Home staging? Sounds like putting on a play. Well it kind of is—the idea is to make your space into a stage on which potential buyers can imagine their lives playing out.
How do you achieve this desirable effect? A few useful tips will send you on your way. But if you can’t manage it—or don’t want to deal with it—there is a whole field of professional home stagers who will be eager to help you make your house look perfect for the sale.
Step one: Take yourself out of your home
Buyers need to see what basically amounts to a blank canvas on which they can project their desires. This means that all your very special—and personal—knick-knacks, thimgamajigs, and whatchamacallits should be packed away. While you might adore that ancient samurai sword hanging over the mantle or delight in your doll collection arranged just so on the bookcase, odds are your average buyer won’t have the same taste.
Replace all the items that say “you” with a blander collection of decorations. Consider replacing the sword with a nice nature photograph. You can get these affordably—online print emporiums and stores like Target and Ikea offer framed art for a pittance. And maybe some pretty vases or other pottery would fit where the dolls once stood. Decent examples of such decor can also be found for a song at discount shops and other all-purpose stores.
Step two: Wipe out the clutter
The key to creating a clean, impersonal space is to cultivate a feeling of tasteful emptiness. Your home should have enough décor to look liveable, but not so much to appear actually lived in. Buyers entering a cluttered space may feel that the space is smaller than it really is or may get stressed out by the mess.
If you don’t have enough on-site storage for all your things, take them elsewhere for a while. Even consider thinning out the herd in the storage you do have—for example, a closet that isn’t stuffed to the gills will feel much more spacious and comfortable to a stranger. Bathroom cupboards and kitchen counters that neatly arranged and not overwhelmed with odds and ends will make an interested party feel confident in the cleanliness of the home and the order one can bring to a life there.
Step three: Clean like the Dickens
Buyers want to feel that they’re buying a pristine home, even if they know it isn’t a new house. So your responsibility as a seller is to make that old homestead shine like the top of the Chrysler Building. Clean twice or three times where you normally do one pass. And make sure to get those spots that often lack for attention, like along the baseboards, under the couches, and behind the fridge. Don’t forget the slats of the heating vents and window blinds and the tops of ceiling fan blades.
Pay special attention to carpets and floors; nothing will turn people off faster than a dingy carpet or flooring that is scarred or peeling at the edges. Then create some good smells by running lemon slices through your kitchen disposal, zesting upholstery with lavender or rose water, scrubbing your sinks with baking soda, and setting out some bowls of dried cloves and sage.
With these simply steps, your house will be a staged dream house in no time, and you’ll be in a your new place bringing the samurai sword and the dolls back out of their boxes before you know it.
Have you staged your home for a sale? What tips to you have to make the process easier or more thorough?