All the world's a stage... -- William Shakespear
Selling your home can be one of the most stressful things you’ll do in your lifetime. You will be trying to find a new place to live, packing up and going through personal belongings, making sure you will get enough financing to make the purchase, and to top it off…you will have to keep the house clean for potential buyers! While I can’t help you with most of those stresses, I can give you the answer to making it much easier for you to keep your house looking clean, tidy, and appealing to possible buyers—staging.
You may have heard of staging before, but weren’t sure what it means. Your realtor may have even suggested it as a way to sell your home faster and, possibly, for a greater price. Staging means creating a space in which a potential buyer can see themselves living. Sometimes it’s difficult when walking into either an empty space or a home filled with personal possessions to see where the buyers’ furniture might go, or where they would position their dining room table, pool table, ant farm, etc. What? You know there’s someone out there who has said ant farm…and needs to picture where those ants would be happiest in a new home! Okay, maybe not, but you see where I’m going with this; we all have those certain things we’re bringing along on the move that we want to be able to visualize in our possible new space.
Now that you can see why staging is important, let me help you make the changes to maximize your home’s potential for sale and help you to more easily keep the space clean for potential showings.
1. Remove Clutter. This step is the easiest step and costs nothing but your time. Since you’re already (hopefully) starting to go through possessions, deciding what to keep vs. toss, and packing, this is the perfect time to cull each room and see what doesn’t need to be there. Clutter can be any number of things: trash, mail, books, décor, even furniture...and especially the contents of every junk drawer and cupboard. We all “live” in our homes; we have creature comforts, but sometimes the things we enjoy living with actually take away from the physical area and aesthetic of the space. This just might be the perfect opportunity to get rid of that shaggy old recliner or, better yet, the home-made side table you’ve been hanging onto since college—moving means changes and upgrades!
2. Move Things Around. Alright, you’re not ready to part with your college habitation belongings yet, I get it. So, how about you move that side table into the guest room where you’re missing a night stand. Two birds, one stone…so they say. This moving-things-around method will work with a lot of your pieces. Take a look around your house and see what spaces feel too full vs. which spaces could use a couple more pieces to define a certain “look”—sitting area, reading nook, kids’ toy center. You want potential buyers to walk into your home and feel like they need to live there; you want them to want to live in this magical, well-curated space.
3. Get Rid of the Red. Or Purple, or Green, or whatever fabulous color that you love and have painted on all your walls. I will admit this is the one thing I will have to fix in a lot of the areas of our home when we decide to list it. Our space is very personalized (i.e. I have an entire wall with the lyrics from The Cranberries Dreams painted on it); you want to love the space you live in—I love to style homes too, but that’s for another day. Not everyone is going to share your love of color, texture…pizzazz…so you’re probably going to need to paint some walls, cupboards…or cover your beloved lyric wall. ::sigh:: Choose a nice, neutral color that will be the perfect back drop to any potential buyers’ belongings.
4. De-personalize. One of the hardest parts of selling your house is making it a place in which everyone can picture themselves, instead of it being a personal expression of yourself. Not only will you have eliminated the little spaces you love the most—your favorite reading nook, with all of your books, 7 pairs of reading glasses, a coffee cup that never leaves—but you will also need to lose all traces of “you” actually living there. You will need to take down and pack for your next home: family photos, personal art pieces, trophies, or your collection of 1950’s bake-ware (oh wait, that’s in my house). Just like the other steps, anything that would cloud a potential buyer’s vision for your space, needs to be stored away.
Alright, I’ve given you the basic steps of staging…although, there are many more things you can do to maximize your home’s potential for resale. Now, how does all of this help you to keep your house clean-at-the-ready for showings? Just imagine your house, free of knick-knacks, clutter, the 70 pairs of shoes you’re in denial about in your closet, the 17 bottles of half-used cleaning products under every sink, all those pictures you’ve lovingly framed and hung on the wall going upstairs. Can you see it? How a quick trip through the house with a duster, a vacuum, and possibly a wet wipe, will have your space spic-and-span (get it?) for potential buyers. You will hardly have to pick anything up before hand, save maybe just making your bed and a quick stash of toys; your house will be ready and waiting when it’s time to show—nearly stress-free.
The benefits of staging your home almost make it seem like we should live like this all the time—almost.