The big decision was made, you are going to sell your house. But you are sitting at your dinner table looking around and wondering – now what? Now its time to de-clutter, organize, clean, clean again, make repairs, paint and put your house into a mode of “I am here for you to buy!”.
Good. Your house goes on the market, but maybe people are passing your house up after just stepping in the door for a few seconds to preview your house. You ask yourself – “Why isn’t my house selling?” You look around and everything seems its in its place, its clean, the house smells wonderful – then why isn’t it selling?”
The past decade has seen a big switch in how houses are sold. Houses are looked at differently. That’s the real key. They need to be homes. But you think to yourself, “My house is my home”. You are right, your house is your home. Your being the operative word here. It’s not a house with the potential to be someone else’s home.
To be successful, especially in today’s market, you need extra special help to sell your house. In enters staging. Staging is the concept of creating an atmosphere in a house that makes the possibility of the house becoming someone else’s home, decorating it like a model home. And you have less than thirty seconds to make the first impression on potential homebuyers, ninety seconds at the most.
Staging can be anything from simple steps of removing fifty percent of your personal belongings and storing them offsite to the more assertive manner of emptying the house of your personal belongings and hiring a professional staging agent to rent furniture and actually stage your house.
Most people can’t afford the luxury of a personal staging agent. So here are a few tips that will help you stage your own home.
When first looking at staging your home, look to see how much of your personal life is reflected, photographs on walls and night stands, an overabundance of children’s toys, cluttered personal desk, a well used bathroom, laundry in disarray. Then, remove as much as you can manage your personal life without, either into storage or completely out of sight. Be brutal with yourself, you want to sell your house quickly and at top dollar.
Your goals for staging your house:
1) Keep it all simple, elegant, refined, inviting
2) Reduce furniture and enlarge space
3) Lighten up and light up
4) Appeal to the senses of sight, smell, touch and hearing for a potential buyer as soon as they step in the door
5) Remember the garage is a part of your house too, make sure it is clean and de-cluttered. Think spacious
For example a great room might have the dimensions of twenty feet wide by thiry feet long. You might have a fire place at one end, and huge sofa set separating the living room side of the great room from the dining room side with a couple of lounging chairs on the sides. On the other end of the great room is the dining room set that seats 6 people. On the walls you decided to highlight your family’s growth and achievements. You threw in area rugs on the hardwood floor in front of the living room furniture and another under the dining room table. A couple of lamps and some lovely drapes are your accents. You created a comfortable great room for your family and their daily activities. But to a potential buyer they see a great room that has no room.
How can you change that if you don’t have a budget to? Here are some recommendations. Remove the sofa set or the extra lounging chairs. That will be a hard decision. Play with it. Maybe choose the couch and one chair and add an ottoman. Pick up the two area rugs, replace that aesthetic with a warm and inviting throw on the couch, and maybe add a decorative pillow. The throw should be warm looking, soft to the touch, the pillow, matching the decor and embracing to the heart. Change the lovely drapes out with sheers and increase the wattage in the lamps to open up the eye sensors and make the room seem larger than it is. Place a tasteful room freshener out of sight that exudes a sense of home. Remove all the family photographs and replace with a nice scenic picture or two, tastefully placed. Add a small, vertical base to one side of the fireplace and an armful of wood that is perfect in size to the other. Then add a large mirror to the top of the mantel to add more light to the room. And voila`, you have now just increased the sensation of spaciousness, appealed to the eye, made something warm and soft to the touch available and offered a refreshing scent to the room– Home. The potential buyer is now hooked into looking at what else the house has to offer.
Some of the most common things a staging specialist has in their arsenal are:
Warm and inviting throws
Tasteful vertical articles of art
Simple scenic artwork
Matching decorative towels
Cedar chips for closets
Simple elegant flower arrangements and matching decorative vase
Scented potpourri, bounce dryer sheets, room fresheners
Wall putty, touch up paint, hammer, screw driver and emergency cleaning kit
What else could you add? A good camera or video camera to take a walking tour of your home once its been staged and give that to your real estate agent to post with the listing of your house. After all, most home shopping is now done virtually, online.
For help in understanding what your particular market is looking for in staging, Home Gain-Home Improvement has taken surveys of local markets and compiled information in regards to staging, home improvement, etc. You can find more information at this web address: