When I started selling real estate 12 years ago, homes were put or rather “slapped” on the market pretty much “as is”. One day, the owners would decide to sell their home, their agent would preview the property, assess its value, take pictures and not long after, the property would be “thrown into the market arena”. At that time, the very concept of staging was perceived, by owners and brokers, as a total waste of time and energy. My very first attempt at it was not perfect yet got my listing sold in record time and for top dollar (in a market where sales were sluggish and unpredictable). Staged properties sell faster and for higher prices because buyers feel at home, they can visualize their belongings in them and know that they will be able to move right in. If you were going to sell your car, would you take the time to vacuum the interior, wash and polish the exterior? Or just sell it dirty and full of stuff? Well, staging works the same way. Although superficial, its effects are paramount!
#1. The 3 Cs of staging CLEAN COLOR CLUTTER
– The very first rule is to invest time in a general “Spring cleaning” both interior and exterior. Your property needs to smell fresh and inviting. Avoid air fresheners as much as possible, some buyers are allergic to them. Use diffusers instead, burn a natural and gently scented candle before a showing or bake cookies.
– The best colors are neutral ones such as off whites, cream or soft greys (very “in” right now) for the main living areas. If you are using some light colors for the bedrooms and bathrooms make sure to keep the ceilings & trims white. Working with neutral tones.
– Get rid of the clutter. Since you are going to move anyway, time to pack nick knacks, and extra decorations on shelves and furniture. Less is better. Clear your counters, make your closets not so packed with clothes (they will look larger).
Your home needs to be as neutral as possible, remove those family portraits (you want buyers to look at your home and not at its personal content) and put away any books on religion, and various controversial elements.
#3. Fix and repair
If you have been putting off a list of broken items or a to-do maintenance list, now is the time to tackle it. It goes from refreshing the paint on baseboards, walls and doors to fixing some broken windows and having your furnace serviced or your roof and gutters cleaned.
#4. Key pieces of furniture and fun accessories with a recurring theme & color
If your furniture is shabby or dated looking you may want to haul them away and rent a few key pieces that will make the living spaces fresh and relevant to a modern buyer. Using a professional stager might be a good way to go if you don’t know where to start. He or she will have the right inventory of furniture and accessories for your house and will direct you towards the right selection. It is better to avoid being too traditional or too modern to appeal to a wider range of age groups and tastes. Go for a more transitional style.
Do not block a passage way or a view towards the back of a sofa. Think of the best attributes of your home and rearrange your furniture accordingly. Showing your buyers where to put their electronics and TVs is important. If your market attracts a high level of International buyers, think of Feng Shui as an important extra step in your staging process.
#5. Larger & fewer pieces of artwork with a recurring color scheme
When it comes down to wall art, larger and fewer pieces will have a bigger impact. Once you have selected a color palette, you will want to bring a few recurring themes and colors to the throws, pillows and artwork present in the home. It will bring a sense of coherence and flow between the rooms. If you own a waterfront or a view home for example, think of using some blues and greys into your accessories. It will create a flow between the inside and the outside.
#6. Work on that curb appeal
Curb appeal is essential as this is the very first impression buyers will have of your home. If it doesn’t look kept up or inviting, they may not even take the time to go inside. Have your home pressure washed, refresh your paint, if necessary, add some potted plants and create an entrance that says “welcome”.