Staging their house to impress buyers is a topic on which sellers may need their agent’s advice. A real estate agent has lots of experience as a seller’s agent and buyer’s agent showing properties, preparing houses for sale, conducting open houses, and talking to buyers about what they want. So they are a valuable resource for homeowners, especially first time sellers who may have trouble setting aside their own perception of their house. An agent can look at their home with the fresh eyes of a potential buyer analyzing the house as a potential home. Also, an open house is a good idea in preparing for a successful preparation. Read more hacks for a successful open house for real estate agents.
Preparing the House
Before you can start the fun of staging, you must have a clean canvas to work with. The sellers will need to move as much of the non-essential furniture, appliances, dishes and pots, and clothes out of the house and into storage. Personal items such as family photos, toys, and gadgets will also need to go.
Then it’s time for a complete deep clean, top to bottom, inside and outside. A professional cleaning crew may be necessary. Anything that is too old or damaged needs to be fixed or replaced.
Now that you have a clear view of the house, its elements, and the layout, you can make a few suggestions for strategic upgrades like fresh paint, updated cabinets, and new handles and fixtures. Keep in mind that these preparation steps should also be done with the exterior to develop eye-catching curb appeal.
You’re staging for the listing photos and for showings and open houses. You’ll want the rooms to look great in online photographs, but they should be attractive and inviting in person too.
In major rooms, look to design open spaces and facilitate easy traffic flow. Rearrange furniture to create more space and draw the eye through the room and out the windows.
Minimal is the name of the game. Less is more with staging because it allows the buyers to see features of the house instead of the seller’s style. Tables should be nearly empty and bookcases should be half full. Clear almost everything off the kitchen counters and store soaps, cleaners, and sponges under the sink. In the bathrooms, store all personal grooming items in boxes or baskets. Nice, unused towels should be set out for showings and open houses.
You may have heard professional stagers or T.V. interior designers talk about creating “vignettes.” A vignette is an attractive little scene, uncluttered and stylish. A vignette will involve a few pieces of carefully selected and arranged furniture, a health plant, vase or ornament (perhaps brass or glass), and perhaps an understated print on the wall. No clutter, no debris of daily life. Just an inviting scene.
Here are a few ideas to create photo shoot vignettes:
- Focal points: Place a large plant in a corner with a spotlight behind it, then arrange a conversation spot in front of or around it.
- Small accents: Judiciously place little plants, wrought iron or glass lamps, and brass or silver mirrors and trays with candles.
- Plants and flowers: Potted plants, flower arrangements, and cuttings tied with ribbon or raffia begin the garden into the house.
- A little color: Place small pillows and candles in purple, teal, olive, and/or light yellows. Add a vase of red flowers or a colorful picture above the mantle.
Many of the same ideas you used inside can be used outside too. After everything is cleaned and trimmed, declutter and depersonalize. Give extra attention to the driveway and walkway: trim the edges and consider adding path lights, decorative rocks, or small bushes.
The front porch and door should look clean and inviting. Set a pot of colorful flowers at the top of the steps or next to the door. If there’s room on the porch, set up a little bistro table with two chairs and small pot of succulents or violets.
In the backyard or back deck, create small conversation areas with patio furniture and a few pots of flowers. People love entertaining outside, so if the property has a spacious deck or yard, think of ways to illustrate all the great ways buyers could use the space.
Home staging can really bring out your creative side. As the listing agent, you know a lot about this house and the buyers in the local market. Use your knowledge about the local tastes and standards to inform your staging choices. While it’s fun to experiment, remember what the goal is: showing the house at its best and inspiring buyers to fall in love with it and make a great offer.
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