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How to Home Stage Like a Pro

10 Sep

Household  clutter, outdated décor and unpleasant odors are just a few homebuyer turnoffs.  When home staging is done right, it reduces a home’s flaws and maximize its  features. Read on for expert tips to make your clients’ homes buyer-friendly  and primed to sell.

Declutter. There’s a reason  this is the most important rule of home staging: It makes the rooms look  bigger, creates a sense of calm and order, and helps potential buyers envision  the home filled with their own belongings. Banishing clutter means getting rid  of both the big things (awkward pieces of furniture) and small things (clothes,  toys).

Remember,  viewers will be opening every door and touring your entire house, so don’t just  move the clutter into the garage or a spare bedroom. If your clients can’t part  with these items but don’t have the extra space for them, they could rent a  storage unit short term.

Fill an empty house. Of course, a vacant  house can be a disadvantage too. Many national furniture rental companies, such  as Cort and Rent-A-Center, offer several rental options that range from furnishing an  entire home to just a room. Homeowners might be reluctant to take on another  monthly payment, but if it means their house will move quicker, they might  reconsider. An added plus is that most companies don’t require contracts. Most also  deliver and set up the furniture.

Think small. Staging a home  doesn’t have to be an expensive project. Small changes go a long way. Have  clients consider these easy upgrades to give rooms a refreshed look:

  • Switch out old lampshades with modern ones
  • Get rid of dark drapes and install simple wood blinds—they’ll let in more  light
  • Add a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color
  • Replace old or dated light fixtures, light switch plates, and  outlet covers
  • Buy new decorative pillow covers—or sew them yourself
  • Hang new artwork
  • Buy new ceiling fans—or spray paint the housing and/or replace the  blades of the current ones

And  don’t forget the little repairs. Running toilets, pipe leaks and door squeaks  should be fixed before buyers see the home. Chipped or smudged paint should be  touched up.

Clean thoroughly. The details matter.  Dust the blinds and furniture; clean the counters, sinks and windows; sweep and  mop the floors; remove ceiling fan cobwebs. When every inch of the house is  spotless, buyers will take notice. If your clients don’t have the time or  energy to embark on a complete house cleaning, they can hire a professional  cleaning service, such as Merry Maids.*

Don’t overthink it. You don’t have to  be particularly creative to add special touches to a room. Put out large bowls  of colorful fruit like oranges, apples and bananas. Arrange hardcover books on  coffee tables and cookbooks on the kitchen counter. Fill baskets with decorative  towels, scented soaps and moisturizers, and place them in the bathrooms.

Take  a tip from the pros and keep decorative objects restricted to groups of one, three,  or five. The idea is that items arranged in odd numbers are more pleasing and  memorable than pairings of even numbers. Within each grouping, create a  hierarchy of different heights, textures or shapes. HGTV.com’s accessories section has photo galleries  of art, lamps, pillows and other items to help with decorating ideas and  information.

Be scent-conscious. Your clients might  love the smell of sandalwood or vanilla, but don’t assume potential buyers have  the same preferences. The house should smell fresh—not like air freshener. The  key is not to add aroma, but to get rid of offensive or stale odors.

How  do you do this? Tackle the source(s). This may mean cleaning out the fridge,  taking out the trash, doing the laundry, cleaning the garbage disposal, or  changing the kitty litter. Opening windows and vents can help. If the basement  smells musty, run a dehumidifier—just make sure to remove it before the  showing, since a dehumidifier in the basement can signal water damage to some  buyers. Dry-cleaning kits like  Dryel can get rid of laundry odors. At $9.95, Citrus Magic Solid Air Freshener is an inexpensive yet effective method for eliminating food and general  household smells.

Call a professional. Your client may prefer to have a  professional handle home staging. A directory of Accredited Staging  Professionals® can be found at StagedHomes.com. Friends and colleagues might also have recommendations based on home  stagers they’ve worked with.

*Merry Maids, like American Home Shield, is a  ServiceMaster brand.

Courtesy of American Home Shield

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Posted by on September 10, 2011 in For the Home

 

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