The past few months have focused on home organizing, so this month I’m going to switch gears and focus on home staging. Spring is typically “moving season” and therefore this information will be quite timely for those of you planning to prepare your home to hit the market this month. When preparing your home to sell, remember that your “home” becomes a “house” and is essentially a product to market.   Staging communicates to the buyer that your home is move in ready, well maintained, and timeless. A good example of this is seen in the living room picture below.  Many sellers do not want to invest time, energy, and money into their existing home as they have already “mentally moved” on to their next residence.   This investment, however, is a critical step in your moving journey because staging your home has been proven to help homes sell quicker and for more money.

DO ORGANIZE AND DECLUTTER YOUR HOME

Preparing to move is a full-time job! For some people, the process is tedious. For others, moving is an emotional process if the person has positive or negative memories associated with the home. Either way, a good place to start is to sort and purge items. Items that are being purged can then be removed by selling, donating or recycling. Items that cannot be sold or donated can also be removed by a junk hauler.

Finally, for the items that are staying, consider editing furniture, collections, and other household items down even further and pre-packing and storing on or off site. A good example of a decluttered room is the home office pictured above.  As a general rule, any item smaller than a bowling ball is considered “clutter” and should either be removed from the property by purging or packing.

DON’T DISPLAY PERSONAL COLLECTIONS OR PICTURES

Your teacup collection, vacation pictures, and ceramic clowns may be lovely and priceless, but likely they won’t be viewed that way by a potential buyer. As a seller, you want a buyer to walk into your home and focus on the features of the home, not your collections and pictures. Collections of small items should be removed and packed. Collections of larger items should be edited down to no more than three items. As a general rule, remove any items that can be polarizing such as sports memorabilia, political, and religious items. Any pictures with eyes (family portraits, vacation pictures, school pictures, etc.) should be taken down from furniture, walls, and the refrigerator. Replace these pictures with neutral artwork.

DO MAKE UPDATES TO THE HOME

In general, buyers want to move into a home that is turn-key. This means a home that appears fresh and updated. Paint can do wonders for a home. Choosing neutral colors in tones of white, cream, and grey feel inviting and welcoming to buyers. You many also want to consider changing hardware, lighting and/or flooring. At a minimum, everything in the home should be in working order and the home should be professionally cleaned.

DO STAND IN THE DOORWAY OF EACH ROOM

When you have lived in your home for a long time, you see the home through different eyes than a buyer.   A good rule of thumb for staging, is to stand at the doorway of each room and determine the purpose of the room and a good focal point. Do you have a beautiful fireplace? Gorgeous windows that frame a stunning backyard? Built in bookcases? First, you may need to change rooms back to their original function. For example, a living room that is being used as a kid’s play room should go back to being a living room. Then, after you determine the focal point of that room, use your furniture and accessories to move the eye and pull it in the direction of that focal point. Since you have already decluttered, it should be easy to see the focal point and plan accordingly. Work from the floor up meaning start with furniture, add accessories, and finally dress the walls with artwork.

DON’T FORGET TO ADD COLOR, BALANCE, AND TEXTURE

Keeping your walls and main pieces of furniture neutral provides a calm backdrop for the buyer to appreciate the home and its features. While you don’t want to over accessorize, it is important to add pops of color. Try incorporating colors that are trendy. Right now, trendy colors are jewel tones such as sapphire blue, emerald green, and dark purple, but trendy colors change each year. If you are unsure of what colors to choose, purchasing a decorating magazine or scrolling through Pinterest or Houzz will be a good place to start. Pops of color can be added by using placemats/napkins in the kitchen and pillows and blankets in the living room and bedroom. Additionally, while you want to use white towels in a bathroom, adding in a smaller hand towel for a pop of color can add interest and dimension to a bathroom.   Finally, a seller should have a nice balance of light and dark and hard and soft textures. For example, in a living room, a seller could utilize fluffy, light colored pillows, hard, darker pieces such as wood, and vases with pops of color or texture.

DON’T FORGET CURB APPEAL

This time of year, we all have cabin fever and want to get outside! Remember, your buyers will want to appreciate the outside of your home just as much as the inside. A clean swept porch, a well-maintained lawn and landscaping, and potted flowers will go a long way in heightening your curb appeal. Walk around your entire property and don’t neglect the side of your home or your backyard.

ONE FINAL DO: REMEMBER TO BRING IN THE OUTSIDE

Greenery is your friend! Every home should have “nature” items in the home as they breathe life into a space and into a home. You can do this through the use of plants, flowers, sticks, rocks, metal, and seashells.

The staging rules above demonstrate that staging is not decorating! Staging is depersonalizing a space and preparing a home for sale. Now, that you have learned the dos and don’ts, it’s time to get started so you can get your home on the market! Once you’ve followed these steps, you’ll be ready to throw open the curtains, turn on the lights, play some soft music, and show off your home to all potential buyers. Hopefully, soon you will get and accept an offer and be on the way to your new home. Best wishes on your next adventure!

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