Shearin-Hathaway Group: House Calls: Real Estate Staging Tips; highlight your Home’s Selling Points
After several extremely slow years in real estate, it seems that inventory is increasing and houses are beginning to sell again. Putting a home on the market takes a lot of preparation, but doing the work is well worth the time, effort and investment.
I have assisted several sellers in this process in the past few months and I have some suggestions for potential sellers.
The first and most important tip for staging your home involves emptying it of your stuff, personality and history. Ideally, a house should show like a model home: fresh, neutral and free of anything not absolutely necessary.
Throw away, give away and pack away anything you no longer need, use or love. Don’t keep anything you can live without for several months. Gather various boxes and packing materials and begin to edit one space at a time. Also, pack away personal items like family photos, stylized fabrics, furniture and collectibles and any references to religion, ethnicity or politics.
Try to re-create the living room from a model home, with a sofa and loveseat or chair, end tables and a coffee table. A modern TV, a few lamps and some well-chosen accessories that complement the colors and style of the home is all you need to initiate the feeling of a comfortable room, which helps the buyer imagine themselves there. Allow open space and show as much of the floor, baseboards and walls as possible, as that is the actual real estate being offered. Clear pathways and empty storage spaces infer plenty of room to grow.
Another important goal of staging is to highlight the selling points of a home. Keep window coverings open to emphasize a beautiful view; minimize the number of appliances on a countertop to show off the beautiful stone; arrange a decorative vessel of kindling, greenery and pinecones to acknowledge the wood burning fireplace. Tall candlesticks placed on the edge of the deep bathtub, a café set and lantern on the lovely patio or a tray with an open book and large mug on the window seat also look great. These are ways we encourage buyers to imagine their best possible lives.
Another goal is to detract from the challenges of a house and minimize any concerns or confusion ahead of time. If the neighbor is too close, erect a fence, screen or fast-growing tree. If the kitchen is outdated, consider adding stainless steel accessories to introduce a modern feel. If the purpose of a space is vague, define it as an office with a desk, a guest room with a bed or an entry area with a bench or table.
Setting the stage will result in a smoother process, higher offers and faster sale.