Staging – the Art of presenting your home for Sale

Sometimes it’s not easy to find a house that prospective buyers really like; with a multitude of objects on the market people have become picky and expect additional features and the extra mile as standard. However, the first impression is the most important one; if a house looks unkempt from the outside chances are that the prospective buyer will turn around and continues looking for something more appealing.

This is called curb appeal and was covered in one of our previous blog postings. Just as a reminder: a seller should make sure the house appears well taken care of from the outside. How about paint? Does the driveway have oil stains? How is the lawn kept? Are the flowerbeds overgrown? Just look at your home with the eyes of a prospective buyer and think: what do I really see?

Is has not yet made its way to Florida yet, but there are already professional stagers in California and Colorado; a stagers job is to make your home presentable to buyers. For US$50.00 to 150.00 an hour a professional stager, most likely somebody with experience in interior architecture, will stage your house for the perfect presentation. However, if you want to safe the money here are some tips on what you can do staging your home?

First of all: pack up about 90% of your things; if the house is clustered with personal belongings and pictures of the family a prospective buyer won’t be able to picture the house as theirs. You want to present the home as if it were a model, depersonalized. The buyer might feel uncomfortable to see the previous owner’s book or CD collection; everything pointing towards the personality of the current owner should go into boxes or drawer out of the sight of a potential buyer. Religious item should be removed, too.

A simple but effective strategy is to simple pack away all things that indicate daily activities. Things like calendars or notebooks on the kitchen counter, toothpaste on the bathroom counter. Remember, the house should appear as if it were a model, get all personal items out of plain sight.

There is some planning involved: how about renting a storage unit for all the things that cluster up the house? How about new interior paint? If walls appear dull and are stained new neutral paint can work wonders and make a buyers decision easier. Does the house need serious clean up action? If yes, how about a professional cleaning service? Don’t forget the windows, a female buyer will have her eye on the windows and if those aren’t impeccable she might disregard the entire house as probably not clean enough.

Many potential buyers turn around right away if an unpleasant smell or odor hits their nose. You should therefore refrain from cooking cabbage dishes before a showing. It should be self-explanatory to either put kitty’s litter box in the garage for the time being or at least clean it and make sure there is no odor. A nice trick to make the house smell good is to bake cookies, cook cinnamon sticks in water, or just put candles or diffusers up.

In summary: a few simple things can accelerate the sale of your home and you, the seller, can make a lot of difference. A house that can show its true face by being free of clutter and personal belongings, that smells nice, and is clean from the inside and out enables the potential buyer to envision it as “his” house. A potential buyer, who has taken possession of the house in his mind, will soon be the proud owner.

This post is also available in: German

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