It’s no secret that real estate is experiencing a hot flash, and if you decide it’s time to sell your home, here are some staging steps to ensure you get top dollar. If you are staying put, use these as guidelines to make your home more comfortable and inviting.
Walk through your home with a stranger’s eyes. What do you see that you don’t normally notice? That pile of junk mail that goes back to December? Those boots stacked in the corner? It’s amazing how much clutter can accumulate when you are busy. The most effective way to “decorate” your home is to remove the junk.
If you’re selling, you want the next family to visualize itself in the house. This is the point I call “breaking up with your house.”
Yes, get in there and scrub! My favorite trick is to have the windows washed; it’s amazing how much more light comes into the house. Pay attention to corners, baseboards, light switches, and carpeting. My favorite cleaner is called Krud Kutter. It’s nontoxic and cleans grime like crazy. Don’t forget the inside of the refrigerator, ovens, cupboards, linen closets. Now is the time to remove seasonal items, clean out the garage — the whole shebang.
4. Fresh Paint
Nothing says “move-in ready” like fresh paint on the walls. The trendiest wall finish these days is called matte — it’s more washable than flat and has less side-sheen than eggshell. A lot can be achieved with a can of paint. The way to update an outdated kitchen is to paint the cabinets. You can do this with outdated oak or maple cabinets for a fraction of the cost of replacing.
5. Curb Appeal
Don’t ignore the exterior, because first impressions matter. Paint the front door. Tell a story with a small bistro table and a couple chairs artfully placed on the lawn. Add a colorful ceramic planter by the front door. Bark or mulch the beds — this makes your grass look greener, and tidies up the landscaping in an instant.
6. Details Matter
What do your kitchen knobs look like? Are they on-trend or uncool 1980s craptastic? How about that light fixture in the entryway? If it’s a beveled glass pendant with fake-brass gold trim, now is the time to upgrade. Seriously. Even switch-plate cover colors matter! Almond is out; white is in.
7. Less is More
This is different than decluttering. Here, you want to assess the furniture placement and quantity. Remove the excess, and rearrange with impersonal eyes. Make your home feel airy and spacious and full of possibility.
8. More Staging Tricks of the Trade
- Artfully place mirrors to reflect light into darker spaces, like hallways.
- Uplights add visual interest and pools of warmth.
- Group accessories to add pops of color and tell a story; create a spa with accessories in the bath, or add a desk and make a study area from an underutilized corner.
- Area rugs can create virtual “rooms.”
- Neutralize the master bedroom accessories. Not too feminine, nor too masculine.
- Be hip; use books!
- Invest in fresh fluffy white towels for a touch of hotel-inspired luxury.
- Break up furniture sets and use them in unusual places in the house.
- Hire a home staging expert or an interior designer to bring in an unbiased, experienced perspective. Your real estate agent probably has a relationship with a great professional.