Staging Tips To Help You Get Your Home Sold

14 Sep

What can you do to get your house sold faster and to get more money out of it when you need to sell in the current buyers’ market? How your home looks – presentation – is critical to getting top dollar for your home, along with price and marketing. When a house doesn’t present well to buyers, it’s unlikely to get the offers it should. Home owners who don’t take the time to get their homes in top shape for selling are missing out on a relatively low-cost, high-return investment that is likely to bring them much more money for their home and help them sell faster. According to HomeGain statistics (2009), a $500 investment in staging returns on average 4-5 times that amount in a higher selling price. Often, an investment of $600 to $800 for staging an occupied house returns several thousand dollars in a higher sales price; costs for staging vacant houses for the standard 3 month time frame are usually several thousand dollars due to furniture rental costs, but that investment in selling is still always less than a price reduction. Buyers will mentally mark down your asking price or move on to other properties if your home isn’t:

* Sparkling clean: What may pass for clean in our day to day lives doesn’t pass muster when it’s time to sell – think of how you would feel inspecting a stranger’s house with the idea of purchasing it if it the grout lines were dirty, if you spotted mold or mildew, if there were stains on the rugs, and if bathroom sinks, toilets, or kitchen countertops weren’t shined. Make sure windows are spotless to let in as much light as possible.

* Decluttered: Most houses considerably too much furniture and clutter, which distracts buyers and detracts from the house’s best features. For instance, if you have granite countertops covered by kitchen appliances, cutting boards, cutlery or utensils, or bottles of olive oil, buyers can’t really appreciate the beauty of the counters. Other common equity-eaters are piles of papers, knick-knacks, collectibles, toys, stacks of magazines and books, and photos, which take up space and distract buyers’ eyes from focusing on the selling points of your home. All the surfaces – walls, counters, floors, furniture – need to be seen and to shine. Homeowners tend not to see how much clutter they have because they’ve lived with it for so long. A home stager provides advice during a consult on what needs to be moved out or re-arranged.

* Depersonalized: Get rid of family photos, plaques, awards, trophies, collections. Anything that is about YOU and your personal interests or hobbies will generally prevent buyers from seeing your home as their home. These items can also distract buyers from focusing on the features of your home. Buyers need to be able to imagine them selves living in your home. Once your home is up for sale, it needs to be de-personalized and presented as a product with wide appeal to a large pool of buyers.

*In good repair: Any sign of maintenance problems, or unfinished home renovation projects, makes buyers nervous about extra money they may have to put into the house. Check out your home from front yard to back, looking for everything from loose doorknobs and rusty mailboxes to leaky faucets, chipped paint, and broken patios or railings.

* Painted in neutral colors: Colors need to be subdued and up-to-date. Current popular and trendy colors are beige, sage greens, wheat-toned yellows, gray, and creamy whites. Strong, bright, and bold colors risk turning-off too many buyers, but can be useful in accent pieces to liven up certain spaces or draw attention to special features in your home.

* Updated: Even your home’s interior furniture and finishings can work against getting the price it deserves. Outdated decor such as worn carpeting, old appliances, wallpaper borders, and out-dated shiny brass lighting or old cabinetry should be replaced or painted to reflect current design trends. Most buyers today also prefer painted woodwork instead of older, dark wood trim. Old or shabby furniture can be updated using slipcovers, pillows, and throws as an easy and inexpensive fix. Most buyers today also prefer white painted woodwork instead of older, dark wood trim; knotty pine paneling is “out” and should be painted a neutral color. Borders and wallpaper — other than trendy grasscloth or a master bedroom accent wall – should be removed.

* Finally, don’t overlook the importance of accessorizing with trendy artwork, vases with faux branches and high-quality silk flowers, trees, plants, and a few artfully placed decorative objects in each room. When I stage a home, I use on average 30 – 50 accessories, including the pillows and throws on couches and beds. Accessories provide the “wow” factor that helps buyers make an emotional connection with your home and picture themselves relaxing in a warm, inviting environment.

Amy Bly is the owner of Great Impressions Home Staging, LLC in River Vale, NJ. For more information on home staging tips and before and after photos, go to or call 201-390-4649.



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