The benefits of staging your home in preparation to sell are many. Staging your home can help you organize and prepare for your pending move, can contribute to raising the value of your home so it sells for top dollar, and can make the home more enticing to potential buyers. Furthermore, when you dig all into the staging process, you’re contributing to your well-being with the awareness that you’re putting the effort in toward not only navigating but overseeing the operation of successfully selling your home. Here’s your ultimate guide to staging your house for sale.
What is Staging
Staging is a systematic process of dressing a home in its best condition to attract buyers and higher prices. Staged homes appear to be well-maintained, in good shape, and give the sellers a fresh enthusiasm about taking over ownership of the home.
When you stage a house for sale, it means that you declutter, clean, and design your house to look and feel like a model home that buyers would love to own. But let’s keep it real: you don’t need to be a savvy superstar home interior decorator from a reality show on daytime television. Be reasonable.
Who Does the Staging?
This answer isn’t a simple solution. The fact is that you can do some of yourself, all of it yourself, or you can outsource a few of the tasks like the organizing, cleaning, and design elements. One question you should ask yourself here is how much you’re willing to invest, and with the goal of what gains? How much do you charge for your time if you do the work yourself, and how much quality do professionals bring to the table when they specialize in the diverse elements of preparing a home for sale?
Phase One of Staging | The Sorting of Stuff
If you let your mind linger on the idea for just long enough, you can be thoroughly and completely intimidated by the task at hand. “De-Clutter.” What does that even mean? Your brain explodes like over-stuffed closets threatening to release years and years of gathering things. Your mental vision includes dusty filing cabinets with haunted drawers mysteriously opening and closing themselves. Thoughts of yard sale stickers and donation trucks are already beginning to wear you down. In your head, you’re going to spend the next 90 days climbing over mountains of belongings you’re not sure why you even have anymore. Is it intimidating? You bet it is! It’s also a lot of hard work and dedicated focus. But it’s also worth it.
Before you go in like a de-cluttering Tasmanian devil, what you need to keep in mind is this:
* Take it one room at a time.
* Create small and do-able goals such as, “Today, I’m going to complete the clothes from the closets and drawers.”
* In fact, before you get started in a room, create a checklist of things you need to go through so you can gauge a realistic timeline. You may not have the luxury of having all day every day to dedicate to home improvement tasks. You may have to work outside of the home which puts more demands on your time and energy. It’s imperative, then, that you have an organized plan of attack.
To de-clutter, consider having one bag or bin designated strictly for trash.
Next, have a box dedicated to important documents like birth certificates, immunization records, diplomas, and other paper-trails that need to be preserved and protected.
Third, you might find a photo box useful, or a box of nostalgic items that are sentimental keepsakes.
Then, have a bag or bin designated for the gathered items you know you aren’t going to need, probably ever again. These items include clothes you’re not going to wear again, outgrown toys, books that have served their purpose, and other “give away” or “yard sale” items. You may need the luxury of another “pile” for the “I don’t know” things that you can’t make up your mind about saving. Just keep in mind that you’ll still eventually have to deal with that pile.
Your first pass is going to be rather simple. You’ll pluck out the obvious pieces of garbage, throw the dirty clothes in the hamper, and eye-spy any items you’re instantly willing to part with – or, on the contrary, belongings you know matter of factly that you’ve got to have.
Your second pass is a little more labor intensive, a bit focused, and determined. But then you look around the room and feel like the amount of stuff may be increasing instead of decreasing.
So now ask yourself when you touch each item: Do I need this ever again? Do I need this eventually, but not until after the move? Do I need this for daily use up until and after the move? You’ll end up with your box of documents and pictures going into the next room of focus. The trash you gathered will go out to the garbage can. The yard sale or donation items can live in a designated area in the garage or attic, you can pack and store the items you know you can live without until you move, and that’s how you declutter.
Repeat this decluttering process in every room in the house. Leave no item untouched. Slim down your possessions.
Don’t forget the furniture. If you’ve thinned out the belongings in a room enough to free up the dresser, then take that chest out to the garage, to storage, or find it another discrete place to live. Too much furniture – be it many pieces, few over-sized pieces, or a combination, can make a room feel small and stuffy.
Depersonalize and Neutralize
You’re probably noticing the change. You’re feeling productive, but still aware of how much work remains. So, with your decluttering done, make another pass through the house, but this time consider the walls, the artwork, the light fittings, the curtains.
Personalizing your home was what you did when you first moved in, your desire to infuse that property with your energy so that a house could be made into your home. It’s hanging pictures of your loved ones, displaying collections of sentimental items, imbuing that space with your design styles in paint colors and fabric choices. And so it reasons that depersonalizing is an awkward phase of the journey. It’s when you might feel those tugs from nostalgia, the desire to meander down memory lane. But stay focused! Stay the course. Box up those sentiments with tender, loving care, and then move to the next phase. Your goal is to allow buyers to enter your home and have no immediate awareness of who you are as a person. They’re not influenced by your religious preferences, political statements, hobbies, or interests. Instead, buyers can feel the room and imagine what it’d be like to occupy that space.
If you’ve made bold paint choices as a homeowner, it may be time to turn down the volume on those, too. Colors should be neutral, meaning soft, warm, muted colors like beige, light gray, sage green, or other colors of comfort. Plus, if you can tie the color theme together from one area of the house to another, the design elements are tighter.
Security and Safety
Make sure your valuables are removed from the premises, along with any weapons or other items that could be considered precious or dangerous.
Clean Up Your Act | The Sanitation Phase
You’ve gone through all your belongings, reduced the trash, eliminated unwanted items, packed what’s moving with your, stored unused furniture, and organized what little bits were left into practical and tidy solutions. Then you boxed up your personality and neutralized the space regarding energy and color. Now it’s time for that ridiculously meticulous deep cleaning. And so here again you can take on the task on your own if you think you’re cut out for it, or can outsource that task when you’d rather have the professional touch or lack the time and energy to do it right.
This deep clean is more than a sponge bath for your countertops. Dust ceiling fans. Inspect and clean air vents. Wash baseboards. Bleach sinks, bathtubs, and toilets – even the base of the bowl. This is scrubbing nooks and crannies, using toothbrush bristles to detail those tiny places. Clean windows and their encasements. Mop floors. Wipe down doors and walls. Don’t forget to check under the sinks, in the pantry, the cabinet shelves, the refrigerator insides, and the oven.
Clean sells. So call the cleaning crew or roll up your shirtsleeves, it’s time to get that fresh scent appeal.
Repair and Replace
If it’s broke, fix it. If it’s cracked, replace it. If it’s bent, repair it. This goes for door knobs, screen covers, electrical socket covers, rips or stains in the carpets, or any visible or invisible problems. You may find yourself making small investments now for high returns later. You can also give your home an updated look without a renovation project. Fresh caulking around windows and bath fixtures gives a bright, white clean. Modern cabinet handles or drawer-pulls could make an old kitchen seem new.
While you’ve been preparing the living space by decluttering, neutralizing, and sanitizing your house from the inside out, you’ve also got to know that buyers build their impression of your house from the outside in. It’s that curb appeal that either excited the buyer to see more or disheartens the house-hunter with the trepidation of what comes next. So take a break from the inside of your house for a second and turn some attention to the outside of your property. Stand across the street and try to envision your house as if you were seeing it for the first time. Does the paint look fresh? Is the yard overgrown? Does the screen door look rusty or sound squeaky? Do the flower boxes look alive?
The steps for staging the outside of your home are the same as preparing the inside: declutter, neutralize, sterilize. Pull the weeds, cut the grass, wash the windows, plant a few flowers. Arrange lawn furniture into comfortable conversation areas.
When you’ve shown some love to your property’s exterior, then stand back for another look. Take it all in and then ask yourself, “What more could the outside view of my property do to romance and woo the buyers?”
Little Touches, Small Secrets, and Tricks of the Trade
Kitchens are the most important room for buyers considering the purchase of a house. For many households, the kitchen and dining areas are the places of gathering, nurturing, nourishing, and communicating with loved ones. So in the kitchen, add a vase of fresh flowers on the kitchen table as a way to demonstrate life in full bloom. Add live plants, maybe a little herb garden, to the kitchen areas to give the understanding that life thrives in that space. Add an inviting aroma and a touch of enthusiasm by leaving out freshly baked treats on the counter, or even store-bought cookies and a sweet-scented candle like a sugar cookie, cupcake, or apple pie.
Bathrooms are also significant rooms, and a spa-like appeal is preferred by today’s buyers. Use a white shower curtain and crisp white towels on the racks. Take advantage of linen scented candles or air freshener. Store out-of-sight the shampoo bottles, shaving cream, and other common bath and shower items.
Add as much light to each room as possible during showings. Open the curtains or blinds. Turn on lights in dark rooms to give the first impression of sunlight.
Staging your house for sale is hard work. There are layers of tasks and chores that must be done if you’re going to get top dollar for your home in a quick turn-around time. But staging a home is detailed labor worth every penny whether you did the work yourself or leveraged the task to professionals. Your house is about to be onstage. Dress it for success!
Call the The Laura Castillo Group at 432-701-0506 to discuss buying or selling your Midland home.