Staging a home can affect the listing price and offers coming in for your home. Here are 10 staging tips you can utilize to make sure you put your best foot forward in this competitive market.
Curb Appeal – It’s not just for the suburbs. The first impression you make is critical. What does it say about your house? Minor details can make a big difference. As a realtor is fumbling with the lock box, your potential buyer is noticing the little details; fresh paint on the door, the condition of the hardware, the decorative touches on the mailbox. To a potential buyer, the exterior of the condo is a sneak preview of what’s inside.
Repairs- Now is the time to take care of the long-neglected “honey do” list. Your home should shine with pride of ownership, because creating the impression that the house is well maintained will bring you a better offer. Overlooking small repairs may lead buyers to assume you haven’t taken care of the big things, and this is when they will begin actively looking for problems that they might otherwise not notice. A home inspector recently confessed that he will spend more time in homes that have obvious neglect. How will your home fare under that sort of additional scrutiny?
Paint – Step away from the paint brush! If your painting skills aren’t top-notch, call a professional. The quality of the job is just as important as the colors you pick, so don’t waste your effort and money if you haven’t the time—or skill—to do the job right. A home stager can help you pick out colors that will work with existing carpet or cabinetry, and can improve the visual flow of your space with colors that transition gracefully from one are to the next. The right color can also create an environment neutral enough to appeal to a broad range of buyers. Bold colors can be dramatic…or they can be a deal breakers. Why take a chance?
Wallpaper– Just say “no!” Ditto with bold colors and “theme” rooms. Your personal style, however tasteful, will most likely not be the taste of the prospective buyer. Décor needs to be neutral enough that it can accommodate any furnishing style without major changes. Further, using a variety of different textures or colors of carpet and flooring can negatively impact the visual flow of the house. New floor coverings can make the difference between receiving an offer and taking a price reduction that will cost you far more than new flooring.
Furniture– Tasteful furniture doesn’t have to cost a lot. If you need furniture for your new home, buy it now. Furniture mismatches and hand-me-downs make for poor flow and often occupy valuable square footage, both physically and visually. This is a great time to “hand-meup” to your favorite charity, and get a tax deduction. When it comes to furnishings, keep the best, get rid of the rest. If new furniture isn’t an option, you can slipcover classic or transitional upholstered pieces and paint dated wood pieces for a fresh look that won’t break the bank. If you have too many “matchy” pieces in your décor, it may be time to edit a few. Don’t purchase an entire set (even if it is a deal) of bedroom or living room furniture if all the pieces do not fit in the room. A few non-matching accent pieces will complement the space and add interest and dimension.
Clutter-You CAN take it with you…for a price. Think about the real dollars associated with boxes and storage, plus the time, energy and cost of moving all that “stuff”. Do you really NEED it? Maybe it’s time to redefine “need”. Getting rid of unused or tired items will allow you to move with ease into your new space. Most importantly, your current house will feel more spacious and be easier to maintain while on the market.
Style– Does your design style need a shrink? Does your home have multiple personalities? Too many design styles leave a room confusing and lacking drama. It can be difficult to make pieces of varying scale and color work together in same room. “Eclectic” is a great look when done tastefully, but pulling it off can be challenging, even for the pros. A few antique pieces make for great accents, but too many pose a challenge and can make a home feel like grandma lives there. Your home’s architecture should determine style of the furnishings. Stagers and decorators often choose “transitional” pieces because whey will work with almost any architectural style or period, and well with existing pieces.
Carpet in Kitchens and Baths – Yuck! Need I say more?
Odors– You can’t sell it if you can smell it! Because our olfactory senses quickly become conditioned to smells, the homeowner is probably not in the best position to assess the smell (or preferably the lack there-of) of the home. Get an objective opinion from a fastidious friend, keeping in mind that women have a more highly developed sense of smell than men. Common sources of unpleasant odors are cooking methods (frying and spices), pets, damp basements, smoking, and infants. If you detect a problem, identify the source, and let a stager help you choose the best strategy to eradicate the odor.
Hire it done! – It is important to be realistic about your skill level. Even if your skills could land you a show on HGTV, keep in mind the amount of time it will take you to do any given task…and then double your estimate. Your best bet is to get help from friends and family or “hire it out”. Keep your expectations reasonable and use your time for the things you’re confident doing, or that only you can do.