There is a real strategy behind how to stage your house for sale. The idea is to get your house in picture-perfect condition, both inside and out. Ideally, you want buyers to walk in and imagine themselves living there.
It’s natural to get emotional about our homes, especially if we’ve lived there for many years. I recall, once, a homeowner telling his wife, “You wanted a ‘different’ house. You got a ‘different’ house, now try and sell your ‘different’ house.” If you want to sell, your home has to appeal to as many people as possible. This guide will show you how to get started. When real-estate agents hear buyers talk about how their furniture could be arranged in a room, they know they are serious prospects who will likely put in an offer.
So, what are the most important things to do to attain picture-perfection in your home? It definitely does not mean that you need to spend tons of money on new furniture, appliances, or decorating. But what it does mean is that it’s time to get clean, organized, and learn how to stage your house properly.
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How to Stage Your House
If you’re preparing to sell your house, follow this guide for getting it ready and staging it in a way that makes buyers imagine their life in your home:
Now is the perfect time to get rid of your clutter! By de-cluttering your home to get it ready for sale, things are going to be so much easier to pack when you move. Pack away items that you want to keep, but don’t want out on display while the house is being shown. Put them in boxes, so they’re ready for moving day.
Then, number, label and stack them neatly in a garage or basement space. Remember that buyers will view the garage and basement, too, so neatness counts. Also, remember that buyers look in closets and open cabinets and drawers to check out these spaces, so quickly shoving things in a closet to get them out of sight will backfire on you.
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Less is More
Pare down your furniture, decorations, and knick-knacks. When staging your house, less is more. You want to strike a good balance between comfort and letting the buyer see the bones of the space. If you have a lot of furniture, select a few good pieces to arrange in a way that leaves walking space around the room. That means you should move the furniture towards the middle of the room, away from the walls. Arrange them in a conversational grouping, anchored by an area rug, if you have one.
Find a place to store the rest of your furniture until you move. Pack away your family photos and other personal items. You want the buyers to visualize their possessions in the space, not yours. If your personal photos are staring at them, it won’t happen. If you have artwork hung on the walls, that’s fine, but limit it to a few well-placed items; you don’t want it to look like a museum. Keep the surfaces of furniture clear of decorative items except for a vase of fresh flowers which is always a welcoming look.
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Repair or replace any small items that may be broken. Make sure the doorbell works and that drawers or doors can be opened easily without a struggle or having a doorknob come off in someone’s hand. Ensure that there’s plenty of light, both natural and electric so that buyers can see everything. Plus, things always look better when they are well-lit.
Clean, clean, and clean again until the house is sparkling from top to bottom. That means windows, sinks, toilets (and behind toilets, too), light switches, chandeliers, door knobs and pulls, floors, moldings, and baseboards. Focus on every single surface.
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Mind the Mess
Take stock of your home before a showing. Always make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink or on your kitchen counters. Keep your counters clear of everything except for small appliances or a bowl of fruit. Make sure the trash is emptied, that there are fresh, clean towels in the bathrooms, that all beds are made, and clothing is hung neatly in closets. Also, put away all children’s toys and games neatly on shelves or in baskets.
It’s not easy trying to sell your house when you’re living in it, especially with children. There’s always a mad dash before a showing to get last-minute things in order, run the vacuum, plump the pillows, pick-up after the kids, and get everyone out the door on time. That’s another reason why the more you de-clutter at the beginning of the process, the easier it will be. That way, you have a place for everything and a system that will help you save time, energy and hopefully, avoid major meltdowns. Choose a good realtor who can help schedule showings at more convenient times for you, and help out in other ways, too.
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Make it Welcoming
You may want to leave a dining table or kitchen island set for meals. This is a nice way to create a welcoming mood. You can also light a fire in a fireplace, (only if someone is there; never leave a fire brewing without supervision) or use potpourri that smells like there’s an apple pie baking in the oven. If you use any type of room spray, deodorizer or scented diffuser make sure it’s a fresh, clean scent. You don’t want anything that’s overly sweet or powerful as this will send a buyer running for the door.
Don’t Forget the Outside
Enhancing curb appeal is another aspect to keep in mind when you’re wondering how to stage your house for sale.
If you’re in a condo complex where every unit looks the same, you may want to have a couple of planters arranged by the front door, if there’s space. Otherwise, hang an appropriately sized, seasonal wreath on the door. These are all welcoming and homey touches that will make your unit look less generic. It’s likely that the condo association takes care of things like lawn mowing and edging. So, finally something you don’t have to do!
But if you don’t live in a complex, then it’s important to do regular landscaping so that your home looks well taken care of and inviting from the outside too.
Being organized, de-cluttering, and preparation will serve you well when it’s time to figure out how to stage your house for sale. Use your diary or a notebook to keep track of showing dates so that you always know when your home needs to be picture-perfect ready.
Are you planning to stage your home for sale soon?
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