How to Stage a House for Sale
© By Puzio Team
Why stage a house?
A lot of real estate clients ask us this and the simplest answer is that a buyer wants to see themselves in the house they are buying so we have some tips to help our sellers succeed:
Why not all rooms need to be staged.
Of course, the main areas for staging are the rooms which people spend the most time in when they live in the home and the first room that the buyers will see when they enter the home. For instance, you might enter the home into a hallway. What mood is set if the first space enter is a dark, cluttered space with no where to take off your shoes and jacket? Where as, what mood is set if you enter a house into a bright, clean and open area? People remember the first and last thing they see in a home, so make sure the entrance and the exit is impressively clean (this includes the main closet) and if possible leave the light on especially if the viewings are at night. A de-cluttered, open, breathable, bright space needs to be achieved in this room and the other 3 important rooms where we spend the most time while we are at home, so the living room, the kitchen and the master bedroom. These four areas will influence the buyers decision the most. The buyer won't be spending as much time in the other rooms of the house, such as the kids bedrooms, guest bedrooms and bathrooms, so these rooms will not influence their buying decision as much.
Aim for Fresh, Open, Bright, Neutral Colours, and NO memorabilia
Since the main reason we stage a house is so the buyer can see themselves in the house we need to rid the house of ALL memorabilia. Clean away precious items that matter to you, such as pictures of loved ones, holiday cards, keep sakes from trips, little items on your fridge and all Religious items. These items show the buyer that this house already has someone who loves it, and if they were to move-in its like as though they taking over the space of another person. So it is best to create a blank space with neutral colours for them to fill-in themselves. Painting or renovating areas of the house before a sale aren't necessary, but if you are set on this the colours we always suggest are bright and neutral paint and leaving the walls blank without many dark accents. That goes for the rest of the house also. We suggest to only put in accents if they add freshness to the place, such as a beautiful potted plant, and opening up the blinds for the most natural light and to staying away from dark accents and dark colours all together, as bright and neutral colours allow the buyer to be optimistic about the space, but dark colours make the home look smaller.
Get rid of excess furniture and excess stuff
In this step you need to remember what you are trying to sell: the house= the living space, and NOT the furniture or the items in it. So at this stage we ask sellers to open up more floor space by only keeping the basics. Remove excess furniture, except for the basics you need for everyday living. For instance, 2 tables in a dining room make it look tight. Open the house up so there is as much walkable space as possible. The more floor you show the bigger the house appears and the more it allows the buyer to visualize their furniture in the space. This includes getting grid of excess stuff in closets. Remove the clothes you aren't going to be using through the selling process, and pack up your extra sheets, towels and other stuff like old seasonal decorations taking up your closet space. The buyer wants to see if they can fit their clothes in the closets, and if they open the closets and the doors are bulging, so they can't even close them back up, then this makes them worried about whether they can't fit their life into this home.
Clean to freshen up, touch-up and repair
When you sell a home, you should be cleaning on the same level as you cleaned your old apartment to get your deposit back. This goes for patching any holes, repairing anything which could hold back your sale, and yes that hole in the wall will grab more focus than necessary and might change the buyers mind. Let's be realistic, if you were selling a 'handy man special' then you wouldn't be reading about staging tips. That goes for the buyer also. If they were looking to buy a house to fix they wouldn't be looking at your ready-to-move-in house. Most buyers are looking for a place to come into and call home with as little work as possible. So every inch and corner of the property should be looked after, touched up and cleaned. This is time consuming but it will pay off. The cleaning includes not just the floors and the kitchen countertops, but take time to clean the inside of cupboards and closets, on the baseboards, dust window coverings, clean any excess items off your bathroom counters, and take out the garbage. Most importantly for a good first impression clean the outside front porch at the entrance with a power wash tool, fix the front steps and clear out the front and back yard as much as possible, getting rid of any garbage and dried out shrubs. A deep cleaning inside and outside the house will also eliminate any unwanted odours which could push buyers away.
The outcome of successful staging is that the house is shown in the best light possible where a buyer can visualize their life.
For more staging tips, and if you are looking for a Real Estate Agent to assist you in the sale of your property please contact us.
Regina Puzio and Aleksandra Puzio
Real Estate Agents
Homes & Gardens Real Estate Ltd.