Why Stage A Home?
With today's market seeing an overabundance of homes for sale, making yours stand out among the competition can make the difference between it selling or sitting for a long time. Making your home "buyer friendly" doesn't have to involve putting a lot of money into it or implementing drastic changes. In many cases, simple things like a thorough cleaning, new paint and detailing the yard can highlight your home in a way that separates it from the crowd.
In a vacant home, creating simple "vignettes" with a few pieces of furniture and neutral accessories arranged to create a vision of how life can be in this property can be a powerful tool to carry it to the top of buyers' lists. Strategic placement of these little stages will emphasize the great points of the home and allow the prospective buyer to visualize themselves owning it. An empty home looks like every other empty home-a small warehouse with nicer walls and flooring. You want people to remember yours, especially since they will be viewing many in their decision making process.
A home must be in good repair, unless you are selling it as a "fix-up" (and priced accordingly). Tighten up those loose doorknobs and cabinet pulls. Fix that leaky faucet or replace it. Think of the things you look at when judging a home for purchase and apply that to your own. Depersonalize--that "Tomato Soup Red" wall may have looked fantastic with your decorating scheme. To a potential buyer, it may be just the thing that makes them choose another place over yours. Family pictures and momentos are wonderful in your house, not in someone else's...and that is the point, really. You want the buyer to see themselves owning your home, creating their own new memories.
De-clutter. I'll say it again: DE-CLUTTER! This is probably the toughest thing to accomplish in an occupied home. Clutter distracts attention and provides an opportunity for prospects to "just move on." Before your home goes on the market, take the opportunity to completely go through your possessions and make three piles: 1. Keep 2. Throw 3. Donate. You will be doing this anyway when the home sells--why not make your own move simpler & easier? By eliminating what you don't want to keep for the next home, you will reduce clutter and at the same time save some money on what you pay for storage, which leads to...Storage! Your garage or the backyard is not a good place to store things when your home is on the market. Prospective buyers DO look at the garage, even when there are things still in it. You want to present a clean, neat & orderly area that is useful. Stacks of boxes don't do it, in fact, buyers may come away feeling a little cheated of an opportunity to see what it is really like.
Clean and neat. Not just "liveable" or "good enough" works. Your home needs to have a thorough detail job done. You would have your car detailed in order to get the best price when you sell it or trade it in...your home deserves the same attention. Investing in a professional cleaning crew to come out and give "the full treatment" will give you better results when showing and ultimately, lead to higher offers on the table.
There are many things one can do with staging, but the basics are right here: A clean, neat home in good working order will sell quicker and for higher price. Less is more--since you're putting it on the market, it is no longer your fantasy that needs to be fulfilled in it, you want the buyer to visualize theirs. Neutral sells--bold may be beautiful, but your taste may not be what anothers is. It is the buyer whose impression you must capture (you'll get your chance to personalize your new home in short order).
With a little TLC and some good direction, you can make the most of your homeselling experience--and walk away from the closing table with more money in your pocket!