The following article was written for Realtors to help with Home Staging, but you, as a homeowner can use them to get your house ready to sell!
MAKING A HOUSE A HOME
Use these nine staging tips to turn your next vacant, cluttered or uninviting listing into an appealing home.
BY BRIDGET MCCREA From INSIGHT MAGAZING – THE VOICE OF REAL ESTATE IN NC
Selling the American Dream in today’s buying environment isn’t always easy, but with a little help from a concept known as “home staging,” REALTORS® can help their sellers make an impact on every buyer who crosses their thresholds.
Properly staged, a home will entice buyers to walk in and say to themselves, “I would love to live here!”
Of course, REALTORS® have been sprucing up homes and making helpful suggestions since the industry was born, but when Barb Schwarz, president of Stagedhomes.com in San Francisco, came up with the concept of staging in 1972, she gave the process a name and a face. “At the time, REALTORS® were afraid to tell sellers what to do with their homes for fear of insulting them, and many of them still are,” says Schwarz, a REALTOR® herself. “We all knew about the cat smell and the bad wallpaper, so everyone was very hungry for a way to alleviate those issues and sell the homes quickly, and at the right price.”
Staged homes have also been proven to sell faster (83 percent faster than non-staged homes, according to the National Association of REALTORS®), says Joan Inglis, an Accredited Staging Professional Master®, REALTOR® and owner of Carolina Spaces, LLC, in Charlotte. “When staged, homes sell at or very close to list price, with no succession of price reductions,” says Inglis. In most cases, she says the most critical aspect of staging is removing homeowners’ personal collections and preferences from sight.
“If someone pokes his or her head in a room and doesn’tlike what’s there – a personal doll collection, garish purple wallpaper, or cluttered bric-a-brac – it can significantly impact the showing experience,” says Inglis, who adds that simple efforts like clearing off bathroom and kitchen countertops can also help make a house feel like more than a storage facility. Ultimately, she says REALTORS® should help sellers cut emotional ties with their “stuff” and view their homes as products versus personal spaces.
“If the seller is living in the home, the first thing you want to do is pre-pack and/or stash all of the clutter,” advises Christine Kennedy, owner of Professional Homestaging & Design in Raleigh. “Showing square footage is very important, versus making the home look cozy and lived-in.”
As for vacant homes, Inglis says renting furniture and props to fill out at least a few of the most important rooms (living room, dining room, master bedroom), helps create a sense of home in the empty space. “I just worked with a builder who had one particular buyer come through twice without showing much interest,” says Inglis. “When the builder staged the home and then invited the potential buyer back to see the home furnished, the man signed a contract for it on the spot.”
Regardless of whether you’re working with an occupied or vacant listing, you can use these nine staging tips to prep the home for maximum exposure and the fastest possible sale:
• Put a new floor mat at the entry and new mailbox and post, if aged. Then, add mulch to flower beds and shrubs.
• Paint, stain or varnish the front door and polish brass and install a new brass kick plate.
• Make sure it is clean and not cluttered with furniture. Clean light fixtures and floors until they sparkle.
• Add a nice touch with a small entrance table with fresh cut flowers.
• Put away all collections (figurines, fragile items, etc.) and store all political and religious mementos as well as any business, sports and personal awards.
• Remove all crowded furniture; open the room up and show lots of space.
• Take extra leaf out of the table and put nice white tablecloth on it.
• Place a nice arrangement in center of table.
• Remove all refrigerator magnets and items, including children’s pictures from school.
• Stow all small appliances under the cabinets to free up counter space.
• Downplay dated ceramic tile color with white towels, window treatments and scatter rugs.
• Replace rusted sinks or cover up spots with touch- up kit. Repair or replace defected exhaust fans.
• Remove bulky furniture and voila, the room will appear larger.
• Clean out closets to make them appear as if there is plenty of room to spare.
• Remove stains from garage floors.
• Clean all windows and remove cobwebs in corners.
• Repair all screen holes or replace screen completely, depending on condition.
• Make sure outdoor furniture is clean and orderly, and not excessive.
Staging a Vacant Space
Adding just a few elements of design can really help create a sense of home in an empty space. Take a look at these before and after photos from Joan Inglis of Carolina Spaces, LLC, in Charlotte.
Home Staging is critically important. You want a buyer to have a seemless walk through your house, with no “stops” to focus on negatives. Eliminate problems upfront to sell your house more quickly!