Why home staging is important
By Bebe Sorenson
Although staging is optional, it really shouldn’t be. When you’re dealing with such a significant financial transaction, you don’t want to be lazy and settle for a lower selling price or a longer marketing period than you have to.
Potential buyers aren’t just looking for a structure to live in – they’re looking to fulfill their dreams and improve their lifestyles. Staging helps sell those dreams and creates a more emotional purchase that can generate more money for the seller.
Home staging is also beneficial because potential buyers don’t want to see work that needs to be done upon moving into the home. For every problem they see, they’ll deduct its cost from their offering price. If they see too many problems, they’ll pass altogether.
If you’re on a limited budget, it’s best to focus your staging on the highest impact areas that will make the biggest difference in your home’s selling price.
These include the exterior and entryway (a buyer’s first impressions matter), the living room, kitchens and bathrooms, the master bedroom and outdoor living space, such as a back patio.
Declutter: There are two major problems with clutter. One is that it distracts buyers from your home’s features. The other is that it makes it seem like the home doesn’t have enough storage space. Put away knickknacks. Keep in mind that buyers will be interested in your closet space, so tossing everything into the closet to hide it away may not be the best strategy. Box up what you don’t need.
Depersonalize: Buyers need to be able to envision themselves in your home, so remove all the family photos and refrigerator art. Also make sure to put away all the toys and anything else.
Remove odors: Pets, kids, what you ate for dinner last night, a mildew-covered bathroom and many other conditions can make your home smell. You are probably immune to your home’s smell, so you’ll need to have a friend or neighbor help you out with this one.
Wallpaper/paint: It is unlikely that a potential buyer will like your wallpaper. Your best bet is to tear it down and paint the walls instead. Don’t even think about painting over the wallpaper – it will look shabby and send red flags for the buyer about all the work he or she will have to do later.
Paint should be warm, neutral colors that appeal to the masses and project the homey image you’re trying to sell.
Lighting: Take advantage of your home’s natural light. Open all curtains and blinds when showing your home. Add supplemental lighting where necessary.
Furniture: Make sure furniture is the right size for the room, and don’t clutter a room with too much furniture. Furniture that’s too big will make a room look small, while too little or too small furniture can make a space feel cold.
Exterior: Your home’s exterior will be the first impression buyers get and may even determine their interest in viewing the inside. Make sure your lawn, hedges, trees and other plants are well-maintained and neatly pruned and eliminate any weeds. To brighten windows, wash them well. If you can, power wash your home’s exterior – it can make it look almost freshly painted but with less effort and expense. Make sure the sidewalk leading up to the house is clear and clean, and purchase new doormats for the front and back doors. If you have a pool, showcase it by making sure it’s crystal clear. Creating some sort of outdoor living space in the backyard, such as a deck or patio with outdoor furniture, is another way to use the exterior of your home to its greatest advantage.
Last touches: Just before any open house or showing, add a nice touch of fresh flowers and bake a nice-smelling apple pie!
Bebe Sorenson is a residential specialist with Windermere Hulsey & Associates. Reach her at 803-0598 or firstname.lastname@example.org