One of the more difficult aspects of preparing to sell your home is staging. Many realtors prefer that a home is “staged” properly for open houses and regular viewings by perspective clients. The reason for the staging is simple; people want to look at a home and imagine what it would look like if they lived there.
That can be rather difficult when your home has an array of knickknacks and personal mementoes along with the other type of personal touches most of us adorn our home with. Think of it from the buyer’s perspective; what do you want to see when you walk into your potential new home?
To work around that issue I recommend that you take the time to organize your house for staging to better showcase your home for those perspective clients.
Organization for staging
- De-personalize – Ideally you want a buyer to imagine themselves living in your home. You want them to look around and picture how they would fit into the different rooms and spaces. To effectively do this it helps to de-personalize a space by removing items like pictures, personal knickknacks, college or sports memorabilia and the like. There is also a psychological reasoning behind this; you want to remove any subconscious negativity. If you have pictures up but none have kids in them, it sends a message that perhaps this house isn’t big enough for a family. Or if you are a big Dodgers baseball fan, all of your baseball memorabilia might irritate Giant’s fans. Packing up collections, clearing off the fridge and removing excess items makes your house show better.
- De-clutter – Do you know what moving time is perfect for? It is the perfect time to de-clutter and downsize your living space! If you haven’t used something for a year or more then donate it! This goes for clothes as well. Consider books, magazines, papers, small appliances, CDs and the like. If you pack them up then you have to move them and find space in your new house. Plus, after you have de-cluttered, your house will feel more spacious to both you and potential buyers!
- Pack it up – Now we are down to the nitty-gritty! First, pack up all of the items from the ‘de-personalize’ step. These are important to you so they will be making the move. By packing them up now you are saving time later. Next, anything you do not need for the next six months should be packed up. Consider out-of-season clothes, sporting items and even kitchen appliances to be eligible for packing. One recommendation for storing them is a POD or put them in an out-of-the-way space like the attic or garage. Space bags are a great idea to help with bulky items like blankets, comforters and coats. Again, this helps clean your house out to make it look more spacious to potential buyers.
- Clean – A detail cleaning of the house is a must before showing it off to potential buyers. One recommendation is hiring a cleaning service and asking for a “detail cleaning” which can run in the neighborhood of $300-$1200 depending on the service and size of your house. This should be a top to bottom cleaning that includes blinds, fans, under objects on the shelves, baseboards, ceiling, inside cupboards and even the fridge. Don’t forget the windows, both inside and out, which will also help let in more light.
- Stage – Staging is sometimes done by the real estate agent, but you can always do it yourself as well; after all, you will be living in the space between showings. Make sure to adjust furniture if needed for open walking spaces through rooms. Use touch-up paint or a Magic Eraser to help clean up walls. Put new bulbs in lamps and light fixtures to help increase visibility and warmth. For decoration, remember that each room should have one purpose such as bedroom, office or dining room. If a room has too much stuff and an unclear purpose, remove the excess to make the room seem bigger. You want your home to look clean, spacious and welcoming.
While we didn’t cover the exterior of the home, the same general rules apply. You want things to look clean and fresh outside to then entice people to come inside. A fresh coat of paint on the front door, removal of old objects in the yard and planting of seasonal flowers are great ideas to spruce up the exterior.
Many people feel their homes will already show well, but they forget that they are an impartial judge. By properly organizing, de-cluttering and staging your home for potential buyers you are helping them see the potential that made you decide to buy the house in years past. Plus you will be saving yourself time and energy by removing unneeded excess and having some things packed up when moving time is upon you!