Staging will enhance and improve any space and create a neutral environment allowing all buyers to envision themselves living there. When a buyer can see themselves living there then they can best ascertain whether they like the home or not.
That’s why I stage every home I sell.
It’s human nature to be curious.
Homes that are full of personal belongings and personal photos distract a buyer. They are less able to determine what the home itself has to offer. When your personal stamp is on your home the buyer’s mind will wander, whether they notice or not, and they will form an opinion of the home which may very likely be more of an opinion on your personal taste and belongings rather than the actual bones of the structure. This can be good if they love everything about your style. However, it typically doesn’t work that way.
I always prep my buyers in our first meeting that we will be home shopping not furniture shopping when we look at homes. I can appreciate a nice piece too but what we need to focus on is the home itself.
And please don’t get caught up in detective work, do not try to figure out who lives there and why they are moving. Does it matter? Really? If it is of significance to the house it will be in the disclosures. There’s nothing that makes a Realtor laugh inside more than the question, “why are they selling?” And probably nothing irks a buyer more then what many of us pro’s answer…”Because they decided now was the right time for them to move.”
Personal photos need to come down. No one loves a montage of professionally taken black and white photos of the kids on a hall wall more than I do. It’s the best. It’s so great it distracts me every time. But, are you so proud of the photography that you’d rather get praises on it then get the highest possible price for your home?
I love the argument, “but it shows that it is a great home for kids and family, it will win over parents and young couples looking for a great home to raise their kids in.” Hmm, you almost got me. Not really. Because your scenario just excluded the working couple that doesn’t want kids or the single person downsizing, or the many other people that don’t fit into your box. And if you cut them out and reduce the interest in your home then you reduce the number of offers and you may have just reduced the price that you sell for.
Simple art is the way to go
When you’re staging the walls think simple, nondescript and color that goes with the house and furnishings. The subject of the art does not have to make complete sense. I have a house in the mountains staged with art that is ocean themed. It is super neutral and the colors (or lack of color) works great with the interior. What does make visual sense is where and how the art has been placed. And therefore it works.
Selling is not the same as living
We don’t live in a home the same way we sell a home. If you tried to live in a staged home you’d find it difficult very quickly. Sparse works well for selling, people aren’t sitting around watching TV at an open house, they are walking though it, so less is more. It is designed to be appealing to the eye, so low backed couches are great, side tables spaced out are great, and throw pillows are great for adding pops of color. Less furniture, less stuff is great. And definitely put away the appliances, knife blocks, spoon jars, spoon rests, stacks of papers, phone charging stations, mail and anything else on your kitchen counters. Put something you’d never use out, like the propped open cookbook on a cookbook holder. Just kidding. I actually think those are pretty silly. They do provide a nice visual though.
Start packing now
Since you are moving now is a great time to go though all your closets and donate anything you don’t wear anymore. Spend a little money and purchase matching hangers. When your closet is organized it not only conveys space to the buyer’s eye it also conveys organization and cleanliness and puts in the head of the buyer that you are a person that maintains your home well.
Pack up anything you don’t plan to use in the next 30 to 60 days, that includes kids toys, linens, toiletries, clothes, books, knick knacks and cookware. You are moving and it all needs to get moved anyway so start packing now so that your selling look is streamlined and clutter free.
The stager can always fill in empty shelves with decor that ties the whole house together. The more you take away the better. My preference is an empty home. It allows the stager to bring everything in and create one cohesive look throughout the house.
When you have one design theme throughout the house it makes the house feel bigger because your line of sight is not broken up. It flows and travels, making every space seem more open. Lighting helps this too, which leads me to my next topic.
Lighting works wonders on any space
Lighting has advanced leaps and bounds in the last five years with an array of hue choices, brightness options, different looking bulbs (think Edison bulbs) and remote/app based controls. The global industrial and commercial LED lighting market is expected to reach $165.91 billion by 2022, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.
It is no wonder. A well lit space emits energy and warmth, its makes things shine and sparkle (think jewelry cases), people have a positive reaction to it. It literally makes people feel good. High end hotels are investing millions in lighting, it is transforming spaces all across the globe. So why not do a small transformation in your home to get a big increase in positive reaction to it?
New recessed lighting is my favorite, however the budget doesn’t always allow for it. If it does, consider adding it to any space that isn’t getting sun touched most of the day. For example, recessed transforms hallways.
Aside from recessed, new light fixtures can be obtained at reasonable prices from Amazon, Wayfair and Lowe’s. The cost of an electrician to change them will often cost more than the fixture so if you’re hiring to change a fixture go for getting a few more to make it worth your spend (usually they charge by the hour). I typically recommend changing the front door light fixture and garage side lights if you have them, plus entry way, dining table and bathrooms. If you have a dated or basic Home Depot hallway fixtures consider changing them to an updated look and brighter lighting.