As a real estate agent and interior designer, I offer complimentary home staging to all my clients. My expertise can save you lots of money if you were considering hiring someone to get the job done for you. However, the truth is, YOU still have to pack up your belongings before you can have someone stage your home. So here are a few tips that will make the staging process easier for you to do it yourself:
-First and foremost, pack up all the items you will do not use on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Things like books, off-season shoes and clothes/coats, kitchen appliances, kids toys, movies, sports equipment, linens, etc. place into boxes, label the boxes and store ALL the boxes in ONE neat area like the garage or basement storage room. But make sure not pile them all into one room, hiding the room its self. This exercise is to eliminate excess clutter around the house and make the actually staging process easier.
-Remove clutter-everywhere! This includes the kitchen counters, bathroom counters/showers, laundry room, table tops, dressers, closets, walls, etc. For the counters: you can display decorative items such as canisters, candles, etc. Items such as dish washing soap, or face wash should be placed neatly under the sink or out of plain sight. Areas like fireplace mantels, should not be filled with pictures, candles, etc. Select a few key items that compliment each other and place the rest into storage. Your walls should not be bare, but should not be covered in artwork either. The typical rule of thumb is to have one piece of art work in proportion to the size of the wall. This does not mean that every wall should have something on it either. There is a fine balance, should you need help, consult a professional on this topic.
- If you have a lot of furniture in your home, try to move it around so that rooms are not cramped with furniture. If you have furniture that you are not bringing to your next home, sell it or donate it before your home goes on the market. On the contrary, try not to have any rooms without any furniture at all either.
-If you have a kitchen in which the cupboards do not go all the way to the ceiling, remove any items that are on top of the cupboards...using this area as storage or having decorative vines, plants, add to clutter, and make the ceiling height seem lower.
-You home should feel like a model home...personal items such as wedding photos, or family photos, kids art work from school, etc. should be swapped for generic photos like landscapes, or packed up. It is easier for a buyer to vision themselves in your home without your personal touches.
-If you have a pet, make sure their items like litter boxes, water/food bowls, toys, beds, etc. are in concealed areas. Not everyone likes pets...Pay special attention to odours and stains caused by the pets as well, and try to eliminate these issues well in advance!
- Make sure 'hidden' places like closets, cupboards, basements, garages, etc. are neat and tidy. Just because they are not readily visible, does not mean that potential buyers will not see it. Disorganized areas can turn buyers off and discourage them from wanting to see the rest of the house.
-Lastly, keep the house in clean, broom swept condition-ALWAYS. Keep the garbage cans empty or concealed, keep the house dusted and ready to shine! This requires time and effort, so if this is something you know you cannot maintain, hire cleaning services for a few weeks until your home is sold. This will make the selling process a little easier on you and your family and takes a huge lead off your shoulders. No one wants to clean their home, daily!