Monday, March 8, 2010

Home staging is vital for quick sell, best price

Staging increases your chances of a quick sell, reduces the time on the market, and supports your asking price.

Making your home alluring for potential buyers is a smart move in today’s real estate market. In fact, staging your home is now almost a must-do for a quick sell and the best price. The Internet has drastically changed how potential buyers initially shop for a home, and crisp, bright photos on a webpage are essential.

Home staging can take many forms, from the homeowner staging for little or no money, to hiring a professional stager to using the virtual staging technique. The two most important concepts of staging are valid for all methods–de-clutter and depersonalize.

Before doing anything, remove all clutter and personal effects, including that family photo on the mantel, the kids’ artwork on the refrigerator, the kitchen magnets and all those theme-room knick knacks. Sometimes this is a very hard thing to do because of the personal memories and comfort of living with your “stuff.”

Once you’ve done a de-cluttering and de-personalizing sweep, ask a friend or neighbor to come in a point out more things that should go. There will always be more and someone with an impersonal view can help you open up the space and show off your house to its best advantage. All your personal items will become an integral part of your new home. But right now you want a buyer to see their stuff in the house.

De-cluttering also has the added plus of helping you get organized for your move, and sorting thorough things that can be recycled, donated or thrown away. You’ll be ahead in the long run.

Next, remove excess furniture. Large, bulky pieces will make your home seem smaller and give a false perspective. Arrange your furniture in a conversational setting and let the room breathe with extra space.

If you have a fireplace, that should be the focus of your room. Remove the television; a flat-screen shouldn’t be the center of attention. If your fireplace has some black soot, it can be cleaned and even repainted.

Painting will be a big part of your home staging. Repainting an area makes it fresh and covers the scuff marks. You don’t have to stick to a neutral color—there are many softer shades of beige, light yellow, blue and green that will make an impression on potential buyers.

In the kitchen, remove ALL appliances from the countertops. This is extremely important if you have a small kitchen and need to create more countertop space. And as in the bathroom, cleaning and updating are the two most important tasks for these rooms. Kitchens and baths attract the most dirt, so showing a sparkling area will make a big difference.

A relatively new technique in home staging is virtual staging. This is used mostly with homes that are vacant and don’t show up to their potential. Virtual home stagers use computers to work with photos of the house and create a concept of the room, from changing the paint, placing furniture, lighting, and accessories.

This makes a better impression for potential buyers as viewed on the Internet, and can be less expensive than hiring a home stager and renting furniture. The trick here is to use prominent disclaimers saying that the property has been digitally enhanced to show the rooms can look with good design. Otherwise, a potential buyer who views the home online and sees a totally different looking house upon visiting will feel deceived and consider the treatment unethical.

More information on home preparing your home for sale and Home Buying Institute’s website.

Written by Myra Vandersall

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