Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Should I Stage My Home? What If I Don’t Know How?

            Staging your home is an integral part of getting it sold. It’s no secret; homes that show well, sell faster. When a buyer walks into your home they’re not thinking about all of the time and effort you have put into your home to decorate it how you wanted it, paint the walls the color you wanted, or how stressful your life must be because you have toys and clutter everywhere. When a buyer walks into your home they’re thinking about how they are going to change your home, how they wish it was cleaner than what it is, what paint colors they would rather see on the wall, how they wish the carpet was cleaner and how they will have to replace it. Quite frankly, why shouldn’t they? You know that you did the exact same thing when you bought your home, and you will do the exact same thing when you purchase your next home.
            There are several key elements that go in to staging a home properly. The first thing a homeowner should do before putting their home on the market is to de-clutter. If you’re not using it, or you haven’t used it in the last two years, stick it in a box and put it away. You obviously aren’t going to need it any time soon. But how much do I de-clutter? Some may ask… As much as possible! Think about when going into a model home. There aren’t any toys on display, there isn’t a shelf in the kids rooms jammed packed with stuffed animals, and there aren’t a million pairs of shoes located by the front door. De-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter! It’s a tough job but if you want to get your home ready to sell, it has to be done!

            Once a home is properly de-cluttered, and I emphasize properly, the next thing to focus on is deep cleaning. When I talk about deep cleaning, I’m talking about cleaning every square inch of your home. You will need to clean the floors, clean the walls, clean the baseboards, clean the windows (inside & out), vacuum, mop, and clean out all of the appliances in your kitchen. If you have a patio, spray it down with a pressure washer. Clean off your patio furniture too. If you have a pet, cleaning your home is that much harder. We have a little dog in our house and it’s a chore to keep up with the little hairs that shed off of her. We are constantly vacuuming and moping the floors, vacuuming the couches, etc. If you have a larger dog, this is even more difficult, but it has to be done. Nothing will turn off a buyer faster than to walk into a dirty house. Buyers can be very picky people.  Why shouldn’t they be? Purchasing a home is a big deal so they want the best that their money can buy. If it comes down between your home and another home down the street, a buyer is going to pick the home that has less work.

            The next step really coincides with the first step, which is to de-personalize your home. While having a beautiful picture of you and your family over the fireplace has a lot of sentimental value, to a buyer it’s just distracting. Here’s why: when a buyer walks into a space, they are trying to imagine themselves in the space. They might think, ‘how would my couch look over there?’ or ‘I bet my TV would look good on that wall’.  The point of getting your home properly staged is to allow buyers to come into your home and envision themselves in the space, which makes them want to buy it! So, while it is difficult, your home needs to be de-personalized. Which means that you need to take down all of your family portraits, family pictures, pictures of your kids, etc. The fact is, when you decide to sell your home and put it on the market, it really isn’t your home any more. It’s a product to be sold.

            Staging your home can be a very difficult task. That’s why it’s very important to have the expertise of a Realtor to help you. An agent can walk you through your home and give you unbiased advice on how to best prepare your home to sell. Leaning on the advice of a trained professional, like a Realtor, can help you exponentially in the sale of your home.

That’s all for today. Until next time, I’ll keep “Turning Your Dreams Into An Address”.