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Home Staging

Staging Your Home Can Help You Achieve a Faster and More Profitable Sale

More money, less time. That's what every home seller is looking for; getting the highest price for your home in the shortest amount of time. In order to sell your home quickly and for the most money, you want to use every 'trick' in the book.

Staging is one such 'trick' that can help you achieve the look you, and potential buyers want to see. Much like a model home in a new home community, staging is a way to present your home at its most enticing!

In order to stage your house properly, the first (and often the most difficult) thing you have to do is to stop thinking of it as your home, and start thinking of your house as a piece of property, a marketable asset.

You want to reverse roles with your potential buyers. You must stop thinking of it as your home while convincing potential buyers to think of it as their home. The trick is to de-personalize the house so potential buyers can envision their belongings in their new home.

Staging your house is a step beyond cleaning and decorating. Staging is what you do after you've cleaned, de-cluttered, painted, and made minor repairs. Staging makes your house look larger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, and, best of all, it makes the people who enter it want to buy it. It's all about creating an illusion.

Staging isn't hard, and can be fairly inexpensive, but many homeowners find it difficult to do, because they can't look objectively at the things they love.

But don't worry, www.OnlineHouseTrading.com has some tips for effectively staging your entire house. If you're still not convinced or if you need a visual image to help you along, simply visit a new home builder and look at one of their decorated models. Though decorating an entire model home is expensive, builders consistently do so because they know it is a good investment. They know how successfully a staged home sells.

Staging Tips

To begin with, your new mantra should be "de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter". Try to eliminate the clutter in your home by at least 50%. www.OnlineHouseTrading.com has compiled a list of simple steps you can take to stage your house for potential home buyers.

  • Put away your knickknacks. I know it's hard, but it's the first step in de-cluttering! Your objective is to create a sense of spaciousness, not clutter.
  • Remove family photos. You want buyers to imagine their own family photos placed lovingly around the house! When a potential home buyer sees your family photos throughout the house, it interrupts the illusion of it being their home. So, put away family photos, sports trophies, collectible items, souvenirs, political and religious items; anything that will personalize the house.
  • Remove all or most books from the bookcases. The only books you want to leave are those that are part of your staging. Try stacking 2 or 3 books on a shelf and placing a small (silk) plant next to or on top of them.
  • Check your house plants. Plants can make or break the look of a house. Make sure your house plants are healthy and add to the look you are trying to create. If not, replace them with quality silk plants or get rid of them altogether. Check your containers, too. If they are faded or worn out, replace them with brass, wicker, or ceramic containers.
  • Keep garbage pails and wastebaskets empty. If possible, remove them altogether.
  • Remove enough items from your closet so that garments are not touching each other. Take out any items (shoes, too!) you know you will not wear in the next few months. If you have out-of-season, or 'other sized' clothing in your closet, pack them away.
  • Remove area rugs - they break up the continuity of floor space, making your rooms look smaller.
  • Remove worn throw pillows and replace with fresh, updated ones.
  • Keep your bathrooms clean, clean, clean. Make sure mirrors, countertops and shower doors are sparkling at all times. Hang fresh towels.
  • Clean out and organize your bathroom cabinets. As with the kitchen, Realtors┬« and buyers will open them and look around!
  • Keep your bathrooms de-personalized as well. An easy way to do this is to put items used daily in a small box and store it in a closet or cabinet when not in use.
  • If any of your rooms are unusual or bold colors, consider painting your walls with neutral colors. Potential buyers won't necessarily have the same taste as yours and again, you want them to feel as if they could just move right in without having to paint first.
  • If necessary, replace bedding with fresh, contemporary items.

The Kitchen

Remember the kitchen is the heart of the home. It may be the most looked at room in a house. This room deserves a bit more attention because it is so important to the sale of your house. A kitchen can make or break a sale.

Potential buyers will open your kitchen cabinets, drawers and pantry to get a good look and what they see will give them a strong impression. If they see clutter (there's that word again), mess, broken items and disarray, it will reflect what they perceive is how you have taken care of the rest of your house.

If what potential buyers find is a neat, orderly pantry with items lined up, spices labeled and other items organized, or cabinets with pretty, neatly stacked dishes, they will assume that you have taken care of the necessary maintenance for the rest of the house. This may sound silly, but it's true.

Potential buyers want to feel like they will be moving into a house that has been kept clean and maintained throughout. They want to assume there will be no surprises after they have purchased the house and made it their home.

  • Clean everything off kitchen counters - this includes small appliances and cooking utensils.
  • Make sure appliances are clean inside and out, and free of clutter as well.
  • Replace or repair any broken counter or floor tiles.
  • If the kitchen cabinet and drawer knobs are old, outdated, faded or scratched, replace them. This is a low cost way to update your kitchen.
  • If you have wooden cabinets, wipe them with orange or lemon oil, it will breathe new life into them!
  • Set out bowls of colorful fruit and/or bake cookies. The sight of the fruit and the smell of the cookies says 'home' to potential buyers.
  • Set out and display any colorful cookbooks you might have.
  • Make sure your kitchen is light, bright and inviting.
  • As with the rest of the house, minimize furniture and accessories to create the largest feel possible.
  • If the refrigerator is staying, clean it out as well.

Now, take a good, hard look at all of your floors. Is the carpet worn, stained or frayed? Do the hardwoods need refurbishing? Are there any cracks or tears in the tile or vinyl floors? Often, replacing worn or stained carpet with neutral color carpet with is an excellent, relatively low cost investment.

Adding new carpet gives your house that illusion of "new" that buyers want, and prevents them from having to imagine what the house would look like after the carpet is replaced if you were to offer a 'carpet allowance'. Make any necessary repairs/replacements to wood, tile and vinyl flooring.

Finally, when showing your house, make sure every light bulb works and every light is turned on, including lamps. The brighter your home is, the better!

Experience the results of your hard work

Outside Looking In

Go outside and reenter your house as if you were a real estate agent or potential buyer. How does it strike you? Is it inviting? Do you want to see what the rest of the house looks like? Does it have an appealing smell (or no smell at all - you don't want any overwhelming odors to greet Realtors or potential buyers.

Doorway Perspectives

Do the same thing in the doorway of every other room and imagine how your house will look to a potential buyer. Try to be objective. You might want to enlist the opinion of your Realtor if you have one, or a friend or relative who will tell you the truth about what they see and feel.

First Impression

Now jump in your car, drive around the block, come back and take an honest, good look at your 'curb appeal'. What you see is the first impression Realtors and potential buyers will have about your house. What you are looking for is a 'Oh, that's so cute" or "This looks like the house I've always dreamed of" reaction. Remember, if potential buyers aren't drawn to your house from the outside, they'll never even see the inside.

Most of the suggestions we have listed are low cost and will go along way to getting you top dollar for your house. You definitely will be rewarded for your time and effort! If you feel that this is just too much for you, there are many 'staging' professionals who will tackle the project for you. Just look one up on-line or in the yellow pages!

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