Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Teresa Stephens Harvey shares advice on Home Staging

Staging a home in today's market can make the difference in the home that sits and sits on the market and one that attracts a buyer.

Using a professional can help you get things done quickly, effeciently and without the struggles of personal attachment.

However, you can do this if you choose to go it alone. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. It doesn't have to be expensive but may require some expense.
*Walk through your home and carefully evaluate every room. Look carefully at the walls, switch plate covers, moldings, carpet, light fixtures and take note of any damage or anything that is overly dated or stained. If an item is damaged you must repair it, if an item is stained or dirty look into cleaning even if it means hiring a professional. If an item is outdated look into ways to update either with a new item or modifications to what is there. Paint if walls are overly dirty or damaged, don't forget the trim work. Finish any started projects. Don't start any major projects or re-modeling projects. Keep it simple and timely.

2. Declutter
Pack up and store extra books, pictures, accessories, clothes, and toys. Preparing your home for sale is a little like getting ready for a special occassion and less is more in this case. Pack away out of season clothes, all the books you've all ready read accept for a dozen or so hard back books that can be used to stage shelves. Remove all buy one or two personal pictures per space or one or two photo collages from a wall. Pack away all extra movies & videos. Keep only a handful of favorite toys out and pack away all the extras that are cluttering up family rooms, kitchens & common areas. As you go through the items to pack you may find things you no longer use or need and this is a great time to make charitable contributions. Pay attention to all rooms of your home, don't forget to go through and pack away items in your kitchen and dining room. Packing extra dishes, large cookware & holiday dishes that aren't used daily will make the space easier for the new buyer to see and visualize their things in the space. Lastly, go through your garage & attic space. These areas used to be commonly used for storing packed boxes or over looked as messy areas that were accepted but today more and more buyers demand that they be able to move around and see every area that they are buying. Paying money for storage is a small price to consider for a timely sale! Keep in mind that the goal is to sell your home and be able to move to your new space.

3. Clean
VERY important is the cleaning of your home. Yes, you may be neat and tidy and clean your home regularly but this is a time for no holds barred cleaning. Baseboards, door frames, ceiling fans, corners of the room all need to be dusted and cleaned. Carpets should be professionally cleaned (talk to the company you use about a discount rate for a final cleaning on the day after you move out - most company's will do a final clean for a 40-50% discount.), vacum and clean all drapes and blinds, scrub your tile & bathrooms (take the time to re-caulk where needed), dust and polish all furniture not forgetting the legs and sides of pieces, wash all wood cabinets with Murphy's oil soap and then give them a good wipe down with lemon oil. Have a good friend or family member walk through and ask them to be brutally honest about the visual cleanliness and smell of your home. Keep a light fragrant plug in or candle handy to even out the smells in your home on a daily basis. Again don't forget the garage & attic spaces. You don't want dead bugs lying around, spider webs or oil marked walls even in these areas. A clean home is a welcoming home!

4. Room Arrangements
Arrange furniture in a way that creates balance & easy walk ways. I like to stage a room and then walk through and take one accessory & one piece of furniture away when I'm done and then walk through again. More times than not the final choice is the rooms look with the items taken away. Living a few months without a favorite chair or lamp is a small sacrafice. Keep tables stream lined and balanced with a simple lamp, a book or two or clear and cleaned. If you have a mantle a simple piece of art above with matching lamps or flower arrangements make for a classic and simple appeal for that space. Definitely remove any furniture that needs repair or a project that was started and never completed. If you have bodly patterned furniture consider slip covering it with a neutral covering. You want the buyers to look at your space not your furnishings. Look at your furniture as props that are there to create a well maintained and inviting environment. Art should be simple and classic and compliment a room. Take down any extra art or groupings again so the buyer doesn't focus on what is in the room but the room itself.

5. Pets
If you have large pets you need to consider kenneling or having a friend or family member pet sit for the time the house is on the market. Many people are afraid of and/or allergic to animals. Even small pets should have a kennel or area that is safe and out of the way to be when the house is being showed for their safety and well being as well as the potential buyers. Many people will pass on a house where there are loose animals running around or they will get distracted into playing or avoiding the pet and miss out on the features of your home. I don't take this advice lightly. I have 4 dogs & 2 cats in my own home so I know this is a large task but it is one tip that I take to heart because I don't want any potential buyer to avoid my house because there are pets in the house or yard. Also repair any areas that your pets have damaged. Holes in the yard, chewed mouldings, torn carpet, etc...it is not the time to try to camaflouge the damage. You want your house to be tidy and ready to go.

6. Curb Appeal
Don't neglect your outdoor spaces. Clean the flower beds, trim the bushes, mow and edge the grass. Clean walk ways and patios (rent a power washer if needed to rid the areas of mold and dirt build up), clean, paint or repair any outdoor furniture if needed, buy new cushions to freshen up your space. Buy seasonal flowers for a pop of color. You don't need to buy an accessive amount just enough to move the eye around the yard. Back yards are as important as front yards! If you have trees with dead limbs have them removed, if you have started a yard project take the time to finish it. You don't have to have an overly done area just a clean and tidy space where the next owner can again see themselves in the potential of the space.

Selling a home takes effort on your part as well as your realators. A little elbow grease is worth the effort. Have your home ready before the sign goes up in the yard, you only have one opportunity to make a great impression for most buyers. You can't count on everyone to be able to see pass the flaws to the potential.

Good luck with selling your home.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/randomlytj1/show/ *Examples of Staged rooms.

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