Home Staging Hints and Tips
Although many Canadians are unfamiliar with the term home staging, which means preparing a house for sale using cost-effective and non-invasive methods, most consider home staging techniques as part of their selling and buying criteria. Home staging, a tool used by successful real estate agents for decades, is the best way to make a dramatic impact without spending a lot of money. Unlike major renovations, house staging is a simple and inexpensive way to bring your house up-to-date. Like a model home, your house should encourage buyers to visualize living there.
A buyer makes a decision whether or not they want to buy a home within 5 seconds of walking in the front door! Simple techniques like cleaning, organizing and de-personalizing can help to make your house buyer-friendly. Creating the illusion of space and neutralizing your house are two important aspects of home staging. Eliminating clutter is an easy way to accomplish both. Another effective home staging technique is removing, rearranging and resizing furniture.
If your home is out-dated, cluttered or not selling, you may want to hire a professional home stager who can make your home more attractive to buyers. Try looking at your house through buyers’ eyes, as though you’ve never seen it or been there before. Any time or money invested will bring back more money and a faster sale in return.
If you want to know the basics of home staging so you can make the changes yourself, here are the basics:
Room Editing - often times our rooms just get overcrowded with stuff. If you had planned on selling, giving away, or discarding items before actually moving to your new home, consider doing it before your current home goes on the market. If you simply have too much furniture in one room, move it to another area of the house or to a storage spot for the time being. This will free up the room and make it seem more spacious and airy, which is an appealing selling point for potential buyers.
Furniture Arrangement - as in editing, well-placed furnishings can also open up a room. Avoid lining furniture along all four walls. Try placing a piece or two on an angle. In the living areas, include an area for cozy conversation. If space allows, an out of the way corner for reading. If a room has a focal point for selling, such as fireplace or bay window, arrange furnishings to enhance this feature, not distract from it.
Repairs Clutter Elimintation - Keep in mind that you want potential buyers to be noticing the house itself, not your belongings. This is the perfect time for significant collections such as newspapers and magazines, knick-knacks and excessive family photos to be packed up for the move. This included bathroom and kitchen countertops! Small appliances, jars, bottles and tubes should not be left on display. By eliminating the clutter, you will also add to the feeling of spaciousness in a room.
Lighting - Show your rooms in the best possible light…natural! If heavy drapes or curtains block the view, leave them open. The same goes for any kind of blind. Light makes a room seem bright and cheery. On that same note, be sure to clean your windows and screens, inside and out. This can make a big impact on the light coming into a room. If you have a room with dark walls or no windows, leave a few of the lights on during showings. If overhead lighting is too stark, try just leaving on a lamp or two for drama.
Material Things - Toss wet towels into the dryer before heading out while your home is on the market. In the kitchen and bath, consider setting out guest towels and soap. Throw rugs and carpet should be in good condition. If they are not completely necessary, such as in an entryway, or hiding a beautiful wood floor, they should be removed all together. Never lay a rug over carpeting. Tattered or worn bedspreads should be removed and replaced as well. Beds should always be made.
Using Greenery and Flowers - In spring and summer, an outdoor container garden or hanging planter is lush and appealing and can add a lot of first impression impact. A home’s interior can benefit from flowers and greenery as well. A simple seasonal bouquet can brighten up any room of the home and has a charming appeal.
Scents - Just like certain smells can trigger memories in a person years later, the scent of a home can leave a lasting effect on a potential buyer. For this reason, you want to avoid cooking smelly foods before showing your home. If weather allows, open windows and doors and let in some fresh air. During colder months, baking a frozen loaf of bread or cookies can be an inviting fragrance. And, although you never want to over-perfume your home, burning a vanilla or eucalyptus candle is a quick and aromatic remedy.
Check the Outside - Go around the perimeter of the house and remove all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials etc. Check gutters for roof moss and dry rot. Make sure they are swept and cleaned. Look at all plants, pruning bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking the windows. Weed and mulch all planting areas. Keep the lawn cut and fertilized. Clear the deck or patio of all small items, such as toys. A tidy outside raises less concern about maintenance issues.
Repairs - Fix any small repairs, including leaky faucets, squeaky doors and loose door handles. They may seem insignificant to you, but minor repairs add up in the mind of the potential buyer.
Pets - If you have pets, ensure that their dishes, sleeping areas and litter boxes are clean. Any noticeable pet hair should be vacuumed and dog droppings removed from the yard. Remove your pet during showings.
Clean - Do a thorough cleaning before putting your home on the market. Spotless walls, windows, carpets, flooring and appliances make a lasting first impression. If your carpets or vinyl floors are stained, especially in high traffic areas, you should consider replacing them.