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Staging Your House

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     Dressing homes for success before their debut day on the market has not only become de rigueur but it has spawned a booming industry that even has a trademarked name. It's called "staging," and if you think of it a little like getting a stage ready for a theater performance or the television crew, you're not far off.


    Seducing the Buyer

    The idea is to set the "stage" for would-be buyers to imagine themselves happily living in your home.  Setting the stage to sell your home does indeed mean that your home must be attractive and appealing even beyond being clean and in excellent repair. In short, your home needs to seduce.


    There are professionals called "Home Stagers" who are trained in assisting home sellers and Real Estate Agents in preparing homes to sell. In fact, statistically professionally staged homes sell 50% faster and for 6% more then homes not professionally staged. You can find a directory of professional home stagers and additional home staging resources at the Home Staging Resource (

    Staging Tips From the Pros

    De-clutter one more time. Think of it as a second, more thorough editing. When you removed clutter and personal items the first time around, you probably weren't hard-nosed enough.

    • Remove large unnecessary items.  Even if it means paying for storage somewhere else.  Large items can make rooms smaller than they are.
    • Get serious with the closets. Staging pros suggest removing about half the clothes from your closets, then buying new, attractive, matching hangers for all the clothes that remain. Hang the clothes all facing the same direction. Organize shoeboxes into neat stacks. In linen closets wash all the towels and sheets so that nothing smells musty, and fold them perfectly, as if they were on display at a high-end department store.
    • It may be worthwhile to invest in some plush new bathroom towels and an attractive new bedspread. Remember you will take these with you when you move, and if your old towels and bedspread look threadbare or faded, the message is that your home is dated or unkempt.
    • Make sure every window sparkles and that the drapes/blinds are all open. No one wants to live in a dark house so make sure every possible ray of light gets in. Check all the light bulbs in every single fixture to make sure they work. Replace them with brighter ones, if possible.
    • Professional stagers have lots of "beauty tips," such as replacing shabby throw pillows in the living room with new ones; turning every jar and bottle in your kitchen pantry and bathroom medicine cabinet so that the label faces toward you - this gives your pantry and medicine cabinet an orderly look; organizing books on books shelves so that books of the same height are arranged next to each other; and storing any kitchen appliances or cookware that doesn't fit easily into a cupboard. Since people will open your kitchen cupboards, consider removing any truly ugly or dinged up cookware.
    • Make sure your home smells good. Now that you've ridden it of any animal, smoke, or cooking smells, throw open the windows for a while.  
    • All ready for your visitors? It never hurts to take one, last, very careful look. Leave the house. This is important. Many buyers find it weird to encounter the seller when they go to an open house. They will hesitate to look in rooms and closets and will leave quickly, never a good sign. If you're selling it yourself without an agent try not to hover and don't follow visitors from room to room.

    Also, don't forget about the outside of the home.  Plant blooming flowers near the front and back doors and add fresh bark around the yard.  Make sure your shrubbery is well trimmed and the grass is mowed and fertilized.  A buyer gets a first impression of your home by driving by, so the outside look is just as important as the inside.

    Real Life Example ...

    Who: Home seller on a last tour of a rental home she was selling.

    The quote:  "I power washed the house, cleaned the gutters, cleaned the roof, cleaned the driveway, put beauty bark and gravel around the house, painted one room, and that was it. I came by one last time to mow and found a dead rat on the workbench in the garage and an agent coming up the driveway. I flung the rat into my neighbor's yard and then went back later to retrieve it."

    Seller hid loads of soiled laundry in her car during a showing.

    The quote:  "
    Buyers were not looking at or in my car so it was a safe place to hide my piles of unfinished laundry."

     By Diane Tuman

    Next article: Enticing Buyers With a Home Warranty

    Previous article: Remodel Before Selling?

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    • Last edited October 12 2012
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