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When staging a home, what should be taken out, and what should be left?

Our home is newly renovated, and were putting it on the market in a few weeks.  What is the most effective way to stage a home to make it more visually pleasing to a potential buyer.  Also, we have two large built-in bookcases on either side of our fireplace filled with books; very organized, but should the shelves be empty?
  • March 26 2012 - Town of Bennington
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Answers (9)

Profile picture for sunnyview
No the shelves should not be empty, but they should be arranged and not chock full of books alone. You want the shelves to look like functional space. You also want the person's eye to keep traveling around the room. Keep it looking used, but "light" in the bigger scheme of the room. Overstuffed bookcases are not good and stop the eye.


Better bookcases look more like this with a mix of books and spaces like a painting on shelves as the eye travels around the room.
  • March 26 2012
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Profile picture for Ofe Polack
Within 15 seconds a buyer has developed an opinion of your property.  This is why establishing the right first impression is critical, and that starts at the curb.  Make sure that light fixtures/mailbox/fence do not look rusted or worn out. Tream shrubs and have the lawn well maintained.  The sensory of selling is very important, it is proven that people react more favorably to properties shown under bright light than dark.  Kepp colors neutral and light.  The sound of peace and quiet are great, avoid barking dogs and noisy children, if possible.  If you decide on background music choose classical or instrumental. Smell has more impact than you might think.  If you like the smell of cleanliness you may want to use some lemon oil or lemon wax.  Fresh scented flowers also add to the atmosphere.  Above all try to avoid the strong odor of pets, cigarettes, cooking and oil or gas.  Overall neutralize the home from family photos, the buyer needs to feel that he can make that property his own home.  Remove clutter from closets even if you need to pack some clothes in boxes and place them in the basement, you want the buyer to feel that there will be enough space for his own things.  Regarding your bookcases on either side of the fireplace, you do not need to empty the shelves, but books look better when they are accessorized with plants, or some art.  I suggest that you take a look at HGTV living rooms, to see how they achieve that effect on shelves in the living areas.   The best of luck!!!
  • March 26 2012
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Lots of books can be overstimulating to the eye and "stressful" to look at. I recommend staging books by chosing like-new hardcover books in a pleasant way. Some books can be standing as a group and others lying flat with a couple of other same-size coordinated-in-color books. I like to add  carefully selected items that are pleasant to look at, that create open  spaces in the bookcases. A beautiful vase or a small statue could work. I don't think that empty bookshelves are attractive.
  • March 26 2012
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With smaller homes that don't have formal dining rooms I suggest the sellers remove the table in the kitchen to make the space look larger
  • March 26 2012
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@Shannon - contact information (links to your website) is considered spam in this forum.

OP - also remember to remove anything "naughty"...you would not believe how buyers snoop, and that includes night stands, medicine cabinets, places where you might hide inappropriate videos.
  • March 26 2012
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don't forget to remove smelly pets.........small children, however,  may remain

:)
  • March 26 2012
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Profile picture for Lawrie Lawrence

De-clutter and De-personalize. When you view model homes that have been "staged" you notice open spaces and generic neutral belongings.  Pack away personal photos and mementoes; you want your prospective buyers to picture themselves in the home.  Clean out the closets, you want to show the home as storage space

  • March 26 2012
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Clutter free is the way.   All your personal items should be removed and minimal items left for visual appeal.  The buyer has to be able to visualize their items in the home.  If your book case is full, consider removing to at least 35%.  Don't forget closets.  A full closet can detract from how much space is really there.  Good luck!
Shannon Thomas Realtor
msWoods Real Estate, LLC
www.SellingIndyMetro.com
  • March 26 2012
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Creating open spaces that are clutter-free is essential! You could consider removing some books if it makes the room seem cluttered and feel smaller. If you are planning on moving soon, it doesn't hurt to begin packing away some of your unused belongings to help the place feel more spacious. Money, valuables, medicines, personal documents, offensive material, and in some cases family pictures should be kept out of sight. Cleanliness and a fresh smell are also extremely important to making the buyer feel comfortable and welcomed into the home. You want the buyer to easily envision themselves living in the home, so don't give off an overwheling feeling of "your" space. Good luck to you!
  • March 26 2012
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