November 3rd, 2010 12:00 AM by Wendy Thomas
If you've heard anything about home staging, you probably think $$$ ! But it doesn't have to be expensive. If you are in a position where a professional stager could work wonders with your house, hiring someone may be the perfect answer to selling your house. You can choose, to an extent, how much you want to pay. But when you consider the amount of time on the market that the staging may reduce for you, paying for it will generally be a minor issue. A great staging job can make all the difference in a faster sale!
For example, I interviewed for a listing several years ago--a vacant house. I didn't get it; they hired the other agent. Six months later, when the house hadn't sold, they called me to take the listing. I told them only under the condition that they hire a professional stager. The upfront cost was $1200, which covered 2 months of staging, but the house sold in 2 weeks!! The reason: the house had a unique layout, and some buyers cannot imagine what furniture will go where, and they must actually see the spaces used in the way they were meant to be. Was it worth $1200 to get a faster sale and not having to pay any more mortgage payments? Of course!
If you don't have the money for a professional, or if you are living in your house while trying to sell it, there are many little changes that you can make in order to "stage" your house yourself, and help the house to look more appealing to potential buyers.
The very first thing that you should consider is de-cluttering!! Do you have a lot of appliances and other things on your kitchen counters? Clean off your countertops!! I usually suggest reducing the items on your countertops by two third's. Do you have a lot of furniture in your bedrooms? Take some out. If you have to, rent a small storage space to put the items in until you move. Another thing to consider: rearrange your furniture to best maximize your space!! A good suggestion is to take a photo of the space, then look at it. What catches your eye? What could look better?
Another inexpensive way to stage your own home is to buy a new shower curtain and matching bathroom accessories. You're obviously moving away from this house, and surely you don't need any additional "junk" to take with you, but consider what spending $30 on a bathroom can do, when it brightens it up and helps it look better in photos! Keep things neutral, although I do think a "pop" of color here and there is a great touch.
Although all rooms are important, consider what your kitchen and your master bedroom and bath look like. In my opinion, your great room is in that category of important rooms as well. If those rooms look amazing, they draw in the buyer. If those rooms look amazing, they also help the buyer to look at the house, without spending time thinking of all of the changes they'd need to make.
When in doubt, ask for others' opinions. Ask your Realtor! A good Realtor will make suggestions as he or she goes through your home, as to what will help it to sell, and what's not as important.
So is it worth the extra effort to stage a house? Absolutely!!! Whether done by you or a professional, the right staging will help you to attract more buyers, sell your house faster, and usually for more money, because the buyer won't come into the transaction with a laundry list of items that they must change before moving in!
There are so many more things to consider in preparing your house to sell..... Have questions or need more suggestions? Let me know.