Staging a Home

By Jeni Fitzgibbon, Spaces Staff Writer

If you’re thinking about selling your house, there’s one thing your realtor might suggest: bring in a home stager. A home stager will make your home appealing to potential buyers by focusing on improving the property’s appearance. This can include painting the home (inside and outside), landscaping or rearranging furniture, wall art or decorations in a more appealing way. Some realtors and home stagers might not think your home needs it, so it’s really up to you.

Lori Chamberlain of MediaOne Real Estate says, “I do recommend if the home is over $350,000, if it has a strange layout where the flow of the home does not work, or if the home does not look good vacant. Sometimes the furniture may be distracting, old and worn out, or have a bad odor. That would be the perfect time to have it staged.”

No matter the condition of your home, consider these staging tips.

Get rid of clutter

A home stager will always tell you to hide clutter. Some of this clutter may include books, excessive appliances, toys, magazines, bath accessories and other miscellaneous items. Since you’re already planning on moving, take this as an opportunity to go ahead and start packing for the move. In the meantime, use your garage for storage if you have one. If you don’t, now may be the time to rent a storage unit.

Take down personal items

Many realtors and home stagers will advise you to put away any personal photos, or anything that might evoke strong emotions. Potential buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the home. If they see a stranger’s life on the walls, it could make it tough for them to imagine themselves in that home.

Family photos can make a home look welcoming and warm, but so can neutral photos of landscapes or nature. You want your home to look as neutral as possible, so use this as an opportunity to put your personal photos into storage, ready to move to your new home. Try taking out some of the artwork you may have received as gifts or haven’t had a chance to hang up yet. This leads us to the next tip regarding the importance of attractive wall art.

Re-arrange your wall art

Stagin your home is a great chance to show off your art. You’ll want to work with your stager on the best way to display this. This is the fun part, I promise! Not only will this help get your home ready for staging, but it will also give you new ideas on how to hang art at your new home.

The stager wants a room to look big and the way you hang wall art might help with that perception.

Transform a spare room

You may have a spare room that was for storing clutter only. Try taking that spare room and turning it into something that appears to serve a purpose (like a study, or office). This may include taking some chairs, tables, or console tables that you have in other parts of the house and adding them to this room. A plant in the corner might also be a nice touch along with some artwork you may not be currently displaying.

According to Leah Hennen from
hgtv.com, “If you have a room that serves only to gather junk, repurpose it into something that will add to the value of your home. The simple addition of a comfortable armchair, a small table and a lamp in a stairwell nook will transform it into a cozy reading spot.”

Furniture arrangements

Don’t be afraid to rearrange your furniture. If your dining room table has too many chairs, consider taking some of those and placing them in a space that seems empty. You can also float furniture away from walls and place furniture pieces in groups, which could actually make the room seem larger.

Potential buyers want to know if certain furniture pieces will look good  in rooms. “With some vacant homes, it is easy to see the layout of the home. In others, it helps to have some basic furniture like a kitchen table and master bedroom furniture, which make a big difference when the buyers are trying to decide if their own furniture would fit,” says Chamberlain.

Landscape

You want your home to look just as inviting on the outside as it does on the inside. This is called ‘curb appeal’, and it’s the first thing realtors and potential buyers will see, so it’s important to give them a good first impression.

Use your neighbors’ homes as an example. If their yards look well maintained and inviting then you want yours to look as good or better. This will keep potential buyers from thinking that your home’s curb appeal is inferior to the rest of the neighborhood.

One easy way to start the landscaping process is to pick up dead leaves (depending on the season), twigs, dog droppings, and broken lawn ornaments. Lawn ornaments such as gnomes and flamingos may make your yard seem cluttered, so it would be best to put them into storage.

Adding some color to your yard will also help its curb appeal. Try laying down some fresh mulch in the flowerbeds and then placing potted flowers in places that may look dull, like a flower box in front of a bay window or the front entryway. This is a quick and easy way to add color without doing any heavy work.

One more thing you can do is remove weeds from cracks in pavement, in your grass and in flower beds. Pruning shrubs and bushes would also be important if you haven’t done it already.

Lighting

Don’t underestimate the importance of good lighting when staging a home. You never want your home to appear dark or dreary. Good lighting can make a home appear warm and inviting. If necessary, increase the wattage in your lamps, fans and fixtures. Do not use light bulbs with wattage above the maximum recommendation for the fixture, but try to have a total of 100 watts per 50 square feet.

When it comes to staging a home, minor change can make a big difference which can bring comfort to the sellers knowing that their home did not change too drastically and their devotion to their home can still be seen by potential buyers. According to Chamberlain, “I get positive feedback from both parties, including the sellers, as long as changes to the home are minimal and the buyer can still see their belongings in the home.”

Lori Chamberlain recommends incredibledwellings.com for more ideas on home staging. Incredible Dwellings and Beyond has helped many homes in the Salt Lake area sell due to their successful home staging techniques.

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