Staging a House for Sale
Staging a house for sale, some do debate if it is required or is it right to do so. Let us get this out of the way. Why should it be wrong, staging is not faking. All one is doing is sprucing the place up and making it looks its best. Nothing wrong there. It ought to be done. Would you not be attracted by a clean bright house? It is only natural that all of us want a nice pleasant place to live in. Here are some broad pointers and tips to stage a property or house be it for sale or rent, the guiding principle being that the person visiting the house must feel nice and attracted to it. This would be the time to put away your own likes and dislikes.
Move away from strong themes, keep everything as neutral as possible allowing the potential buyer to be able to imagine for himself or herself what they would want in the house. An empty house never works, most of us need pointers to think or a base image. When we stage a house we try to provide this base image, a clean, bright neutral image the viewer can build on. Irrespective of whether we are staging the property for a photo shoot or real visits the rules by far stay same. Yes, in imaging one can edit and enhance and one is sure to need it. That said most times the staged house is used for a photo shoots and future visits, might as well get it right the first time and leave the image editing and enhance folks little to do and more so leave the subtleties of tone, light, and such to them along with creating an impressive folio that tells the story of the property.
Start with the first view the potential buyer has, the Curb. Ensure that the siding and the walkways are washed and cleaned, if need be power wash them. Mow the lawn, add fresh greener and blooming flowers. Nothing like driving into a clean lovely curb leading to an equally inviting porch how ever small or big it is. Add a few potted plants with blooming flowers on the porch, repaint the floors. Add a few porch furniture if your porch has enough space, do not crowd the space if one has to always better to err on the side of being less furnished than overcrowding. Clean fresh doormats, light up your porch during the evening if possible light up the driveway, if solar powered lights that much better. Have your house number on clear marking, easily readable fonts and sizes, simple and legible. Not only do people driving find this pleasant, even when driving by before the visit, your property will have made a positive impression.
As we go indoors the basic guiding principles remain the same. Keep it clean, clutter free, neutral and not loud. The visit is likely to start with the living room. Try and keep the centre as less crowded as possible, have fresh relatively new furniture, arranged well in symmetry pleasing to the eye. Never crowd the centre, move this to the sides. Paint the walls in neutral light colours. Easier for people to imagine colours that they desire on the wall. Strong distinct colours or bright colours tend to make it more difficult to do so. Also lighter colours gives a sense of being roomier and brighter.
The next most important space is the kitchen – Scrub the kitchen clean, take care of the corners, have your kitchen gleaming. Keep it clutter free, a cluttered messy kitchen pleases no one. Keep the colours neutral and light. Might be a good idea to bake a batch of cookies or cakes, gives the subtle pleasing aroma and the warmth that one associates with the hearth.
Next most important place would be the bathrooms, pretty much like the kitchens, scrub them clean and keep them gleaming and shiny. No bigger turn off then a stained dirty bathroom. Do not forget the corners and edges, get down low and clean them all up. Add fresh bars of soap, nice warm fluffy towels color coordinated with the walls and counters. Here again, light neutral colors is the mantra. Neutral colored bathrobes, if you have your favourite flowery or well worn robe best not to put it out for display, hide them away for now.
Bedrooms, the kid`s room all of them keep them neutral colored. Do not have gendered based colors. If you have daughter whose room is pink, good idea to change it. Same goes for the master bedroom. Keep it clutter free, neutral colors, keep the closets open and with 30% empty room. Gives a sense of the closests being spacey, a crowded cramped closet on display does you no good.
Use odd spaces well, spaces under the staircase, on landing. Using them for bookshelves, showcasing artefacts or work table. Use the spaces to show that no space is wasted and all of it is utilised. Draw people on the tour of the house by having artefacts or smart use of space. The more they see your house more likely they are to close the sale.
Keep the house clean and stain free, no one is interested or attracted to stains and dirt. If you have a pet, get the pet odour out. Steam wash the rugs and upholstery to get the odour out. Have pleasant smells, maybe aromatic candles and oils help the place feel nice. Here again nothing very strong but neutral and mild. If there are no unwelcome odours one could just let it be.
Stage the outdoors, let it be neat and clean and clutter free again, depending on the kind of neighbourhood and house, highlight with a hammock in the backyard or deck chairs. Depending on the weather highlight the pool or the fire place.
These are broad guidelines and pointers to stage your house that will go a long way in helping you sell the property fast and quick and probably fetch you a better price.