Staging: What is it? Is it worth it?

Staging is the term used by real estate and design professionals to prepare a home for sale, showcasing it in the best possible light, to appeal to the most potential buyers. Ultimately, staging will best position your home to sell within a reasonable time frame at the maximum price in today’s market.

Staging a home that is currently lived in poses unique challenges versus staging an empty one. If you are currently living in your home and preparing to list it soon, consider these ideas that are easy and low-cost to implement in order to attract potential buyers the minute they walk through your door:

1) De-clutter and De-personalize:  Clean and clear surfaces, counter tops and floors. Organize closets, streamline hanging items, rearrange and, if necessary, store some furnishings to avoid the appearance of being overcrowded. Store personal photos, mementos and religious items, as you want potential buyers to envision themselves living in your condo. Aim to have some empty space in closets to give a spacious impression.

Courtesy of California Closets

Remove artwork that may distract buyers due to its size, style, etc. In a nutshell, simplify. This part of the process isn’t always easy and you may need to use off-site storage, but it’s well worth the trouble.  Clean and clear surfaces, floors, cupboards and closets will look like more space in the eyes of potential buyers.

2) Repair, Repaint, and Upgrade: Minor maintenance adjustments can make a major difference in the overall appearance and appeal of your home. Remove or conceal dangling wires; secure switch plates; repair cracked or damaged walls; touch up or possibly repaint built-in cabinetry; repaint woodwork; update hinges, door knobs and handles; re-glaze a cracked tub or tile that is an out of date color; upgrade a counter top; repaint rooms in rich neutral colors; steam clean carpets and refinish or even install wood floors.

3) Enhance Lighting: Whether you have a South facing home with tremendous natural light or one that is on the non-sunny side of the street, shaded by trees or on the garden level, a bright home will show better and have broader appeal.  Consider both day and night lighting, and the times when prospective buyers will view your home. To enhance the lighting, minimize or remove window treatments or consider window treatments that allow more natural light to come through, such as sheers, woven woods, shutters, etc. Perhaps bring in an electrician to add some more overhead lighting―recessed, a chandelier, or track―or install wall sconces.

4) Create an Inviting Environment: For open houses and showings, display fresh flowers in the entry and kitchen and perhaps add a single bedside rose. Add warmth and ambiance in winter through a wood-burning or gas fireplace, open windows on a nice day and turn on the air conditioning on hot summer days. You can spruce up outdoor spaces, like decks, patios, terraces and yards, with potted plants and furnishings… or even a set table for two. Open the doorway to the outdoor space to convey this as an extension of the indoor space.

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5) Add New Finishing Touches:  Consider removing tired accessories. Replace worn pillows or cushions with inexpensive new ones. Buy new bed linens, towels and bath mats for a fresher look. Trade out an old lamp with a more modern one. Showcase some of your finest accessories to demonstrate quality.

6 ) Showcase the Best Features: If you have a high-end cook’s kitchen, arrange it so it boasts its unique qualities such as a professional gas range or counter-top seating. If you have a dining space with exceptional views of the water, beautiful landscaping or the city skyline, set a table overlooking the landscape. If you have deep soaking spa tub, use lighting, candles and music for ambiance. Consider rearranging furniture to enhance the appearance of the space or perhaps to make the space seem warmer or more inviting. For example, move your furniture off the walls and use pairs—of sofas, chairs, lamps—to create an inviting conversation area.

If you are considering listing your home for sale, it’s not too early to start preparing. It would be my pleasure to guide you in the staging process so that you put your time and money to the best use.