No one likes opening up their home for strangers to walk through with critical eyes – but that’s exactly what happens when your house is on the market and your real estate agent makes appointments to show your place to prospective buyers. It’s easier to sell a furnished home than an empty one, and yet it’s important to change your home along certain lines in order to increase your chances of selling it quickly. These changes made in your home’s appearance are called staging.
Another aspect of staging is used with vacant homes, when the owner chooses to furnish it with simple, attractive pieces placed effectively to show prospective buyers how the home can look – and, just as important, how the space can function – when it is inhabited.
Model homes in new developments are staged homes. Most of us have been through a number of these, so you can probably recall a few examples. In many cases, these model homes have been decorated by local interior designers using furnishings supplied by local furniture stores. The designers and stores will often exchange their services for advertising, in the form of leaving cards and brochures in the model homes for browsers to take, or being mentioned in print advertisements placed by the development’s builder inviting people to come look at the model homes.
Staging homes for sale has grown in popularity over the years, and there is an organization that certifies people to become stagers. Some designers – both interior and landscape – offer staging services. And sometimes real estate professionals will add staging services to their overall offerings as a way to entice sellers to list their homes with that particular agency.
Whether you choose to hire someone to stage your home or not, you can take advantage of some of the basic staging strategies to give your home a fresh, staged look – even when you and your family are is still in residence. One of the benefits to doing some staging is that it will result in an environment that is still “you,” but not to the degree it once was, and this makes it a little easier to open it for viewing by strangers, and also easier to let go and move on when the sale is made.
Here are three simple staging starters:
- Clean, clean, clean – Every nook and cranny. Carpets, floors, windows. Yards, garages, basements. Everything. If this feels like an overwhelming chore, hire a cleaning service to blitz the place.
- Lose the clutter – Remove or find ways to contain all the “stuff” that casually finds its way onto surfaces: coffee tables, kitchen counters, bathroom sinks, bedside tables, etc. Put the magazines in baskets, the toys in a trunk or toy box, the toiletries in trays or drawers.
- Remove personal photos, notes, and correspondence – In some cases, a nicely framed photo or two can remain in full view, but you’ll be surprised how much better you’ll feel when so much of your personal life is not on stage. All home-office things should be tucked away, again protecting your privacy. Clear off your refrigerator door and tuck all those fun magnets away for your new place.
These strategies are simple and obvious – you might not have considered them to be aspects of staging, but they are. With these starters taken care of, you’ll begin to see your place with new eyes, and very likely see many things that can be packed away, given away, or sold, adding energy to your home’s sale and your own enthusiasm for moving on.