I am a huge believer in home staging. Without a doubt, a seller that either hires a stager, or completely cleans and gets rid of 75% of their stuff, will find they have a much better chance at selling their property more quickly than those sellers who do little to prepare their home for sale. But homeowners beware, if you attempt to stage yourself, there are several steps a buyer can make that will backfire. Buyers are way too smart to fall for some of these obvious staging tricks. We all know that in the real world, people just don’t live in a spa like atmosphere. So, take care in going overboard. While believe me, I would much rather show a property that has been well taken care of, there is no need to follow some of this silly staging ideas.
Do: Clear all photos out. Period. The first rule in staging is to “de-personalize” a home. Let the buyers walk in and imagine living there. They can’t if they see photos of your family. While you are at it, take diplomas, trophies, animal heads (not everyone is impressed with your 12 point buck above the fireplace), and over-sized furniture out as well. Clutter free and a room that looks bigger than it is makes a far better impression.
Do: All that is really required regarding the kitchen and dining room is a clean table, with a vase of flowers or a simple bowl of fruit. Also, please take the time and clear the counters of all clutter. This includes small appliances, such as toasters, can openers, coffee makers, paper towel holders and any cleaning materials around your kitchen sink. If you have flowers on a table, then there is no need to have anything else on the counter. You want it to be spotlessly clean and free of anything that makes the kitchen look smaller.
Don’t: Most of us love to have breakfast in bed. But unless it’s a birthday or Mother’s or Father’s Day, chances are, it’s not going to happen. That is why the casual throw and a tray with tea or coffee with a rolled up newspaper is really overdone. Again, this is not a horrible thing, but buyers don’t buy it.
Do: What is really appreciated and goes far in a buyer’s mind, is a clean bedroom, with nice bedding. If your room is small, replace a king or queen bed with a full sized. It’s always nice to have night tables placed on both sides of the bed, with appropriate lamps. A dresser is all that is needed so buyers get the idea that this is a well thought out room. Remember; take away any personal items in the bedroom.
Don’t: Did you know that this is the room that buyers spend the LEAST amount of time in? Buyers want to make sure it is clean and not horribly dated, so don’t spend too much time or money or staging here. Ribbons tying towels together accessorized by seashells or spa rocks, with champagne flutes and a bathtub filled with blue-tinted water does nothing. In fact, this sort of stuff is overkill. Ribbons tied around a toilet? Yep, it’s been done.
Do: Rule number one always: Make sure the bathroom is clean. Nothing will send a buyer out the front door quicker than a bathroom that looks disgusting. After a room has been scrubbed, purchase some nice hand towels, a new shower curtain and bathroom rug. Take away all personal items, such as shampoo and soaps from the shower. Make sure all toothbrushes, make-up and anything else is removed from the counters. Make sure the room smells clean, by having a little bowl of potpourri or something with a gentle fragrance placed near the sink.
What is the overall rule of staging? A clean, de-personalized look. A home that is clutter-free tells a buyer that you are serious about selling your home. These simple steps make a home look normal and can easily provide a buyer with the knowledge that they could live in this house. In a slow real estate market, where competition is fierce to get the attention of the few buyers out there, a seller knows they only have one time to make a good first impression. There is no reason to spend a tremendous amount of money on home staging for your Windsor house for sale. For sellers that have limited financial resources, then it’s more important to invest in improving and repairing what buyers will notice. Walk around with your real estate agent and listen to their advice. If your home has dirty carpeting, then get it cleaned. If walls are painted an obscure color, then repaint to a neutral. If your kitchen appliances are from 1980, then update. It won’t matter if you table is decorated for a formal dinner party if your kitchen hasn’t been changed in 20 years.
The goal is to have a buyer not be able to tell that a home has been staged at all. With a few steps, a home can be transformed that will appeal to your target buyer.
Price accordingly, clean thoroughly and de-clutter completely.