5 Steps to Staging Your Home to Sell For Top Dollar

February 26, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

abbyThis past week I went to a continuing education class at Chicago Title where HGTV Design Star, Abby Vasek, spoke to a small group of Realtors on the ins and outs of staging a home before putting it on the market. WOW, was it eye opening! In two hours I learned how to get my listings ready for the market, design trends for 2015, cutting edge design tricks, local vendors to expedite the process and even a bit of coaching on how to elevate my business and myself.

Staging Basics:

  1. Declutter/Edit: If your home is anything like mine, you may have a bunch of stuff everywhere. Now just because it’s beautiful stuff or sentimental stuff, it’s still stuff, and it can be distracting to potential buyers. Anything from picture frames, memorabilia from travels, books, art, appliances, etc. can be extremely distracting. Anything personal, including family photos, makes it hard for the buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. Even appliances on the kitchen counter or toiletries in the bathroom, although very functional, can make countertops seem small and bring up concerns of not enough storage. Almost like a vacation rental, you want potential buyers to feel as though they could move right in and start visualizing where their things would go.
  2. Clean, Renew, Repair: Once you’ve edited your space, you need to put it through a deep clean. It is really important to hire a professional cleaner who will scrub cabinets, baseboards, crown molding, etc. and make your home shine! As much as our sellers want to save money to do this themselves, it can be really hard to see our own dirt! What may seem like a thorough cleaning to the homeowner may not cut it for a buyer. We have great resources and can help you hire someone who has done make-ready cleaning before. It is also important to fix anything that is broken, scratched or damaged.
  3. Lighten and Brighten:
    • Paint: It is amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do to the interior and exterior of a home. Hiring a professional to pick the latest and greatest paint colors can add serious appeal to your home. We recently put a home on the market that had a state house character so we repainted the entire house with high-end gorgeous paint colors similar to the ones in the White House. You cannot believe the transformation of the look and feel of the home with just the right paint! Most of the time we see too many paint colors in one house, and simply unifying the pain colors to two or three makes the home seem more fluid and transitional. Also, repainting the baseboards, windows, moldings and cabinets can make homes look brand new! We have a great paint crew who can do the work reasonably.
    • Windows: Taking down drapes that conceal the natural light can really brighten up a home. Replace drapery high and wide to make windows appear larger. Take the drapes all the way up to the base of the crown molding and only allow no more than 1 inch covering the side of the window. For a more dramatic look, take drapes further outside the window to make the window seem much wider. When buying drapes, look for back tapped drapery that unifies the folds in the drapery similar to a hotel.
    • Mirrors: Mirrors have the potential to really expand a room and give it more natural light. Place a mirror directly across from the window to reflect the natural light and open up the room. Also, placing them in the entry way or above the mantle can add drama to the space. Mirrors are a great affordable option to enhance your space.
    • Fixtures: Updating a fixture can change the entire dynamic of the home. If you want to make a downtown condo feel hip, add a fun industrial fixture. You can even use rustolium spray paint over old exterior fixtures to make them look new. Create a dining room space by adding a light fixture in an open room over where a dining table could go. Replace bulbs to make rooms brighter or add can lights in darker rooms or hallways.
    • Plants: A tall palm in the entry way or the corner of a room can make the ceilings seem higher and add life to a vacant home or empty room. Bringing nature indoors make buyers feel more relaxed in the space.
  4. Function and Potential: Show buyers the potential use of the room. If you have a small room that can be used as a bedroom, show the buyer by putting a large bed, two bedside tables and dresser to show them how much the room can fit. It doesn’t matter if you used it as a study; show them the potential of the room. Create a focal point in every room. When the buyer walks down the hall and looks into the room, is there something that catches their eye that will bring them into the room? A painting is a great focal point to add to a room, or using a structural design focal point such as a fireplace allows the buyer to move toward one object without their eyes darting all around the room. From that focal point, everything in the room should be placed accordingly, for example, furniture and rugs. Rugs define your space and can show the buyer how large a room is.
  5. Curb Appeal: This is the most important area to stage because it is the buyers’ first impression of the home. Make sure the front landscaping is well kept and trimmed. Add flowers to attract the buyers’ eye and add a pop of color. Paint the front door a bright, memorable color or replace with a brand new door. Add new hardware letters. The entryway sets the stage and the mood for the buyer before they enter the house.

Buyers buy based on emotion. Pricing, floor plan, location school district, etc. may get them out to come see the house and put it in the running, but once they are in the house, their emotions take over. Staging gets the buyer in the place where they become emotionally attached to the home and will do whatever it takes to get it. It creates the WOW factor when they walk in the door. They are able to imagine themselves in the home and are already mentally moving in.

Is your home vacant? Fill the space by adding music during your showings. Put a palm tree in the entryway. Add a candle or diffuser without a strong scent, for example, pine, mint or citrus. Rent furniture to give the buyer an idea of function and potential. Hire stagers who may have their own furniture to use while your home is on the market.

However, don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own! Every listing with West Austin Properties includes a complementary home staging consultation. Our stager is a designer certified in helping our sellers transform their home using items they already own and highlighting features of their home either structurally, or by rearranging furniture and adding a few props. Each consultation also includes a color consultation where our stager will go over wall color and additional action items to get the home ready for the market. By using a stager, we are able to maximize the value of the home and connect our sellers with reliable vendors who can make the process easy and affordable. Having our own preferred vendor list enables us to negotiate lower rates for our sellers.

Another benefit of using a stager is being able to market the home on certified stager websites. Stagedhomes.com, RESA.com, and HSR.com are a few of the websites where professionally staged homes are marketed. If you still need convincing on whether or not a stager is beneficial, these websites are also a great resource for before and after photos!

Posted by Katy Freshour, REALTOR, West Austin Properties, 3312 River Road, Austin, Texas 78703, katyfreshour@gmail.com

About Katy

I am a 4th generation Austinite and a 3rd generation REALTOR with West Austin Properties. I specialize in buyer representation and would love to help you buy, sell or lease a home! Contact me for any of your real estate needs at Katy@WestAustin.com!