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Staging Your Home


According to StagedHomes.com, the average return on investment of a staged home is 169%. For instance, to stage a home it will typically cost you anywhere from $212 - $1,089. The average return on that investment is $2,275 - $2,841!  Home staging is considered by many experts to be the single most effective marketing tool to selling a home for top dollar.  Here's how you can using proper staging techniques to be your seller's hero.

Staging is the act of rearranging the furnishings and decorations in a home to make it appear bigger and more inviting. It allows potential buyers to envision themselves living in the home, which is imperative to getting the home sold. Here are some tips from the experts on how to stage a home for success.

Kim McDaniels of DecorateU.com says, “What most sellers don’t understand is that the way you live in a home and the way you sell it are two different things. By staging their homes for sale —which involves depersonalizing it, getting rid of clutter and cleaning —they can sell quicker for more money.” She has listed the top ten reasons why staging a home is so important. They include:

  1. The longer your house sits on the market, the less it sells for.
  2. Staging your house costs less than the price of an ad and it is much more effective.
  3. Today’s homebuyer is educated and very pressed for time.
  4. It will create a positive and outstanding first impression you need to sell your house faster and move on with your life.
  5. Buyers form an opinion about your house within five seconds of seeing it!
  6. It sets the scene for buyers to mentally move in right away.
  7. Your home is directly competing against every other house on the market. Staged homes look better than unstaged homes because it is presented in the best possible light and is ready to be sold.
  8. Sellers and their realtors have more confidence showing a staged property to buyers.
  9. Staged houses sell faster and for more money in most markets, usually within 10 days or less!  And, the return on your investment for staging can be 10- to 20-fold.
  10. Real estate appraisers are more likely to appraise staged homes at full value.

Johnnie Davis, with The Girl Friday, advises clients “to remove clutter and, to enable them to know what that is, I point out things on the kitchen counters and bath counters. If they have a mantel, less is usually more. Personal photographs are banished during the showing. Lights are on for every showing. Furniture is to be minimized. I recommend renting a storage room during the time the home is being shown for sale and storing extra pieces of furniture and knick-knacks until the home sells."

The most important thing, without doubt, is that the home be spotless. If the homeowner is unable to accomplish this, they should hire a service to get windows and mirrors shining. Remember, carpets, tiles and hardwoods, as well as tubs and showers, must shine too. Fireplaces, large windows, and views need to be accented by arranging furniture to focus on them. Front porches and walkways must be clear of debris and have a few nice plants —either potted or permanent —on or around them.”

Vivian Little, owner of Virtual Business and Real Estate Services, Inc., tells clients that “once a decision to sell is made, homeowners must look at their property from the perspective of potential buyers and determine what improvements need to be done to attract the right buyer.”  Vivian provides 15 tips to help sellers prepare their kitchens for an open house:

  1. Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare your home for an open house. Begin the process at least two weeks before your Realtor® begins setting appointments.

  2. Remove all miscellaneous clutter from the front and top of your refrigerator —such as magnets, photographs, open food bags, note pads, etc.

  3. Clean all countertops.

  4. Remove all dishtowels, sponges, pads and cleaning supplies from view.

  5. To refresh your pantry —place an open box of fabric softener sheets on a back shelf.

  6. To refresh and remove odors from your garbage disposal —slice a fresh lemon and put two teaspoons of baking soda through a cycle.

  7. Place a green, vibrant potted plant on the kitchen or island countertop.

  8. Forty-five minutes prior to an open house, simmer a fragrant pot of potpourri to create a warm and inviting ambiance.

  9. Bake a fresh batch of cookies and put them on a beautiful serving dish. Place the cookies on the countertop for visitors (they will appreciate your thoughtfulness).

  10. Place a colorful bowl of fresh citrus fruits such as lemons, grapefruit, oranges and limes on your tabletop.

  11. Set your dining room or kitchen table by using your best tablecloth and displaying your china and crystal.

  12. During the daytime, open all blinds, shades and curtains to let in as much natural light as possible. It makes the kitchen bright, airy and sunny.

  13. Clean and polish the kitchen cabinets with a good lemon oil to condition the wood. Be sure to also clean, polish and shine the handles/pulls with a good metal cleaner.

  14. Clean all the windows in the kitchen with a window cleaner.

  15. Clean all the light fixtures in the kitchen.

Carolyn Nelson, President of Online Real Estate Assistant, offers 75 home selling preparation tips for sellers on her website. She recommends the following for staging rooms in general:

  1. Do not leave any clothing on the floor or beds.
  2. Make sure all beds are made every morning.
  3. All walk-in closets should be in order at all times.
  4. Personal items should be locked away and/or stored in a secure cabinet in the garage or other storage area.
  5. Vacuum daily.
  6. Clean all blinds, ceiling fans and curtains frequently.
  7. Remove all garbage daily.

And for those sellers that have pets, Carolyn advises:

  • Pets should be kept in a cage and in the garage.
  • Pets should be washed frequently.
  • Use a mixture of vinegar and water (3:1) in a spray bottle to remove pet odor from the carpet and to wipe down the walls, if necessary.
  • Have all furniture cleaned to remove the smell of pets and pet hair.

Kandra Hamric, with Assistant for Real Estate, uses these staging tips to help her clients help their sellers:

  1. Take down family photos from the walls.
  2. Bring the outside in by putting fresh flowers and plants around the home.
  3. Less is more!  Declutter by removing collectibles and knickknacks.
  4. Neutralize the color. If the paint in the home is dark or bold, suggest the homeowner repaint with an off-white or white color to make the rooms appear larger.
  5. Stage the fireplace by filling it with wood so it looks ready to be started.
  6. Keep the bathroom spotless! Hide toothbrushes and hair products in the cabinet and keep the counter empty. The only things you should have on the counter are flowers and nice hand towels.

Crystal Curran, a.k.a. Coach Crystal, has recently started certification for Feng Shui as it relates to real estate. If you are unfamiliar with the term, Feng Shui is the study of energy and how it impacts our home, office, life, etc.

Crystal says, “We have all learned less is more in staging a home. You know to remove personal possessions, remove furniture to show the space of a room, place a few knickknacks in strategic positions to show off the home or to add plants or arrangements to make it warm and inviting. But what Feng Shui states is that, by looking at the diagram of a home (compass directions of how the home sits as well as the rooms within the home) we can ‘enhance’ certain areas to make sure the home sells quicker. This can also include even the placement of the Realtors® sign.”

By using these tips, you should be able to help effectively stage your homes. Because with the housing market currently favoring the buyer, everything we can do to help you prepare yourhomes for sale will put you ahead of the competition.

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