eliminated the clutter, so now you just need to arrange your furnishings to emphasize the spaciousness of each room.

Make sure your furniture does not block the natural traffic flow into and through your rooms.  Center furniture on the room’s focal point.  For example, if you have a living room fireplace, that’s the focal point around which to arrange your sofa and a chair or two.  Again, less is more so edit your furniture if you can’t achieve a good traffic flow with everything in there.

Tables, bookcases, nightstands, and the like should be emptied.  All that should remain are a few books on each shelf (so the buyers can see the shelves and bookcase back) and an item or two on a coffee table.  Nightstands should have just a clock and a lamp and really nothing else.  Bathroom vanities and tub surrounds should also have perhaps one or two items—a rolled towel perhaps—and nothing else. Again, think back to the last model home you went through.  It was clean, nicely arranged and featured a few well-chosen items.  Nothing more.

In the end, it is all about the buyer.  You’ll want to highlight all the positive aspects of your home, and the buyer will need to see these to appreciate them.  Any negatives can be made to look a bit more positive—small rooms can be made to appear more spacious by removing both furniture and clutter.  The added benefit of comprehensive staging is that the seller is at least partially packed for moving day—a luxury anyone can appreciate.

All-about-home-staging.com is the web’s premier destination for information about staging homes for sale.

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