Once you hire a realtor, one of the first topics of conversation will be home staging. The decision to stage or not can greatly affect the selling price of your home as well as how quickly your home sells. You may have a preconceived notion that staging is too much trouble or that it’s too costly, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!
Think of staging as decorating, only better. The first step is ALWAYS decluttering. A good rule of thumb is to pack at least half of your books and pretty much all of your personal items. You’re going to be moving anyway, right?! So go ahead, rent a storage unit and start packing up. It will save you time and effort later, when your house sells. Let’s assume that you’ve already decluttered. If not, don’t worry there will be an article on that coming up soon. 🙂
The second step is a good professional cleaning. Haven’t you always wished you had a maid? Now is your chance. Hire a professional cleaning service to come in and do a thorough cleaning. Sure, you can do this yourself, but for the money a professional service is well worth the cost.
You’ve decluttered by going through your home and removing, donating and packing away items that you don’t need anymore or just don’t need right now. You’ve removed all of the personal affects such as family photographs, piles of collectibles, anything that is out of season, maybe even some of your furniture and so much more. You hired a professional cleaning service to come in and your grout is sparkling, the faucets are shiny and the house smells divine. But…you’re probably looking around your house thinking that it looks really bare. That’s great! Now you’re ready for the actual Staging.
What do you do and where do you start? Your Realtor© probably advised that you hire a professional staging company. If you followed that recommendation, your work is mostly complete. The stager will come in, add some accessories, move items around in the house and perhaps even bring in pieces that have been rented. A professional stager can see your home with a fresh perspective and tell you right away what isn’t working in your home and what additions would be most helpful. A friend could give you an opinion but he or she might be reluctant to give you the unvarnished truth for fear of hurting your feelings.
If you’re committed to handling the staging yourself, you must detach yourself from your home and the items contained therein. You’re already planning to move so if you’re having a hard time letting go of your personal attachments to style or furnishings, keep reminding yourself that this isn’t really your home anymore.
Start at the entrance. Make sure the entryway is warm and inviting, both outside and inside. A few potted plants can add seasonal color to the front door area. Perhaps the front door needs a fresh coat of paint. Check the hardware. Is the doorknob shiny and looking good? You can replace the hardware or polish up what you already have if that’s all it needs. Does the doorbell work? If not, call out a handyman. Buyers will notice if the doorbell doesn’t work and that will set an unfavorable tone at the very beginning of their walkthrough. Make sure the foyer is clean, simple and inviting.
In the living area, kitchen, bedrooms and baths you will want thoughtful, stylish, colorful accessories. Choose colors based on both the style of your home and the target buyers. A condo in a sleek and shiny high rise will need different accessories than a mid-century ranch in the suburbs. Maybe you have a craftsman style bungalow in Grant Park. The color paette for a turn of the century home will be different than either of those. Always think of the buyer. Who will likely buy your home? Is the buyer hip and trendy, staid and conservative, a first time homebuyer or a successful professional? While you can never know with total certainty, your realtor can help you determine who your most likely potential buyer might be.
Laura Gaskill had this to say about accessorizing, “Accessorize wisely. Decluttering is important, but once you have things looking streamlined, try layering back in a few accessories that telegraph the lifestyle you want your home to project. Details matter, say DeCapua and Moore. “We use lots of coffee table books, add curated collectibles to bookshelves, toss market baskets onto chairs, hang original art and use only real plants to give buyers the impression that someone actually lives there. Old-school staging style tended toward the sterile and looked a bit more like a big-box furniture showroom.”
For more tips on staging, check out this article from Houzz.