What to do When Your Home Won’t Sell
Is Now The Time To Sell?
10 Tips To Help Sell Your Home That Won’t Break The Bank
How To Determine Price
Preparing Your Home For Sale
For Sale By Owner Or With Agent?
Must Do Repairs Prior To Sale
Finding Hidden Buyers
Staging Your Home
Making Your Home Irresistible
Negotiating Tips For Sellers
10 Don'ts In Selling Your Home
What is a Short Sale?
Unable To Move Up? Raise The Roof


Staging Your Home

If you're trying to sell your home, you've probably already heard about "home staging," a term applied to creating an environment that helps potential purchasers envision living in your home. While it's often done to new homes or those where the owner has already moved out, it can also be done to occupied homes. The purpose of staging, of course, is to create appeal; and, quite honestly, some homeowners are more gifted than others in that area. If you're not one of the gifted ones-and you may not know whether or not you are-ask for guidance. If you are using an agent, ask their opinion, or ask friends. If you need help, visit a few model homes. You can get some great ideas there. Make notes of what you see in each room. You'll be surprised at how the accessories differ from what we actually use in our daily lives, but decorated models sell homes. Take advantage of what builders and decorators have learned.

I'm assuming that you've already done everything on the "Preparing Your Home For Sale" list. If so, there are a few simple tips that can change a plain, uninviting home into one that gets a positive reaction from potential buyers. I have listed several inexpensive things that can easily be done:

The exterior and front door must be inviting, and the entrance area must be clean, and freshly painted. Paint or replace the front door if necessary. If the lock or entrance handle doesn't look new, replace it. Place colorful potted plants at the front entrance. If buyers are turned off before they enter, it's almost impossible to turn them on again.

The first impression you want buyers to have is one of cleanliness. Hardwood floors must be free from all dust and should be polished. If there is furniture, it should also be clean and polished. But make sure the foyer doesn't feel crowded. Remember, prospective buyers may be accompanied by agents, family, or friends, and they will pause in the entrance area. Make sure there is sufficient room. Remove unnecessary furniture and replace it with a live plant if that seems appropriate.

A kitchen can sell a home, but it must be great. If you have visited decorated model homes, you'll notice that they never have appliances on the kitchen counter, and there's a good reason for that. The room looks bigger and better! Put away the coffee maker, blender, toaster, etc. after each use. Sure it's a bit of a hassle, but you're going for "Best in Class," and you won't be if you're not willing to make a few small sacrifices.

NEVER leave dirty dishes, towels, or food in view. Your kitchen must always be ready for the unexpected prospect that could show up with little notice. Clean out the cabinets and pantry. If you find things you haven't used in a year, you're probably not going to use them. Donate or sell them. Buyers need to feel that their stuff will fit in your space. When it's cluttered, you lose.

If you have an "eat-in kitchen" set the table or bar with nice dishes and linen napkins. Place fresh flowers or a suitable arrangement-but not so large that it overpowers the area. A setting for two is sufficient unless you have an oversized table, and if you do, make certain it's properly sized for the area. Every room must convey "spaciousness." Rent a storage facility or borrow a friend's basement if necessary. An interesting bottle of wine, napkin, and a couple of glasses can generate an emotional tone that conveys serenity. If you do use wine, don't use something cheap. Select a bottle with an attractive label.

It's critical that the kitchen feel spacious and inviting. With a little work, you can make a small, average kitchen appear larger and more appealing.

The dining room table and chairs must be clean and the table surface should be polished to a brilliant shine. Once again, you must generate a feeling of spaciousness. Remove any furniture that keeps the room from feeling large. The chandelier should be sparkling clean and any missing or burned-out bulbs must be replaced.

Set the table for four with your finest china, crystal, and linen napkins. If you don't have something appropriate, borrow it. Add a tasteful centerpiece, but not too large or too tall. Sit at the table and make sure your imaginary guests could see each other with the centerpiece in place.

The first impression of the master suite comes at the doorway. How does it look? If the room is cluttered or crowded with too much furniture, remove some. Nightstands should contain a lamp and alarm clock only. If there is a phone, tissue, or medicines, put them away. If there is sufficient space, a small vase with one or two roses is nice, and perhaps one attractive book, but nothing more.

Does the room feel light and fresh? If there are heavy drapes or window coverings, consider changing them to something that will allow in more light. Walk to the window and check out the view; it's one of the first things a prospective buyer will do. Is the view obstructed or unattractive? Do whatever is possible to improve it-trimming shrubs or trees, moving trash cans, dog houses, play equipment, etc. Remember, the master bedroom should convey a feeling of security and be an enclave of privacy.

The bed covering should be new or appear so and the bed should always be neatly made. Some extra decorative pillows can accomplish a lot for only a small investment. Rugs, carpet, and all flooring must be clean and attractive.

Next check the master closet. A couple of hours spent here can pay huge dividends. Neatness counts! Donate all clothing that is not being used. Prospects will want to feel that the closet will accommodate their clothes. Create some empty space. Three or four pairs of shoes for each of you is enough. Store the others.

For most buyers, the master bath is next to the kitchen in importance. Spend some time making it clean, neat, and sexy. Tile, tubs and showers, counters, and fixtures should sparkle. If you have wallpaper, unless it is simple and reasonably new, consider removing or painting over it. Most bath wallpaper dates a house and makes it look old and dreary.

Clear the counter of all cosmetics, and all the items you normally use in the morning, except for a bottle or two of nice perfume or moisturizer. A nice decorative tissue holder, a candle, a small vase and flower arrangement should be the only other things left in sight.

If you have a garden or jetted tub, add some sex appeal. Place a nice bottle of bath oil, a couple of candles, and an attractive towel at the ends of the tub or on the tub deck. Some tasteful artwork on the walls can help to create a feeling that the bath is more than just functional; it is a private escape from the stresses of the day.

Never leave towels or wash cloths hanging to dry, and clothes hampers should be out of sight. Place new towels on towel bars, and, of course, don't use them.

In most homes the family room is generally neglected. It's a room where the family goes to relax, read, play, or watch TV. Unfortunately, that means that it's cluttered with books, magazines, toys, tapes and DVDs. Most have too much furniture, unsightly jumbles of electronic equipment and TVs, and are frequently too dark. While a new owner probably lives in a similar fashion, theirs is different, and they will be turned off by yours. Make it neat, uncluttered, and easy to navigate. If the room feels like an obstacle course, it is. Remove extra furniture, with nothing left on coffee or end tables other than lamps and one or two books. A nice dried flower arrangement on a coffee table is all that is necessary.

Generally one of the most cluttered rooms in a home, the office is where we accumulate the "stuff" that we'll attend to later. Computers, related equipment, and the wiring that connects it all are often unattractive, hazardous, and awkward. Piles of books, periodicals, and bills are both unsightly and distract prospective buyers. Clear your desk with only a few items showing. Bundle cables and wiring and run it as neatly as possible. It's better for the room to appear sparsely furnished than to have too much furniture. If the room appears a little too bare, add a medium sized potted plant.

Most garages are unkempt, need painting, and are collection places for junk. Clean it up, throwing away or donating anything you don't use. Store the rest away from your home. If you've already begun packing for your move, don't put the boxes in your garage; and don't put the extra stuff you just moved out of your house. Prospective buyers need to envision a space for their junk. If your garage is full, it won't appear large enough.

Consider painting the floor. It's much easier to keep clean and will look great. If there is a work bench, remove any tools or projects stored on top. A neatly maintained pegboard or cabinet should be used for all tools and equipment. While the kitchen and baths generally appeal more to women, a super clean and neat garage appeals to both sexes.

Finally, if your home is unoccupied, that is, without furniture, you can create vignettes in a few places to cultivate an environment that is less cold. It's not necessary to purchase a lot of expensive furniture to do this. A small budget can accomplish all that is necessary.

The objective is to attract a buyer. Tasteful staging can be done with little expense and can pay huge dividends, and it may be helpful to consult a professional stager. Whether you choose to do it yourself or to use the services of a professional, the cost is small when compared to additional months of payments. It's a decision that must be made individually, but if you only use the above tips, you will dramatically improve your chances of finding that one purchaser you need.


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