It is no secret that home sellers can dramatically improve their chances of making a sale by devoting attention to an often-overlooked corner of real estate marketing: home staging. The goal of this marketing technique is to get the buyer to mentally move into the home. This technique is especially critical in a sluggish real estate market where sellers need every advantage to make their home more desirable to potential buyers.
Get potential buyers inside. The first thing a prospective buyer notices about a home is the front yard. Cut the grass, trim the hedges, rake those leaves, sweep the sidewalks, and power-wash the driveway. Too many potted plants scattered around the property will make it look cluttered and messy. And get rid of any plants that are dead, or even look dead!
Pretend you’re camping – minimize and declutter! A cluttered room can appear too small to buyers. Go through each room and divide belongings into two piles: keep and give up. Items in the keep pile will be used to stage the room, while those in the give up pile should be stored elsewhere, or better yet given away. One home stager says, “Pretend you are camping. When you go camping, you are not taking all those books, right? A de-cluttered room might appear bare to the seller (who’s used to seeing more of their things there), but a buyer probably won’t think so. You are not selling your things or trying to impress anyone with them. You are selling your space and buyers can’t visualize themselves or their own things there when there is too much of your stuff in the room. Don’t forget about the outdoor spaces too – de- clutter potted plants, kids’ toys, gardening items, outdoor furniture and accessories, etc…as well.”
Balance hard and soft surfaces. When staging a room, it’s essential to have a good balance of hard surfaces, such as a coffee-table top, and soft surfaces, like a carpet or pillows. For example, a room with a cushy, 7-foot-long sofa, a love seat, and four La-Z-Boy recliners has too many soft surfaces and not enough hard surfaces. Instead, consider getting rid of the La-Z-Boys and the love seat, replacing them with two wingback chairs and an accent table. If you have hardwood floors but no rugs add more softness by adding a coordinating area rug.
Decide from the doorway. Would-be buyers will get their first impression of each room from the doorway, so homeowners should use that perspective to assess their staging work. Do some staging, go back to the doorway. Do some more, go back to the doorway. Have your real estate professional bring some of their associates through the house for a tour to make additional staging recommendations.
Make your place “Q-Tip clean.” A properly staged home should be immaculate, or Q-Tip clean. This could mean using Q-Tips to clean dead flies out of a windowsill or going around the bottom of the toilet on the floor. The purpose of an immaculate house is more than just making it presentable. If a home is messy or dirty, a buyer may wonder what else about this property hasn’t been cared for, like major and minor maintenance items.
Toasty and cozy, cool and breezy. In winter a warm home is always more inviting than one that has people reaching for their coats. On a hot summer day a cool home can be a welcome oasis to weary home buyers. Be sure to have the heat or air conditioning set at a comfortable temperature for the entire day. If possible, in winter turn the lights on and have replaces and candles lit to create a cozy environment, even during daylight hours, especially for open houses. In warmer weather have windows open for fresh air if it’s not hot outside.
We would love to help you with staging ideas for your home! Contact us today to see how we can help you!