“Staging” sounds like something they do in a theater presenting a play on opening night. But it’s also a common practice in the real estate industry and it does take some cues from the theater world. Staging involves setting the scene and carefully selecting elements to tell a story. Staging a house for sale is more than just moving stuff to storage and getting ready to list. It is paring down furniture and décor and rearranging elements to show the house in its best light.
It Really Does Help
Staging also helps garner more visitors and offers and quicker sales.
It Doesn’t Have to be Expensive
Some have put the average staging cost at around $700. That’s a small investment for a boost in sale price and a quicker sale. Most houses won’t require major renovations and expensive purchases. Sellers already have lots of furniture to work with. It’s just about editing, minimizing, and eliminating personal elements.
You don’t Need an Expert
Many experienced realtors can offer helpful staging advice. It is not uncommon for agents to suggest smart, value- boosting changes and upgrades to prepare property for listing photos and open houses. A real estate agent has represented many buyers and sellers, showing properties, preparing houses for sale, hosting open houses, and talking to buyers about what they want.
Also, there are tons of articles and resources online to help sellers get their houses ready to sell.
It’s Not that Complicated
The basic staging steps are declutter, depersonalize, clean, repair, upgrade, and rearrange. Agents are a valuable resource for homeowners; they can look at a house objectively and see what buyers would see. This is related to the first step: the sellers setting aside their own perception of their home.
How to Stage
The staging process should start the day after sellers decide to sell. Ideally, you’d want to have it done and the house looking pretty for the listing photos and videos.
The sellers should move as much of the non-essential furniture, appliances, dishes and pots, and clothes into storage. Some experts recommend packing up as much as 90% of the house.
Clear off the countertops, reduce items in cupboards, and hide everyday personal items. Keep closets half empty and reorganize cabinet contents in neat rows and stacks.
Prospective buyers should see the house as their future home, not a stranger’s. Unique personal style is replaced with simple, general design. Personal items such as family photos, toys, and gadgets will also need to go.
Hire a professional cleaning crew for a deep clean, top to bottom, inside and outside. Before a showing, be sure to eliminate odors. Hide or remove litter boxes, shampoo carpets, and spray air freshener in pet areas.
Time to take care of all the repairs that have been put off. Go through every inch of the house to ensure everything works. Make a list of things that need fixing. Anything too old or damaged needs to be fixed or replaced.
Now for a quick makeover. Replace outdated carpet, paint, cabinets, handles, and fixtures. The two best places to focus on are the kitchen and the bathrooms.
Setting the Scenes
Minimal is the name of the game. Make small changes so each room has a distinct purpose. Rearrange furniture to create a natural traffic flow and ensure important features are not blocked. Create “lifestyle vignettes,” which are a few pieces of thoughtfully selected furniture, a health plant, vase or ornament, and an understated print on the wall.
Curb appeal: it’s the first thing buyers see so it better make a great first impression. Look at the front of the property and note what stands out, what fades, and what can be done to make the house look larger and more inviting. Like the interior, the exterior and landscaping needs cleaning and editing. Pressure wash the surfaces, trim the trees and bushes, and remove leaves and debris.
Pay extra attention to the main walkway and the front porch. 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.
Staging a house brings out your creative side. Listing agents use their knowledge of the house, buyers, and market to suggest effective staging options. Remember the goal: showing the house at its best and inspiring buyers to fall in love and make a great offer.
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