I wrote the following article on home staging for the summer issue of NorthBank Magazine. Hope you find it useful.
Staying put? Stage your home for yourself!
“Why did I wait till I was selling the house to fix it up? Now it looks so great I hate to leave.” It’s sad, but almost every time I stage a home for sale the home-owner says something like this when we’re done.
Why give all the pleasures of an attractive home to future strangers? You could be enjoying them today in the home you intend to keep. After all, who deserves a welcoming and attractive living environment more than you?
The “Stayging” Process
1. Start by imagining you’re putting your house on the market. The first thing a realtor would do is a walk-thru with you, pointing out the things that will turn off potential buyers – the dying shrub by the front door, the chipped paint on the woodwork, the cluttered countertops, the faded living room draperies, the stuffed closets. On and on.
2. Get help from a neutral party. Recognize that you may be blind to some of your home’s faults and ask a trusted friend (hopefully with a good eye) to do the walk-thru with you, helping you create a list of problem areas to address. Ask them to look not only for eyesores, but also for positive features that could be played up (or revealed, if they’re lost in clutter).
3. Declutter. It’s highly likely you’ve got too much stuff. Until you do some serious weeding out, your home’s best features may remain hidden. Most realtors suggest you get rid of at least 30% of it (furniture included) to give the home an open feeling that allows the energy to flow. Honestly, you will not miss these things.
4. Make the necessary fixes. You know you’ve been meaning to replace the ripped screen door for years. Do it now. Patch and paint the woodwork. If you don’t want to do the work yourself, hire a handyman. And get rid of those tired towels and the gungy shower curtain – new ones are cheap and cheery.
6. Get your sparkle on. Wash your windows inside and out. Whisk the dust off your baseboards then wash them with a damp soapy rag, using a toothbrush in the corners if necessary to clear out accumulated dirt. Ditto around your bathroom fixtures and faucets. Really.
5. Finally, ratchet up your curb appeal with the color and beauty of healthy plants by the front door. Wouldn’t you love to be greeted this way every day?