Staging a home can end up being a valuable tool in selling the house. Not only can it assist in selling a house, but it can also help the seller get top dollar. The amount of staging needed varies wildly from a small scale de-cluttering of a home to hiring staging professionals to the tune of several thousand dollars, but the goal is the same- creating a pleasant mood by making a house appear bigger, brighter and warmer while neutralizing the area so prospective buyers can visualize how their own furniture and belongings can be incorporated into the home. In a good or bad housing market, some studies have shown that staged homes can add between 10 and 15 percent to the sale price of many homes. Sellers who don’t take the time to properly stage may end up with their house on the market for longer periods of time, and agreeing to a lower selling price to a buyer who can see the potential the home has that other viewers did not. Though professional home stagers may be needed if a home is completely empty, the majority of staging can be accomplished by the seller. A quick visit to some newly built model homes can help a seller get an idea of how interior designers and stagers prepare a home. There’s a delicate balance between keeping the home sparse enough to appear as spacious as possible, and picking the right pieces to maintain a warm and livable space. The first impression a potential home buyer will have of a house will be of the exterior, so nice curb appeal is important. A fresh coat of paint on the front door, a nicely trimmed lawn, and fresh flowers in a garden or on the front porch are easy and effective staging techniques. A brightly colored patio set in the backyard can help the home’s exterior appearance when the buyer steps out the back door. Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most important rooms in buyers’ eyes. Kitchen counters should be clear of all small appliances and other items that tend to gather on them. When counter tops are cleared of clutter, the amount of working surface increases. A splash of color, such as a bowl of fruit is acceptable, but a refrigerator, covered in personal pictures and comic strip cutouts, is not. Bathrooms should look as open and airy as possible, and above all clean. A new white toilet or tub, or a new set of sink faucets could be a worthy investment during the staging process. Personal toiletries, like toothbrushes, should be removed from sight, while the addition of scented soaps, lotions and clean white towels could give the room more of a spa type feeling. For bedrooms, remove as much unnecessary furniture as possible, and keep it in the garage or in storage if need be. For smaller rooms, hang curtains high on the wall, and do not cover the actual window with them. Doing so will increase the apparent height and width of the room. Neutralize the rooms by removing all personal pictures and keeping wall colors a nice warm, clean color. By following a few simple and effective staging guidelines, a home seller can increase his or her chance to sell the home quickly, and the time and effort will pay off by netting the highest offer as well.
Author Ki is a realtor in the Austin real estate market. His site provides a interactive search of the Austin MLS along with general information about Austin real estate. His site also has a page where webmasters can download a mortgage rates widget.