In 2011, the Real Estate Staging Association studied 174 homes that were on the market for an average of 156 days before the homeowners gave up and hired a professional stager. After the homes were staged and relisted, they sold on average 42 days after staging (73 percent less time).
Since home staging plays such a major role in the sale of a home, this is one task you don’t want to take lightly. Prepare to spend a good amount of time paying attention to fine details and make sure to stay on top of the job throughout the entire home selling process to ensure your hard work doesn’t go to waste. All the effort will be well worth it. According to award-winning home stager Kate Hart, 87 per cent of buyers go online to look at pictures before even calling a realtor. So you’re staging for two reasons: to impress buyers when they look at the home in person and in photos. And since the market for green homes is smaller than for conventional homes, making that great first impression is that much more important.
Disconnect your home from your personal life by emotionally detaching from it and depersonalizing it, writes Elizabeth Weintraub, broker-associate at Lyon Real Estate. So pack up any personal items such as photos and family heirlooms and get rid of any particular smells (other than good ones such as baking cookies, which is encouraged!). This accomplishes two things, it prevents potential buyers from getting distracted and it helps them to envision themselves living there, not you.
Clean and declutter
According to the national HomeGain survey, cleaning and decluttering is the most highly recommended home improvement for sellers. At an average cost of $100 to $200, it is the cheapest, yet yields a home price increase of $1500 to $2000. With an ROI of 872 per cent, it’s by far the highest return of any home improvement.
Deep clean the entire house, even the fireplace and stove. When doing so make sure to use environmentally-friendly and/or natural cleaning products. Keep these in the closet to show buyers that you green clean your home. This is especially important to buyers interested in a healthy home (which many green home buyers are) because there’s a good possibility that they’re sensitive or allergic to chemicals.
Get rid of anything you don’t regularly use, otherwise pack it up and put it in storage. Since you’re planning on moving anyways, this step will make the moving process that much easier. The cleaner and more organized you keep your home and belongings, the better impression the buyer will get.
Get rid of any excess furniture. A bit of emptiness makes the home appear larger and easier to move around. Try removing half your furniture then adjust from there. Remove small appliances from the kitchen and toiletries from the bathrooms. Also, make sure to keep closets rather empty to show how much storage space the home has.
Furnish spaces both inside and outside the house, such as patios and porches, to reinforce that all those spaces are usable.
Replace old furniture or use additional furniture rentals only where necessary. Wherever possible try to locate nearby furniture. Perhaps a neighbour has a table you can borrow? That way you can just carry it over rather than rent a truck that you have to drive some distance.
Fix that leaky tap and replace worn out weatherstripping. Home buyers will scrutinize the house closely so make sure everything is in full working order. Whether you decide to get into extensive renovations or not, at the minimum, paint the walls and front door (but avoid bright colours) and replace cracked tiles and worn out carpets.
Keep the lawn nicely mown and free of debris. Rake the leaves and make sure the flowerbeds are looking good. A buyer’s first impression of a home happens before even stepping out of the car, so make sure the driveway, patio, sidewalk and walkways are well-maintained and clear of snow.
- Use the “one will do” rule when accessorizing. One painting on a wall shows off the room better than multiple ones.
- Open the blinds and curtains while showing the house.
- Open windows and doors to air the house out.
- Keep fresh flowers in vases.
- Keep the outside of your home well-lit to attract nighttime drive-by traffic.
For more on how to stage a home, watch this video:
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image: Mirage floors (Creative Commons BY)
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