Home staging 101
There are thousands of home-staging consultants in business for good reason: staged homes sell faster. Why? Successful home staging enables a buyer to see themselves in your home, and not how you’re currently occupying it. Professional staging consultants accomplish this by following some simple guidelines.
Divide and conquer
Take a good look around your home. Now imagine it with only half of the belongings. Some consultants even aim to remove at least two-thirds of items from a home to allow a room's features (including size, flooring and architectural details) to come forward so that buyers aren't focusing on your collection of ceramic chickens instead.
Conceal your identity
Put your home under a "witness protection program" and remove anything, or as much as possible, that identifies who owns the property. That way a prospective buyer doesn't have to mentally clear you out before they can image themselves in your home. At the top of the list are the family photoes on the mantelpiece and notes to each other stuck on the fridge. Prospective buyers don't need to know that Jimmy won the hockey tournament or that you are out of peanut butter.
Let there be natural light
Open your doors and windows, clean them and don't block them! Just because you haven't used that side door in years doesn't mean that you should ignore it - keeping it hidden will make buyers suspect that there's something wrong with it, or that's a negative feature instead of a positive. Keeping windows clean and the curtains tied back will let more natural light into your home, which is a big plus for prospective buyers. You don't want your home to look dark and depressing.
Dogs are a mans best friend
While few can resist the unconditional love a pet, or multiple pets in some people cases, many prospective buyers would prefer not to see pet hairs or smell evidence of Fido or Fifi. If possible, try take your dog/cat with you during a showing. Try to have your carpets steam-cleaned to eliminate any lingering ordors. You probably can't smell your dog or cat lingering in your home because you're used to it, but other people can. Remember also to tuck pet beds, litter boxes and food dishes out of the way. Another problem with pets, is that people tend to have multiple beds throughout the home for them. If you choose to not eliminate all evidence of Fido, at least do a bit. Narrow your pets beds down to one, instead of one in every room.
Peek behind closed doors
Take a good look at your closets and cupboards. What kind of impression would they give a prospective buyer? Are they bursting at the seams or do they provide ample room for all your stuff. Take a minute to organize your items, wipe down your shelves and air out your cupboards. Clearing the clutter will work in your favour; interested buyers will always take a peek, even if they don't admit to doing it. When they see a kitchen cupboard overflowing, they won't think "wow, these people buy too much food" or "they need to work on their organization skills". They will automatically assume that the cupboard is small, and therefore this kitchen doesn't have good storage, etc.
Follow your nose
People use all of their senses when they evaluate a property, so remember to keep their noses as happy as possible. Avoid preparing foods with a heavy aroma such as garlic, onions or other fragrant ingredients if you know of a showing or open house. Tuck fabric softener sheets in area where shoes and sporting equipment is stored. Need to dispel a smell fast? Open up all of the interior doors in your home and cook up a batch of cookies. In even more of a rush? Scented candles can do the trick, but you don't want it to seem like you are "masking" a bad smell, so not too many. Another trick, is placing a baking dish in the oven with some vanilla extract in it. This will make your home smell delicious, and is super easy.
One focal point
The best way to showcase a room is to choose a focal point for it. It could be a window, fireplace or just the overall large size of the room - the goal is for it to draw the eye in and then around the room. This is why the elimination of clutter and excess furniture is key; you don't want potential buyers distracted when they are inspecting the floors, molding and overall size and shape of the room. This is when they are picturing how their belongings will work in the space. If you have a Living Room with a feature fireplace, but have a bulky TV shoved in the corner with the furniture pointed at the TV, consider removing the TV and arranging the furniture to focus more on the fireplace. You want the room to appear cozy and welcoming, not cluttered and un-organized.
Minimize the negative
Stand at the entrance to a room. What is your eye drawn to first? If it's something you prefer buyers not to focus on, like a stucco ceiling, sponge-painting gone wild, or a bright yellow wall, your best defense is an eye-catching accessory near the front of the room. It's done on home-staging shows all the time - they use a bowl of green apples or a vase of fresh flowers to successfully take eyes away from an offending feature for that pivotal moment when a first impression is made. Obviously, a bowl of apples isn't going to take a buyers attention away from a bright yellow wall. Yellow may be your taste, but it's not for everyone. Consider painting your walls a more neutral color, that way potential buyers focus more on the home and it's features rather than "Oh it had an awful color scheme". We all know that paint is an easy fix, but some people just can't see past it! So making it easy for them by eliminating obvious flaws such as a red living room with a big-bird yellow feature wall, is just easier in the long run.
So there you have it! I hope that I have given you some helpful tips in home staging. By investing some time into this, you can ensure that your property is set to sell! Don't hesitate to contact me for more information
Sean Upshaw, Royal LePage Kelowna