Fully staged dining room with attached kitchenAttention to detail makes a difference in staging your home for sale. The table place settings sets this dining room apart and creates a warm inviting feel to the space.
It is generally agreed that when selling your apartment or home, staging your space is absolutely critical to compete in the overly-competitive real estate market. A recent New York Times article states that buyers have become accustomed to seeing fully-ready homes and can be turned off if a space seems drab or there is no attention to detail in preparing the home to be viewed. "The practice of home staging has long elicited strong reactions. Agents and professional...say staging can usually help a home sell faster, and for a higher price, offering a larger return on the investment."
So the real question is whether you hire a professional or embark on staging yourself. While there are many benefits to outsourcing to a professional stager, this article details tips for those who choose to go it alone.
1) Give yourself time to plan
Schedule time to sit down and plan how you will prepare each room of your home. Its important not rush this stage of the project as this can be the most important step when presenting your home for sale.
Put yourself in the shoes of a prospective buyer and make decisions based on what would impress you upon viewing your space. There is no “not a big deal” room or detail so be generous when compiling your to-do list. (Now is the time to confront that old “favorite” couch!!) That little extra effort goes a long way in attracting the right buyer. Real Estate websites like Trulia and Zillow are great sources for tips and tricks - also be sure to check out New York Times Real Estate, Interior Design Magazine and Houzz.
2) Don't Skimp
You can assume that some damaged or unappealing areas of your home will appear in your listing photographs or be discovered by a potential buyer so take the time to fix kitchen and bathroom tiles, repair electrical sockets, replace old worn doors and don't be afraid to invest in repainting. Hiring professionals to polish your wood floors can be a great investment!
3) Replace / Re-purpose Old Furniture
You may not have to purchase entire new furniture sets but that old couch with the cat claw marks won't do. To save money, be creative and source classics from antique shops, Housing Works or Craigslist. TJ Maxx has really affordable furniture and fixings that are perfect for this purpose. You can also re-upholster and/or varnish/paint existing furniture to give it a newer look. For visual inspiration check out the Architectural Digest website.
4) Double your prep time!
It is impossible to imagine how many knick-knacks you have collected over the years or how long it takes to actually mop the entire house so give yourself loads of time to prepare for photo shoots and open houses. For a 1 bedroom apartment allow yourself at least 2 full days to de-clutter, vacuum, mop and make your place picture perfect. Add about 1/2 a day per room so if you are shooting a 3 bedroom home with a dining room your best bet would be to schedule a full 4 days of preparation. This is all, of course, in ADDITION to any major work like painting or moving in furniture. Underestimate at you own peril!
5) Details! Details! Details!
Here is a quick list of guidelines when preparing your home to be photographed or for an open house.
Open any blinds or curtains to allow in natural light
Have the windows washed and clean any mirrors
Vacuum and/or mop the floors
Turn on all available lights
Organize or put away objects that clutter your space
Remove any valuables or items you do not want photographed
Organize or clear away cords and phone chargers if possible
Take out the trash
Remove all cars, boats, motorcycles, etc from the driveways and do not park directly in front of the house
Remove all garden tools, hoses and clutter
Mow the grass, rake up leaves and debris, pull weeds and remove any dead vegetation
Sweep driveways, sidewalks porches and patios
Make your bed look fit for a king or queen
Tidy up your desk
Put away any laundry
Clean all mirrors
Open the shower curtain, but close the toilet lid
Fold your towels
Put away extra dishes and food items
Clean every counter top
Remove personal photographs from the refrigerator
In the end, your guide should be “If I walked in here I would make an offer.” If that isn’t happening then spend more time making your home look extra special. Any additional money or time investment will only pay off to sell your home quickly and at the right price.
Feel free to leave any of your own preparation tips in the comment section!