The Art of Home Selling: Stage It!

a green landscaped yard in a suburb

You know, some wise person once said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, you may not get the chance to do it over.” This is very much the case when it comes to getting your home ready to sell. You only get one first impression, so it is a good idea to take the time to prepare your home carefully in order to drive as much interest to your door as possible.

bright sunny dining room looking onto garden

Staging is the Name of the Game

What’s the real secret to selling a home quickly and at a high price point? The majority of Realtors will tell you that staging absolutely enhances your chances of selling your home quicker and for more money. The goal of staging is to make your home appeal to as large a number of potential buyers as possible in order to increase traffic. You can stage your home yourself, but you have to be able to take your emotions out of the equation. For example, you have to be alright with putting away personal photos, awards, and things that may have sentimental value to you because they would be very distracting if on display.

If you think it would be too hard for you to remove personal items from your home, hiring a professional stager to help with this task might be something you want to consider. They are specifically trained to know what look will help attract buyers to your home. Here are some of their top suggestions for staging your home so it will be a top performer on the market.

the exterior of a large brick suburban home in raleigh north carolina

1. Passing the First Test – The Drive-By

Every stager will tell you that it is very common for buyers to do “drive-by” visits even before they solicit the help of a realtor. That means the curb appeal of your house may determine whether it even stays on the book a showing list of potential buyers. To grab their attention and elicit those “love at first sight” emotions, try the following:

  • Potted plants and flowers
  • Rocking chairs or small table and chairs on the front porch
  • Well-manicured lawns and gardens
  • Remove window screens
  • Clean roof stains off shingles
  • Power wash house, driveway, and walkways
  • Clean those windows
  • Make sure your house number is visible
  • Re-stain or paint porch
  • Paint the house
  • Haul away any junk that has piled up around the house

a modern nicely staged kitchen2. Clean-Purge-Organize-Repair!

Great! The drive-by was a success and now they’ve booked a showing. If they loved the exterior, make sure they love the interior even more. Take care of the 4 Ds: Deep Clean, Declutter, De-odorize, Damage Repair.

  • Clean as if you are having company for the weekend. That means everything, including closets, cupboards, the space under the sink, storage spaces, and yes, that garage.
  • Organizing and purging are tactical tools to making your home look neat and orderly.
  • Do you have animals? Unappealing odors can kill a deal. Have a friend come over and do an odor inspection before showings get scheduled to make sure your home is odor-free.
  • If it is broken, fix it! Do your own walk-through making a list of items that need attention and get them taken care of.

clean neutral living room with beige walls and off white couch3. The Appeal of Neutral

Did you know neutral colors make rooms in a home look larger? While you may love that dark purple and gold, the vast majority of buyers may not share your taste in colors. Remember, you want your home to appeal to as many people as possible. Severe colors narrow the pool of potential buyers.

Did you also know that 95% of buyers decide if they want to view a home based on the online photos? If your home has old wallpaper or needs to be painted, be sure to do this BEFORE photos are taken.

Bright living room with fireplace and natural sunlight

4. Clean up the Clutter

A cluttered home is a strong deterrent for buyers. It takes away from the real visual value of your home. You may love all the family pictures you have collected over the years, but buyers need to see your home as possibly their home. So, go ahead and pack away those personal photos, that teapot collection, and all those soccer awards you child won this year. Buyers need to be able to imagine the home as their very own.

This does not mean your home should be stark and unwelcoming. Go ahead and set that table, put a basket of lemons in the kitchen, or add fluffy, new white towels and white shower curtains to create a spa feel in bathrooms. Put away bath rugs so the flooring is completely uncovered. These simple staging tips make a home inviting and comfortable.

Here’s where a professional stager will really earn their money. Not only can they help you decide what to use to decorate the walls and shelves, they can also select the best furnishings to show off your home. They may suggest just repositioning furniture, moving pieces to another room, or removing older furnishings to give your house a more up-to-date look. A good stager will also be able to suggest pieces of art or furnishings to add to your collection as a way to inject color to make a room more contemporary. It’s their job to create an atmosphere that appeals to the larger market.

Clean staged bedroom with blue walls and hardwood floors

5. Floor to Ceiling

Stand in each room, start at the floor and go all the way to the ceiling. Consider what would make that room more appealing? Nothing says, “clean and fresh” like a new coat of paint, eliminating cobwebs, and repairing separating caulk. Are those floors looking a bit worn? Try an inexpensive area rug which can also add a bit of color. Light fixtures can date a home quickly; update them. New hardware in the kitchen can also liven up sad, tired cabinets.

Staged organized reading nook with built in shelves

6. Give Every Room Purpose

Do you have one of those rooms where things collect that have no purpose? Extra furniture, extra artwork, extra clothes, etc. Well, consider purging or storing the extras and give that room a purpose! Stage it to be an office, a guest room, a library, or a playroom. Create a vision that will appeal to buyers. Remember, they may be looking at several properties and if yours is the most “put together,” chances are it will also be the most memorable.
Another valuable asset of having a professional stager is that they use artwork and unique pieces of furniture to draw the eye of potential buyers to entice them to continue exploring the entire home. It may not seem too important, but what if your home is the last showing in a very long day of looking at houses. The buyers are tired and have had enough. Strategic placement of unique furnishings will keep them interested and make them want to see more instead of giving up and ending the tour.

Screened in porch over looking backyard with fireplace with foliage

7. Remember to stage the outdoors

In the Raleigh area, we experience some wonderful weather and outdoor staging will show potential buyers just how livable the outdoors can be. It’s like having an extra room; an extension of the home that adds to the overall square footage. During spring, take advantage of all the blooms by keeping your garden areas well-manicured. In summer, set an outdoor table to look like company is coming over for dinner al fresco. In fall and winter, go ahead and light that gas fire pit. How cozy would that be? Drape a couple of soft throws over the chairs. Your buyers will never want to leave!

Thinking of selling your home in the Triangle area, give us a call. One of our savvy REALTORS will help you with everything from comps to establishing a strong selling price. They can also help you find a trusted, professional stager who has an outstanding track record for setting the right mood to sell homes. In fact, we can offer you a complete list of homecare professionals should you need anything from painters to power washers to get your home in top selling condition!

Let us help you get your home ready to make the best first impression. Call us at 919-235-0007.

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