I usually recommend staging to my sellers. Most of us do not live in our homes the way we present them on the market. To be honest, we are creating an illusion of peace and calm – the way we all wish we lived! My husband and I sold a home on Bainbridge when our two sons were still young and active – that translates to messy! Sports gear and legos everywhere. We made a pact with our sons that they could keep selected toys in organized bins in their rooms, and the rest would be packed up for the new house to open; like presents! We made their beds, and they slept in sleeping bags on the floor of their room so we could just roll up the sleeping bags and easily store in their (freshly organized) closets. They loved it – like camping!
A home is a big investment and buyers are often paying over $400 a foot for a home on Bainbridge Island. Let them see the space. Let them visualize their own furniture in a room. Depersonalize enough to let them in, but don’t make it sterile. Staging is critical. I can help you find the balance.
Lose the clutter
Visualize walking into your home from your front door with a fresh eye. Are there shoe bins, backpacks, large furniture pieces? Do they need to be there? How does it feel to walk from room to room; does it flow easily? What if someone has a walker or a cane? Remove the large furniture that blocks the flow from room to room. It is ok to have the garage a bit overstuffed if the house is clear and inviting.
Return rooms to their original function
You use your dining room as a billiard room or a TV room. However, buyers generally seek an actual dining room. Dig out that dining set that has been languishing in the garage for the last five years. A fresh coat of paint or seasonal color pillows will make it look great! Give each room a purpose. Buyers can see themselves in your home if they understand the use of each space. While they may use it differently after they move in, draw them in with an inviting space.
Maximize room size
You love your living/family room because it works for you. But perhaps removing one of the two sofas and one of the three recliners will let the room look as large as it actually is. Reduce the number of TV’s you have in your home, especially if they are very large. Think of removing unnecessary drapes or window covering. Staging and lighting reveal the room’s best qualities.
Clean the house
Professional cleaners are worth the money. They see things you don’t. (Buyers will!) Maybe your master bath is slightly dated and not “on trend.” Buyers will know they can live with your sparkly clean bathroom until they are ready to renovate. Invest in new bedding, towels and pillows to complete the fresh look. Stage your master bedroom and bath to feel a bit spa like, as if you were treated to a stay in a nice hotel.
Organize the cupboards, drawers and closets.
If buyers are serious about your home, they will look everywhere. If clothes and shoes are disorganized, your massive master closet will appear to be too small. Pack up your out of season clothes that you will not need while your home is on the market and put the boxes in the garage. Find a way to take everything off the floor of your closet. Inexpensive shoe racks work wonders. If plastic containers and lids are falling out of the kitchen cabinets when the doors are opened, it screams “Not enough storage!”
Weighing The Cost vs. The Benefit of Staging
Staging requires an investment – usually of time more than money. It is worth it because it almost always leads to a quick sale at your target price. I work with clients every day to look at rearranging the furniture they have, adding a few pops of seasonal color and depersonalizing a bit. I also work with professional stagers who do wonders with a vacant home. All buyers begin their home search on line – usually in their PJ’s. A bare room will not photograph well and will not give a sense of space. Will their queen bed fit in this home? Who can tell from a photo of an empty room? I love this part of Real Estate. Let me help you with it!