Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Friday, June 15, 2007

Home Staging

This afternoon it was sunny but still cool, and it was perfect for some yard work. I saw a neighbor outside and we chatted about selling her house. Not to miss a chance to share some tips on "staging" her home to increase the chance of a sale, I shared some ideas with her and thought I'd share some with you, too.

Thanks to the popularity of shows like "Sell This House!", I think people are becoming more familiar with what to do before showing your house to prospective clients. But, when working with a realtor's client, I still realize sellers have a hard time doing it. Think about what has gone through your mind if you have ever done an Open House or looked at houses to buy -- what you would change, what you hate, what you like, what you think about as you walk through the space. In case you yourself are planning to sell in the near future (or even in the faraway future), here are some things to keep in mind.

  • Declutter. Declutter. Declutter. Treat your house like you were preparing for company to come over, like your mother-in-law or people you haven't seen in a long time.

  • Now, go back into each room that's been decluttered and remove more visual clutter: personal mementos, photos, knickknacks, personalized items. No buyer wants to see you in the house; they want to be able to see themselves living there.

  • Go neutral. If you have to paint, then paint. If you have to remove patterned or "fancy" decorative elements, do so. Just because you like a bright red kitchen doesn't mean potential buyers will.

  • Stand outside and look at the front yard and door. Critique it as if you're the editor of Architectural Digest. Add curb appeal with plantings, mulch, and/or flowers. Think simple and not fussy (that means NO pink flamingos!).

  • Make kids' rooms as gender-neutral as possible.

  • If you have money to do any cosmetic fixes, put it into paint and anything that upgrades the kitchen or bathrooms (i.e. countertops, fixtures). Obvious structural problems have to get addressed first.

  • Declutter again. I'm serious -- pack stuff up, put it into storage, whatever you need to do to simplify the space. Your house will look more spacious and show off architectural elements.

I have read statistics where staged homes sell faster and for more money. It makes sense that any house closer to a "model home" would attract more buyers than a cluttered one needing lots of changes. Remember, you're trying to leave the house -- these fixes are a temporary method to get your house sold and you out of it!