Home staging is becoming the most known buzzword of the real estate market, especially in today’s volatile real estate market. There is no doubt and there is statistical information proving that home staging is a necessary evil of selling your home fast and profitably. There are several websites and realtors that promote and encourage the use of a professional home stager.
However; if you are on a tight budget, you can accomplish staging your house yourself, if you are not afraid of cleaning, organizing, and have a little creativity about you.
First things first…Get Your Mind Right!
Your mindset must change from “seller” to “buyer”. Your space, your domain, your home is no longer yours. Your home is now an object up for sell. You must remove the “you” from your home. Your ultimate goal is to feel like you are in a model home. You want your children, friends, or spouse to walk in the front door and go “WOW! This place looks great…I could live here!”
Break the Task Down!
Don’t tackle the entire house at once. Break it down, room by room. Approach each room with the same objectives and the following check list.
Checklist per room:
1. Remove the “you” stuff. Personal pictures and knick-knacks. If you no longer want these items, trash them; otherwise, store in plastic containers. You can leave platonic knick-knacks for decoration purposes.
2. Remove any items that are not in perfect condition. This includes any broken lamps, tables with broken legs, broken knick-knacks, and remove any throw rugs.
3. Storage areas or closets. These areas are imperative to your success. Any storage areas or closets must be clutter free and organized. If you are working in a closet, even if it is a single rod and shelf closet, you must throw away what you don’t want and organize what you do want. This is easily accomplished by sorting items and using stackable plastic bins for storage. Goodwill needs to become your best friend at this time!
While your closet or storage area is empty, take this opportunity to clean it. Get the cobwebs out and clean the baseboards and doors.
4. Remove all pictures from the walls. Personal pictures you will be storing. Impersonal pictures or decorations you will keep out for future replacement on the walls.
5. Slide all the furniture in the room away from the walls. Give yourself enough room to move around the perimeter of the room behind the furniture.
6. Look objectively at your walls and woodwork. Be honest and decide if it needs painting. A fresh coat of paint (in a neutral color such as beige, sand wood, etc.) can change the appearance of a room 100%. The cost of paint is very inexpensive vs. the painting allowance your potential buyer may ask for.
Also pay attention to your woodwork. If it is white it may need a new coat of high gloss paint as well. Most experts will discourage bold or bright colors for your walls.
7. Cleaning time. During the time the furniture is moved out from the wall, be sure to clean!
Get the cobwebs out of the corners, wash the woodwork, and wash the door. If you choose not to repaint the room, cleaning is imperative! Also, if your drapery is out of date, dirty, or in need of repair-you are better off taking them down and having bare windows. If you have mini blinds of any type, clean, clean, clean! Don’t forget to clean the light fixture and ceiling fan!
Tip: When cleaning a room remember to clean top to bottom and inside to out.
8. Furniture replacement. Placing furniture in a room is a creative art. If you don’t have a creative bone in your body, then enlist a friend to help you. There are also great tips on www.hgtv.com. You can also submit a picture of your room, on this website, for others to give you advice.
During the furniture placement stage, be sure to accent the best features in the room such as a fireplace, huge window, or a window seat. Don’t get stuck in the “it’s always been this way” mind set. Look at the room objectively and experiment with the furniture. You want to showcase your space! The less furniture and things in a room, the roomier it will appear. Space sells!
9. Accessorize. The basics of accessorizing are balance and texture. If you are working in a small bedroom, a large mirror centered over the bed, works well. Mirrors are wonderful wall hangings because they reflect light and make a room appear larger.
Smaller accessories include small groupings of like items displayed on shelves or furniture, a lamp, or platonic pictures in picture frames. If you have high ceilings and a large, tall piece of furniture, it is perfectly okay to place a large bouquet of flowers on top of that tall piece of furniture. This will draw attention to the height of the ceilings.
Fresh flowers, placed anywhere in your house, will give it a “fresh” appeal.
10. Pet policy. Sorry, but Fido must go or at least all signs of Fido must go. Before your house is shown you will have to remove all pets from the house and all evidence of pets. If your house has pet odor, which it probably does to a non-pet owner, Google search PureAyre. This company sells a kit with a black light to detect pet urine anywhere, and pet deodorizer that can actually be injected into carpets, cushions, etc. It is also 100% safe for pets and children.
The checklist will help keep you on track while you are staging your home.
Other Areas Not to Forget
1. The garage. Don’t forget to organize your garage. Plastic storage bins stacked in a corner look a lot better than stuff laying all over the floor and piled up in the corner. The garage must be organized.
2. The outside of the house is equally important in your home staging project. Most prospective buyers will make a decision within 8 seconds of laying eyes on your property. You have 8 seconds of a quick glance to make a good impression and make the buyer want to walk inside to see more.
The outside check list is lawn care (keep it mowed), replace dead anything (flowers, bushes, plants), pressure wash the exterior of the house, and clean the concrete driveway. If you have a pool, make sure it is clean. Concrete wash can be purchased at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or other hardware stores and you can use a garden hose to do the work yourself.
The Two Most Important Rooms
The two most important rooms to get absolutely right are the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen and all it’s appliances (if you are selling the fridge with the house, organize and clean the inside of the fridge) must be cleaned. Kitchen cabinets must be clean and organized. The infamous junk drawer needs to be organized as well. Prospective home buyers will look in all the cabinets!
The bathrooms of your house have got to be spotless and smell fresh. All personal items need to be stored away in the closet or in the cabinets. Cabinets and closets must be organized. Purchase new throw rugs to only be used when the house is showing. To give a bathroom a constant fresh smell, keep a bottle of Lysol or your favorite cleaner handy. Splash some in the toilet before the house is shown. Another tip is to hide laundry dryer sheets between the towels or under the rugs in the bathroom.
Educated with these tips, your house staging project should be much easier. Home staging is extremely beneficial in the process of selling your house and it can be a do-it-yourself project if you commit yourself to it. Break it down, clean it out, clean it up, and replace. It’s that simple.