Selling your home- Staging: Do’s & Don’ts
I truly feel that finding the right home is like finding your wedding dress. When you walk into a house you will get the “feeling” that the universe has aligned for the sole purpose of benefiting you. Staging a house properly should ultimately create a balance between feeling homey to potential buyers and yet remain neutral enough that it doesn’t feel like YOUR home, but thiers. A seller who can achieve this is certain to have quick sale times for close to (or over) asking price. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts.
DO- Paint. For the love of God, paint. If you think somebody MIGHT find your royal blue foyer offensive, that’s because they WILL find it offensive. Less is more.
DON’T- Assume your house is going to sell based solely on its obvious awesome-ness. Assuming your house is going to sell on the first open house/ showing/day is ludacris. Never get lazy with its presentation- Always clean, always light those candles, always plug in the scents and please, sweet baby Jesus, always FLUSH THE TOILETS.
DO- De-clutter. Such a simple, yet curiously under used technique. So do this: Take 2 grocery bags, and stuff them with a towel. Then carry one bag in each hand while walking through out your house. Walk around the beds, access all closets, doors, and explore every nook and cranny of your home. If you CAN’T easily pass through an area- IT IS TOO CLUTTERED. You are planning on moving, correct? Then just start packing. Pack away EVERYTHING you don’t NEED. Don’t forget your fridge! Clear everything off your fridge.
DON’T- Cut off your nose to spite your face. “My house is 50 shades of fabulous! Be dammed to anyone who can’t see passed my furniture/paint colours/ clutter/lack of cleaning/smell of the dog.” Wait. What? Exactly. If you walked into a store and it smelt like you were standing in a urine puddle, the walls were painted bold purple and the aisles were so cluttered that you couldn’t actually reach anything, I doubt you would do much shopping. Here’s the secret: Nobody HAS to buy your house. Chances are there are a hundred houses just like yours. Give someone(s) a reason to WANT your house (a good realtor will get you there.)
DO-A thorough cleaning. The numbero uno rule to staging is CLEAN. Baseboards, light fixtures, cupboards, furnace and hot water tank- The whole nine yards. If you are unsure where to start please access the Spring Cleaning List on my website (http://www.century21.ca/rose.sicoli/Spring_Clean_Check_list )
This includes changing the burnt out light bulbs, and removing dead plants (again, one would think this to be common sense, but alas…..)
DON’T – Do anything weird. If a room is supposed to be a dining room- set it up as a dining room. Bedrooms can be bedrooms or offices- that’s it. Put away the shrines honouring Sir Winston Reginald the third, your very beloved (and very dead) family dog. If there is something weird in your house, people will remember it, but for all the wrong reasons.
Do- Neutralize your home base. Remove most religious affiliation, family pictures- Especially family pictures from the eighties and nineties. Nobody cares about your family reunion from 1989. Or rather, they DO care and they will sit there making fun of the hair and moustaches and forget that they are at a showing. This makes my job more difficult, and that is annoying.
DON’T- Try to be all fancy. A table or buffet should only have 1-3 pieces on it. A coffee table needs nothing more than a lamp (or one piece). Please don’t try to be a designer because chances are you are not one. Simplicity is the key to a well-staged home. Don’t remove too much or it will feel empty and cold.
Do- Clean your walls. Scuff marks on the walls make your whole house feel run down
Don’t- Forget outside. A first impression is forged within 30 seconds. Don’t waste that. If your property looks like a house of 1000 corpses... Ain't nobody got time fer that. Have your kids put their bikes, and chalk, and skipping ropes and roller blades away. Cut the grass and pull the weeds. Oh. You’re not one for gardening? So what? I’m not asking you to Martha Stewart the crap out of your perennial beds. Just make sure your garden isn’t over run with weeds.
DO- Open all the curtains and windows (if possible) before a showing. Close your eyes, and imagine the heat of the sun shining, and a warm breeze passing through a clean house on a spring day. The light scent of pinesol and fresh cut grass fills the house. I feel at home already. That IS the goal here, isn’t it? To make the visitor feel “at home”? And on that note, my last point:
Don’t – Be at home during a showing. Nobody can feel “at home” with strangers there.
The moral of the story? 90% of the population cannot see passed what is immediately presented to them. Taking a weekend out of your life to de-clutter, paint and clean will get you top dollar and save you months of time trying to sell your house. Nobody will buy your house based on vague promises of future potential awesomeness. There are few buyers that want “potential”.