Some Secrets of Professional Home Stagers

As a Real Estate professional… as Michelangelo once stated… “I am still learning” Here is a very good article from Diane Benson Harrington with Move Inc.. I thought I should share with you. Don’t hesitate to give me a call at 340-690-9177 or shoot me an email at [email protected] if you would like more information about Real Estate from one our professionals here at RE/MAX St. Croix in Americas Secret Paradise.

Cost-effective ways to spruce up your home for a quick sale

Where’s the house? Where’s the fountain? Home-stager Barb Schwarz says you can’t sell it if you can’t see it.

Maybe you’ve seen the shows. A house languishes on the market and a crew of home stagers descends on the place and before you know it, they whip it into shape fast. And then what? It sells.

An investment of a few hundred or maybe a few thousand dollars in a home headed for the market — a sprucing up the pros call “home staging” — can yield nice returns.

Why stage a house? “Buyers can only imagine what they see, not what it’s going to be,” says Barb Schwarz, a broker who now focuses entirely on staging homes with her International Association of Home Staging Professionals. “If you don’t clean the carpet or don’t take down the flocked wallpaper or the teenager’s walls are painted bright purple, the buyer can’t envision it any other way.”

If done well, staging makes a remarkable difference. “We took over a house that was on the market for six months, didn’t change the price, staged it, and it sold in 18 days,” says Realtor® Paul Conti, who with his wife Ginger, stages and sells houses with Re/Max Valley Properties in San Jose, Calif.

Schwarz, who says she invented the concept and term of “home staging,” claims that homes staged by her accredited students sell in an average of 42 days vs. an unstaged home’s 136 days and with an increase in sales price of 6 to 22 percent.

Regardless of the numbers, the National Association of Realtors® has touted the benefits of staging — and it’s a given that real estate agents on commissions are just as eager as home sellers to boost a home’s selling price and lessen its time on the market.

Whether you want to spruce up your home for your own pleasure or boost its bottom line, stagers’ advice can give your house an amazing new look. Here’s how:

Start at the street
“Curb appeal” isn’t just a fancy phrase created to boost landscapers’ income. It’s a crucial first impression that can make buyers either wary of stopping to look or eager to step inside. Be sure your lawn and gardens look great, trash cans and bikes are put away, house numbers are attractive and easy to see, the front door is spectacular (because you’ve replaced it or painted it and perhaps updated the hardware), and that you have some attractive potted plants by the door.

Remember the foyer
The second first impression comes the minute a potential buyer steps inside your home. Coats on a rack, shoes underneath and keys and other doodads in a dish on a console table may mean you’re a fabulous organizer, but it’s not the way to sell a home. Put the coats and shoes in a closet, the keys in your purse and a vase of flowers on the table.

Try the 1/4 to 1/2 rule
While a few homes out there have too little furniture and too few accessories, the vast majority have way too much. You don’t just want to straighten up your clutter, you want to remove it. Consider putting at least one-quarter of your furniture in storage, one-third of your books in boxes and at least one-half of your knickknacks away. Use the same rule with cabinets, closets and counters. If they’re stuffed full, buyers will think they’re too small. Keep them tidy and one-third to one-half empty (place just a few things on each shelf). Don’t forget to pare down your outside furnishings and accessories, too.

A coat of paint and a little attention to accessories turned this blah bathroom into something worthy of guests.

Clean ’til you drop
Or hire a cleaning crew to come regularly while your home is on the market, or at least for a one-time super-cleaning. Don’t skip windows (inside and out), behind the toilet, bathroom grout, under sinks. Actually move your furniture to vacuum behind and under it.

Arrange furnishings to highlight the architecture
Take advantage of views and fireplaces. Spruce them up by framing or highlighting them, not covering them up or weighing them down. Put tall objects (furniture, vases, paintings or plants) against tall walls. Highlight, don’t block, the traffic flow. Grab a couple of sturdy friends and play with different ways to arrange your furniture. Again, pay special attention to your friends’ opinions.

Use rooms as they were intended
Take the exercise equipment out of the guest room and put a bed back in. Put a table and chairs in an eat-in kitchen. Get the home office equipment and filing cabinets out of your little-used dining room and set the table for company (or just put a nice vase of flowers on top).

Fix what’s broken
Buyers look for flaws to help lower the sales price in negotiations. That wobbly stair rail may still support you and the crack in the ceiling plaster may not be structural, but it’ll leave buyers wondering what else is not quite right. No matter how minor the problem, take your toolbox around and start fixing.

Update what you can
Tired home is often thanks to tired paint or furnishings. A new coat of neutral-toned paint is a buyer-pleasing backdrop. Remove outdated furniture; trade sofas with a friend or relative while your house is on the market, ditch yours and buy new, or store yours and rent or borrow a more contemporary style. Tired area rugs (or too many of them) detract from nice wood floors. Shag or other old-fashioned carpeting will turn buyers off. Replace it if you can; clean it if you can’t. Update a tired kitchen with an inexpensive new countertop, new cabinet doors, or even just new cabinet hardware.

Erase your personality
Love Hummels? Bummer. Collect fishing lures? Too bad. Think that colorful painting is quirky and fun? At least half the people who see it won’t. Box up your collections, your personal photos, and anything you wouldn’t expect to see on the floor of a furniture showroom. (Nondescript art is fine; art with attitude is not.) And put away blow dryers, makeup and toothbrushes. Buyers need to imagine themselves in your home, not wonder what its current inhabitants are like.

Invite over honest friends
Ask two or three of your most forthright friends to look through your house with the eye of a home buyer: What needs changing? The smell of pets? A cracked window? Not-so-clean appliances? What’s acceptable for daily living isn’t likely to impress a buyer.

Find storage away from your house
It’s tempting to shove all the boxes of extras into the basement or garage, but buyers will be looking there — judging how big they are. Make them as empty as possible by renting a storage space or borrowing a neighbor’s or relative’s garage for a while. (For last-minute things — a stack of papers, a handful of dirty clothes — you need to put away before a showing, stash them in the washer or dryer or under beds; most buyers never look there.)

 © by Move, Inc.