By Andrew Kay
It wasn’t that long ago that, when a house went on the market, a “For Sale” sign was hammered into a front lawn and that was basically that.
But if HGTV has taught home sellers anything, it’s that a home for sale should be staged, and there are companies out there who will come in and do all the work so that a home for sale puts its absolute best foot forward. Home staging became an industry within an industry.
What’s transpired is a new world, in which even expert listing agents employ the skills of professional home stagers, who come in and make your home as appealing to would-be home buyers as it possibly can be. Make no mistake, the majority know what they’re doing. They’re mostly designers and interior decorators by trade.
But some of what home stagers do are things a home seller might be able to manage on their own. Here are five secrets of home-staging experts that home sellers can try themselves:
1. Brighten it up – You’ve probably heard that if you’re selling a home you should go with neutral paint colors on the wall. Doing so means you avoid putting into a potential buyer’s mind the thought: “Well, I’ll have to paint that.” But replacing darker colors with lighter ones also brightens up a home. To that end, making sure as much sunlight from windows and doorways can get it is also a plus. Lighter wall colors can also create the illusion of more space.
2. Make more space – With the aforementioned in mind, try to free up as much functional space as possible. It’s what buyers want. This might go beyond the typical advice of “de-cluttering,” and it might involve moving furniture or other large items that can make a home seem smaller.
3. Clean, then clean some more – Of course every home seller knows a home that’s being visited by potential buyers should be clean. But home stagers know that it needs to be really clean. This means that all those little things you do maybe every other regular cleaning day -baseboards, chandeliers, hand-scrubbing the floors – must be done when a home is for sale.
4. Set the mood – If you have a formal dining room, set it up as though you’re going to have a fancy dinner party. If you have a home theater, show it off. If your deck or patio is perfect for large gatherings, make it look as though you’re ready to have one. Home buyers want to know that the lifestyle they aspire to is attainable if they buy your home.
5. Frame it – Homes have certain features that set them apart from others. For example, if you have a great fireplace/hearth in your family room, decorate around it so that buyers’ eyes are drawn to it. If you have soaring vaulted ceilings, highlight them with tall pieces of furniture or décor that won’t work in just any home. Just as a great painting might be enhanced with a gorgeous frame, the highlights of a home can be “framed” by attention-grabbing décor around it.
You’d probably be amazed at what professional home stagers can do to glam up an even seemingly mundane home. And maybe your listing agent recruits the talents of home stagers to dress up your home for the big dance (showings). But keeping in mind the secrets that home stagers employ, and doing them yourself, might put you ahead of the game and save you some money.