Many times I show homes and I have to laugh. If there is a desk in a bedroom the buyer will assume itâ€™s an office. You put a bed in the bedroom and people will assume itâ€™s a bedroom. I had the same problem when I sold my own home back in 2006. I tried for months to sell my 2nd bedroom as a bedroom but with a desk in the room I had no takers. As soon as I put a bed in the bedroom-boom, the house sold.
Staging is important. So many homes are vacant. You donâ€™t need to hire an expert to do it, but if you have a budget it really can pay off. There are three levels of staging a homeowner can do.
The Light Fluff:
When youâ€™re listing your home, think about what the buyers want.
Put out fresh (preferably new) towels for showings/open houses (and donâ€™t use them!)
Purchase new bath rugs
Pull all the weeds in the flowerbeds and replace or trim back any tired plants
Fertilize the lawn
Fresh flower and candles are a plus
Replace burned out light bulbs
New bed linens
Make sure your doorbell works
Replace old house numbers and mailboxes
Replace any broken sprinkler heads.
In your bathroom, get rid of unsightly toiletries and toothbrushes
Remove personal photos or at least limit it to one or two a room
Purchase indoor houseplants
Paint where touch-ups are needed.
Replace or remove worn window screens
Make sure your closets look organized and not stuffed to the brim
Keep pet toys and kid toys to a minimum and make sure what is left is neatly displayed in the areas the kids or pets play
Have a fresh/new doormat at your front door to greet visitors
Soft Staging for Vacant Homes:
So you have moved out of your home and youâ€™re not sure how to stage it without buying/renting furniture. If you canâ€™t afford to stage it, follow the tips above that apply. Make sure even though the house is vacant you have some items that will make people feel warm and invited in your home.
Towels and toilet paper in all bathrooms
Make sure the home is as clean as a whistle
Bath rugs in all bathrooms
Candles in kitchen and bathrooms
Orchids or fresh flowers in kitchen and bathrooms
Throw rugs as needed
If you have patio furniture that you can leave, thatâ€™s a plus
Music sets the mood: Make sure that when your home is shown, lights are on, candles lit and music is played softly to set the mood
Light a fireplace or run the A/C to make the environment inviting and comfortable
Replace burned out light bulbs
Flowers in the flowerbeds and weeds removed
Make sure the mail is always picked up
Update your house numbers and mailbox
Make sure the doorbell works
Leave utilities on
Make sure you or your agent visit the home frequently to make sure itâ€™s in tiptop shape.
If you have the budget, I highly recommend hiring a professional stager. Most stagers can do a partial staging (say you need to freshen up a few rooms) or a complete staging of a vacant home. Itâ€™s important the furniture matches the style of the house. I have seen stagers stage a house the right way and the wrong way. The photo that set me to write this blog is of a home I visited today that was professionally staged. The staging was awful. The piece a la resistance was the garage. They had a mannequin in a wedding dress and a table with a sketch of a wedding dress. I think they were trying to paint the picture that someone artistic might want the house. What it ended up looking like was a haunted garage with a corpse bride hidden in the garage! Tacky!!!! Letâ€™s not get spooked by our stagers. Choose a stager by interviewing them and visiting some of the homes they have staged. Most stagers offer different levels of staging. See what they can offer you at the price and style that works for you. Donâ€™t be afraid to get several bids. I also am a fan of people that mix old pieces with new. That way it feels more like a real home and not a Cort Furniture Rental showroom.
Itâ€™s proven that houses sell quicker when staged, and at a higher price. Whatever level of staging you decide to do, as they say just do it!
The Carrabba Group
Keller Williams Hollywood Hills
P: (323) 899-2900