Monday, August 27, 2012

Why Should I Stage My House To Sell It?

I get this question a lot.  Lots of people assume potential buyers can see past furnishings and styles and really appreciate the 'bones' of a house.  But in reality, that's tough for people to do.  Why do you think model homes are always fully decorated?

Here are a couple of things you might want to think through if you're getting ready to put your house on the market:

First and foremost - Buying a house is an emotional experience.   Sure, buyers care about facts and figures - square footage, heating/cooling costs & taxes.  But when it comes right down to it, buyers need to love the house.  Last year, when we had a potential buyer that was trying to figure out where to set up the Christmas tree - I knew they were serious, and they made an offer that night.  You want people to imagine themselves living in your house.  

So how do you do that?

Hide the clutter, but keep a few accessories out
1)  Clean your place up so it looks its best.  Put away all the daily clutter.  I know there's a recommendation to remove all family photos - I'm not sure that is absolutely essential, but pare it down to just one or two.  And empty your kitchen countertops of almost everything!

2)  Pare down your furniture to some key pieces that show well and leave just enough accessories to give the space some character.  Some professional stagers leave a room so bare, it doesn't look like real people live there.  That can give the opposite impression of a warm family home.  Think about a few key accessories that make your house look lived in.

3)  Think about traffic flow.  Can buyers navigate through the house easily, without bumping into furniture?  Maybe you need to put a few chairs into storage.  Or maybe that big coffee table that you love needs to disappear while the house is on the market.  You want your rooms to look big and open!

4)  Set the table.  Remember, you want people to envision themselves living in your home.  So help them think about having holiday dinners and family parties at the house.  This is true for the dining room table......
but depending on the season and weatherr, set the patio table as well.  Decks and patios are important living spaces in a home.  Stage it for a party!
5)  Plan music.  I know this sounds a little silly, but it will set a nice tone for your home.  The trick - what's the right music for your potential buyers.  Richard and I have long discussions about this.  He favors jazz, I worry that seems too 'old fogey' for young buyers.  You'll need to decide what works best in your area.

Want to read more?  The folks at Houzz recently did a great article on staging tips (Houzz 21 Staging Tips).  But I'd love to hear what tried and true ideas you have for staging a home.

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