All the World’s a Stage: Preparing Your Home for Sale

If you’ve decided to sell your home, you have probably thought about “staging” in some shape or form. Since potential buyers will be seeing your home, you might prepare as you would for any other visitor: tidy up, put personal papers away, maybe steam clean the carpets. That is an excellent start. But staging a home is about more than just making sure it’s clean. It’s about showing your home off to its best advantage and making it possible for potential buyers to emotionally connect with this home.

Some sellers are reluctant to change much into order to stage their home for sale. They have worked hard to decorate their home just the way they like it and are proud to show it off. But just looking great is not the main purpose of staging. You want to reduce the overall amount of “stuff” in the home—no matter how great it looks. You want to create the impression of space and possibility rather than a finished product. Here are some of the tips from The Star Team philosophy that we have had success with:

REMOVE PERSONAL ITEMS

You want the potential buyers to emotionally connect with your home so they can envision themselves living there. Pictures of you and your family, sports trophies, your Danish plate collection—that all says YOU. That’s great when you are creating your comfortable home but it gets in the way of the buyer making that all important connection with the home. It’s hard to do sometimes, but if you really want to sell, it’s time to remove those personal touches and allow someone else to make the home theirs.

NEUTRALITY SELLS

You may have selected that perfect shade of green for your bedroom. It makes you feel relaxed and safe. But the idea is for the bedroom to be attractive to as many people as possible in order to maximize the total number of potential buyers. Specialized decors can limit the appeal of a home to a wider range of buyers. The Star Team always recommends going with neutral tones: mocha, tan, beige, and gray give a clean, sophisticated look. More importantly, they offer an almost blank canvas that buyers can project their vision on.

REDUCE FURNITURE

Too much furniture can make a home look smaller and cramped. Even the “right” amount of furniture for living can be a bit too much. We recommend you think about the number of pieces you would normally have in a particular room and then reduce it by one or two. This gives a much more open and spacious feeling while not looking empty. You want enough furniture to show the room’s possibilities off but still having room for more.

WE LOVE ANIMALS, TOO

But you need to be realistic about Fido or Mittens. Our four-legged family members are very important and we love them but sometimes they generate odors that we have long ago become smell-blind to. Ask your realtor to give you an honest opinion about the smell of the home when they come in. Get any carpets steam cleaned and find a way to neutralize odors. What should your house smell like? How about baking cookies? We recommend against that. The Star Team recommends a simple citrus smell based on numerous scientific studies on smell and behavior. Pine, basil or vanilla can work great, too.

NOW THE FUN PART

Maybe you didn’t enjoy taking down some of your personalized décor items and removing furniture. But there is some room for creativity. An empty dining room table isn’t very appealing. Neither is an empty counter. It can come off as cold and uninviting. So this is your chance to add back some decorative items. The Star Team design philosophy is “clean, fresh, and inviting.” With that in mind, consider a bowl of fresh cut flowers, produce, or citrus fruit. We generally recommend clear glass bowls and vases to keep that fresh and clean look. Once you’ve staged the kitchen and living areas, turn your attention outdoors. Even a small porch or patio can really be enhanced by a café table with a tablecloth and a couple of chairs.

CURB APPEAL

When potential buyers drive up to the front of your house, that’s your chance to really get their attention. A well-kept and landscaped yard can really boost the perception of the property just as they are beginning their evaluation. Too many times, we have seen clients start a home visit with a negative attitude because the seller did not do enough to enhance the outside. Trim those shrubs, make sure the grass is cut and then maybe add some color with blooming flowers. Pressure washing the sidewalk can also really boost the curb appeal of the home.

When you are selling your home, you are in competition with many other homes on the market. The price you sell at and the time it takes to sell is often determined by how you compare to the rest of the homes in that price range. The Star Team can help you make your home stand out in the best possible way and get the home sold so you can move on to your new adventure!