When putting your home on the market, its very important not to assume that buyers understand what every room is used for.  If your rooms are not being used for what was their original intent, it can be very difficult for the potential buyer to visualize. This is where staging comes in.

Stage It 

First impressions says a lot as the saying goes. What impressions will your buyers have of your home? Will they love it or hate it? To help increase the buyers’ love of your home is to stage it proberly. The benefits will not only help save you money but sell it faster too. Homes that are staged sell up to 73% faster according to a recent study by the Real Estate Staging Association.

When it comes to staging your home, there are a number of elements you want to consider. These elements consists of the following: depersonalizing it, neutralizing it, spacing it, cleaning it and then showcasing it.

Depersonalizing It

When it comes to depersonalizing your home you want to begin to think of it as a retail product. It’s no longer your home but a house you dwell in. I know you have many fond memories that are tied to the home but the buyer doesn’t. They will not have the same emotions that you do. In fact if you don’t remove personal items, they will have a difficult time seeing your house as a home for themselves. So to begin to make the switch in your mind, think of your home as a product to sell.

Many times I find that sellers have a very difficult time when I consult with them on what needs to be done to get the house ready for sale. Many people are very proud of their family, achievements, and hobbies. You don’t want buyers getting distracted by the (clutter) items that are personable to you.

When it comes to depersonalizing your home begin with all the personal pictures in your home that are hanging on the walls or displayed on your tables and bookshelves. If these pictures are of your family and friends but them away. In fact how about begin to pack them up with the expectation you are moving on to the next stage or chapter in your life. It will be that one less thing you need to do on moving day.

Next is to look at all your achievements you may have displayed on the bookshelves, tables and walls of your home as well. This will include any awards given, certificates of completions or trophies from tournaments played.

Lastly when it comes to depersonalizing your home is your hobbies. This could be a collection of knick knacks from places you have traveled. My mother had a habit for years collecting bells from her travels. My grandmother had a collection of spoons. My mother in law had salt and pepper shakers. Is this enough said to get the idea and look around?

You may also be into a particular theme in your home that can cause distractions. An example of a theme could be everything roosters, or lighthouses, etc. Again, you don’t want them begin admiring your collections and what you have when the motive is to have them look at the features of your house and not be distracted by your personal items. Remember to depersonalize is to commercialize. Your goal is to sell.

Neutralizing It

When it comes to neutralizing your home it is very important. I had lost a sale of a home because buyers could not get past the pet odors (urine) in the home. Today we have many people who are very highly allergic to certain odors. These odors can be the results from many areas.

Pets are one of the biggest for people when it comes to allergies. The dander left behind in your dogs or cats can cause people to go into asthmatic attacks to eyes closing up. Do your best to vacuum very often and wipe counters down frequently to keep the dander away.

Another big area that deters buyers is the smell of cigarette smoke. If you happen to be a smoker, it’s very important that you begin to take your smoking outside if you want to sell your home. If you haven’t painted your walls during the time you smoked in doors, you will want to use an oil or alcohol base primer to block the nicotine smells on your walls. Then have your furniture and carpets professionally cleaned.

When it comes to cooking be careful not to cook foods that have lingering smells if you are planning on showing your home that day or the next. An example of lingering smells when it comes to cooking is that of fish and/or seafood. Instead, play it safe and cook it on the grill.

If you are a potpourri lover or fragrant candle lover, again play it safe. Use very little and/or mild fragrances. If you use anything, use something reminds them of cooking apple pie or cookies in the kitchen. Vanilla may also be a safe one to use. Very pungent smells can be a turn off to many buyers. Remember to neutralize it is to commercialize it. Your goal is to help the nose of your buyers not have an unpleasant experience, so you can sell it.

Space It

You have heard the saying less is more. Well it’s definitely true when it comes to smaller spaces. You want to create the illusion that you have more square footage or real estate space as we real estate agents say. Let’s talk about ways you can create the illusion that you have more space than what you may actually have by doing away with less stuff.

First let’s start with your closets. It’s very important to have as little to nothing on the floors of your closets. Have shoes stowed away on a hanging rack in the closet or in a special bin on the shelves above. Also, pack away your off season clothes in a bin and store them in the attic or under the bed. This way your closets don’t appear to be over crowded. A good rule of thumb is to have at least a third of the space available on the clothes rod.

Next let’s look at your kitchen. If it’s on the small side, it’s important to use a round table with no more than four chairs. Round tables always create the illusion of more space than square or rectangle. When comes to your counter tops, don’t have more than two major appliances on the top. Why? Again you want to create the illusion that you have lots of room to cook.

Another area of importance is to remove all unnecessary furniture in each room as possible. You want to show as much floor space as you possibly can. Decorative storage boxes and baskets are good to use to store additional items in to remove perceived clutter. Examples would be your remote controls, magazines, etc.

When it comes to your bathroom counter tops and sinks, store all your toiletry items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, etc. in a basket under the cabinet of your sink. If you have a pedestal sink in your bathroom, then store the basket of toiletry items in a bathroom or hall closet.

If you have built in bookshelves and cabinetry with glass doors have very few decorative items and books on each shelf. You don’t want your shelves to look crowded. This is another reason to begin packing up those treasured books to prepare you for the next chapter in your life.

You may be inconvenienced each day by doing away with your comforts or changing your life style, but remember you are giving yourself and your home another way to commercialize your “real estate” space.

Clean It

Have you heard the saying cleanliness is next to godliness? You want your home to be as free from dirt, dust bunnies, smudges, etc. as possible. So, put on your Sherlock Homes detective hat and begin looking for all the areas that could be covering the best highlights of your home’s features.

When you start your hunt, you can start from top to bottom and/or left to right, which ever works best for you. I like to work from top to bottom and working myself going around a room when cleaning.

Let’s start our hunt in the primary areas that most people focus on, the kitchen and baths. When it comes to your kitchen, start with your ceiling and light fixtures looking for and removing dust bunnies, cob webs and any bugs that may have crawled themselves up into your light fixtures and made them their resting place. This also applies to other rooms as well.

Next wipe down all your kitchen cabinetry and appliances of any grease and grime and makes those faucets shine. And lastly look at your floors. If you have ceramic tile flooring and your grout is grungy, look into using Oxygen-Bleach in the powder form and follow directions to get them looking as clean as possible.

As for the bathrooms, look particularly around bath tubs and showers for any possible mildew growing on any caulk joints. Make sure you remove any mildew with a mildewcide. As for your faucets, don’t forget to make them shine. Plus, if you have tile in your bathroom that has any grungy grout, again clean it with Oxygen-Bleach.

Finally for all those windows in your home, make sure you have a handy squeegee to remove the smudges and dirt on them so they can see your reflection. Clean all the light fixtures of cob webs and insects that like to migrate their way to them and then all other fixtures like door knobs and handles.

Remember to clean it is preparing your home to commercialize it. No one likes buying anything dirty unless it’s something like a used car part from the junk yard.

Showcase It
When it comes to showcasing your home there are certain techniques and applications you want to implement to get the most bang for your buck. Let’s start with colors, lights, mirrors and decorations.

It’s important to go neutral with paint colors when it comes to large rooms. Neutral is not just beige anymore but can be soft tans, golden honey and soft blue-greens. If you go bold with colors, you could jeopardize a potential sale.

Keep bold/dark colors to small areas like in powder rooms, small bedrooms or dining rooms to create intimacy or a sense of coziness. Other areas to use your darker colors are on accent walls like on a window wall or around a fireplace. You can also paint the inside areas of open cabinetry like bookshelves.

It’s important to use soft colors on walls and luxury bedding when creating a relaxing bedroom. Also if buying a new bed out of the budget, use a frame with an inexpensive air mattress. Also, make sure your closets are de-cluttered and open for show.

“Bigger is better,” some people will say. To create the illusion of more square footage we want to paint adjacent rooms with the same paint color. For example, if you have an open kitchen that flows into a family room, use the same color.

Let’s talk about lighting. Its important to have more than enough light in your dim areas. If you have 60-watt bulbs in your lights, switch them out to 100-watt while on the market.

When you are showcasing your home, make sure you have all types of lights on. Your ambient lighting, which is your overhead or general lighting. Any task lighting you may have such as under cabinets, pendants over bar areas or reading lights. And your accent lighting, which would include walls and table lamps.

Let’s talk about the importance of how to use mirrors. For those living rooms that are on the small size, you can use large mirrors on one wall. It also helps to choose the wall that is able to reflect the most sunlight if you have a room with limited light.

When it comes to decorating with your artwork/pictures don’t get hung up by creating that imaginary line all the way around the room. You want to stagger your wall hangings at different levels and even maybe create one wall with a stair step effect going up the wall.

Have you heard three is a crowd? Well not here, “Three Is A Company”. When you are creating groupings on your tables, use an odd number of at least three. For a maximum effect for your table groupings is to use various heights, weights and shapes. For a harmonious effect on your table displays, group by colors, textures and/or patterns.

And take advantage of what you may have in your yard based on what season you are selling your home. If its spring/summer, bring in the flowers and place in a pretty vase on your dinning room table or bar. If you are encountering the fall, bring in some foliage or bring in holly branches with berries if happens to be winter.

Applying these staging techniques will help you leave less money on the table and help you bring about a faster sale. Remember: Look at your home as a retail product for sale. Your house is on the market, so its important to commercialize it in all ways possible.