When it comes to home staging, many people think it means getting rid of all your “stuff” and replacing it with furnishings from the stager, so it can look like the homes on HGTV. However, most of us have too many things in our homes, so effective staging can simply mean editing the items you already have and adding the accessories that will dress up the room and give it a freshly designed look.
Whichever path you choose, thoughtful staging will make you more money and sell your home faster. The reason is that the positive or negative emotional response that occurs in buyers’ minds when they walk into a room happens before their rational thought process can kick in. Even before buyers can think about price and location, their emotions have registered a “yes” or “no” response. So, it’s smart to make everything look beautiful and stylish as soon as buyers walk in your front door; that way, half of the work in selling your home will be done for you.
How do you evoke a positive emotion in a buyer? Here are a few guidelines you can follow:
• Start by Cleaning and Clearing. Before you begin staging your home, clean out your normal accessories and start with a clean slate. Since staging is about what you already have, take inventory of your furniture and décor so that you know exactly what you’re working with.
• Focus on Attracting, not Distracting. Be strategic in your style decisions. Place items in such a way that enhance the great aspects of your home. For example, if you want to show off your high ceilings, decorate the room with taller lamps, high back chairs, a long mirror, or anything else that draws the eye up.
• Keep it Small and Simple. Remember that less is more and you don’t need to go overboard with decorating. A single elegant candle or seasonal wreath on your door does so much more for your home in a buyer’s eye than an overabundance of mismatched trinkets.
• Maintain a Sense of Anonymity. It’s important to remove individuality in the home. Pack away family photos and the children’s artwork. Again, buyers want to be able to see themselves living in your home and it’s hard to do that with when your personal possessions are around.
• Consider all Five Senses. Stirring up emotion doesn’t just happen by sight, but can often be captured by smell, too. Naturally, you’ll want to get rid of any sources of bad odors. As for infusing the room with positive smells, stick to scents that are clean and refreshing, such as lemon, vanilla, cedar, basil or pine.
These guidelines will get you started in staging your home for market. Remember, work with your real estate agent; he/she probably has nearly as much experience as a professional stager and can recommend stagers, painters and contractors who can get your house looking its best when it has its debut in the marketplace.
Donna Evers is the owner and broker of Evers & Co. Real Estate, the largest woman-owned and -run real estate firm in the Washington metro area, and the proprietor of Twin Oaks Tavern Winery in Bluemont, Va. She is a regular contributor to the Washington Blade and frequently appears on TV and radio as an expert on the D.C. real estate market. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her team on Twitter @EversCo.