Organization Is the Backbone – Staging a House for Sale

A good organization system is invaluable in any household – but you can live without it in your day to day life if you choose to. However, when your house is listed for sale you absolutely must organize every space in the home. If you skip this step in staging your house for sale it could cost you money at closing with a lower offer or cause buyers to pass on your house altogether.

Organization can be elusive. People have the best intentions of getting and staying organized. They go out and buy boxes and baskets and promise themselves they are going to use them from here on out. And sometimes they do – but more often than not – it doesn’t work out that way. Most commonly these people end up with boxes and baskets full of stuff – and more stuff everywhere else. This is fine for everyday life, but when the house is listed for sale it just won’t do.

One of many reasons it is so difficult to live in a house while it is listed for sale: All areas of your home simply must be well organized while the house is listed. Why? Because buyers are curious (nosy) and rightfully so.

When a potential buyer decides to visit your house in person there are so many obstacles to overcome to even get them through the door. Do the online photos look great? Is the house priced right? Is the curb appeal great? Does anything smell funky from the front walk?

When you actually get them into the house you are solidly in the game. You have overcome all the initial obstacles to selling your house to these particular people. These just might be your buyers so don’t blow it with “behind the scenes” chaos.

Behind the scenes chaos occurs when a house looks good on the surface, but underneath the clean windows, great furniture arrangement, and strategically placed lighting there is disorganized space. Cabinets, drawers, built-ins, and closets have a huge impact on the buying decision. If buyers cannot easily see how their things will work in the space they will emotionally disconnect from the house. You do not want this disconnect to happen. It is the buyer’s emotional connection to a house that brings the best offer. Chaos disconnect causes them to want to leave the house – not buy a home.

Buyers are a nosy bunch – and rightfully so. They want to inspect every space they are considering for purchase. Wouldn’t you? Buying a home is most often the largest purchase people make in their life time. They need to feel confident in making an offer. They need to feel connected to a home to be willing to pay for it.

They need to see every single inch of space the house has to offer. This includes every built in drawer, cabinet, and closet in the house. Every. One. Of. Them. It is reasonable to think buyers will not be opening drawers and cabinets in furniture pieces that will not be included in the sale of a house – but don’t count on it. No realtor can be in every room at every time. Drawers will be opened, inspected, and judged. Keep this in mind.

Even the most beautiful staging in every room of a house is blown by closets or cabinets crammed full of disaster. If you have stuff just thrown about in any space, large or small, it tells a buyer there is not enough storage space in this house to live in peace. Buyers don’t necessarily hear the chaos clearly or in those words, but they will strongly feel the discord in the space. They will “feel” a reason to pass on the property or to make a low offer because they don’t feel there is enough storage space. They may move on to the next house because they believe their things will never fit in this one.

Your de-cluttering process should have helped you pare down to only those things that bring you joy or that you really need. The next step is to organize the things that stay in the best way possible so that it brings you and, more importantly, your buyers a sense of peace.

Buyers are willing to pay for spaces that they can envision living calm and peaceful lives in. They want to think that if they lived in your beautiful organized house they would have the calm and peaceful life they aspire to. They believe they will be able to find their car keys, sunglasses, and cell phone at all times.

Organized spaces are the “bones” that hold up the quality seen in a staged home. Without organization even the best staged room doesn’t hold up to a buyer’s inspection.

When staging your house to sell make sure you organize every space as part of your process because you know buyers are going to look everywhere! You will be glad you took the time on closing day with cash in the bank!

How To Stage Your Home For A Quick Sale

Selling your house can be a tiresome process. People traipsing through the house at inconvenient times. Always having to keep the house clean. General disruption to your families schedule. Most anyone who has ever tried to sell a house will agree that the quicker you can get it sold the better!

One important aspect of making your home attractive to buyers is to make is so that the buyer can picture himself living in the home. This home staging I soften done by professionals that your real estate agent will help you hire. Staging a home can bring you a much higher selling price. A home staging professional can be hired to tour your home and direct you to make the changes that will increase your homes marketability. If you do hire a stager, always make sure the stager you hire is accredited.

Now, you may be thinking that you just redecorated so your house must be perfect, but staging a home is not redecorating it. Redecorating a home focuses on the seller and their personality. Staging focuses on the buyer. It provides the current home owner with the knowledge to rearrange the furnishings, pictures, accessories, etc. in the best possible manner to enhance the rooms function, appearance and balance.

Sellers are attached to their homes and may not realize how their treasured mementos might look like clutter to someone outside the family. Many times, sellers don’t want to pack away their family things foer viewings, and this can really affect the sale of your house. Real Estate agents will often hire a stager as part of the selling package because they may be uncomfortable disclosing to the seller that their home needs work and avoid upsetting them.

A staging professional works things from the buyers perspective in order to help the buyer see themselves and their belongings fit into the home they are viewing. They do this by rearranging the home to appeal to a broad base of purchasers. Stagers can be expensive, so if you want to go it alone please follow the tips below.

The first thing you must do is unclutter your house. You will have to try to look at your house with new eyes – many times we are so used to the clutter that we block it out! Go through each room and remove any clutter you see. Organize toys in decorative boxes that are hidden away in a storage room (perhaps a room for storage in the basement). You can always take them out again when you don’t have any booked showings. Bookcases should be neat and attractive interspersed with a few ornaments. Closets should be cleaned out so that only clothes are visible. Remove storage at top and bottom of closets. Place clothes out of season in storage.In fact, place any clutter you have found in storage as well. You have to move anyway and you will have to pack less later when you do move!

Lighting is important so make sure the rooms are well lit, provide some nice ambient lighting with lamps and avoid bright glaring fluorescent overhead lights. The foyer provides the buyer with the first impression. It should be clean, uncluttered, bright and inviting. If any rooms are dull brighten them up with higher wattage bulbs in lamps.

You want the buyer to picture themselves living in the home so you should remove all your personal photos and replace them with prints or other decorations. You want the buyer to focus on your home, not your personal life. This can be distracting.

A fresh coat of paint is mandatory. Paint your home in a neutral color but don’t make it too dull. Tans, sages, and beige are good colors. You can add some interest with colored accessories, pillows, throw rugs, candles, etc.

Bathrooms should be sparkling! Counters should be clear with no personal items visible. Tub tile grout should be clean and shower curtains and glass shower doors should be free of mildew. Hang fluffy, colorful towels on the towel rods. Put out decorative soaps in cute containers. Buy a new shower curtain and rug for the floor.

The kitchen is a key selling point in your home and must be spotless. Remove all notes, magnets, etc.off the front of the fridge. Keep counter space clean and clear of all items. Clean out under the sinks and organize the pantry and cupboards. Paint outdated cupboards with a neutral color and put new modern knobs on doors for a fresh look. Dishes on the floor for pet food should be eliminated during a showing.

Make your furniture look cozy, but don’t put too much in one room. Leave space between pieces and remove nick knacks. Your most attractive piece of furniture should be placed on the wall you see when you enter a room if possible. Put all your CD’s and videos away out of sight. Hang pictures at eye level or in geometric shaped groupings. Group accessories in odd numbers (one, three or five).Fireplace mantles should be depersonalized by removing pictures. A flower arrangement, mantle clock or piece of art would be appropriate here.

Curb appeal is important and the buyers first impression of your house will be from the outside. Garages and front and back yards should be cleaned and well trimmed. Put away any toys that are laying around in the yard. Plant flowers or shrubs in the yard for a welcoming effect. Prune any shrubs you may already have. Clean the pool if you have one. The lawn should be cut and watered to give the home a well cared for look. A coat of paint on the outside of the house may also be in order.

When someone is coming over for a showing make sure the house is spotless. Turn on the table lamps for ambient lighting. Play some soft music for ambiance. Spray a little bit of air freshener before hand to give the house a nice smell – not too much or it might look like you are covering up an odor! Try putting some vases of fresh flowers on the tables for added appeal.

Not everyone can afford a stager, but it is well worth the money and could pay for itself and then some with a higher sale price!

Staging Your Home For a Quicker Sale and More Money

Staging your home is Marketing 101. You want your house to stand out from everyone else’s. Staged homes sell faster and for more money. So, consider the small expense of staging to be an investment, not a cost. Many realtors stage homes for their clients by suggesting that they repaint, remove window treatments, and get rid of clutter. Effective staging, however, involves much more than that. It’s selecting the right “props,” getting rid of furniture and other items that make the space look cluttered and smaller. It’s also about adding finishing touches that produce an appealing look and creating focal points in the main living areas.

A properly staged home shows the home’s possibilities and potential, creates an inviting space to inspire potential buyers, and generates a mood befitting the home (inside and outside).

Remember… First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

Potential buyers will size up your home before they even enter. If your home lacks curb appeal, many prospective buyers will reject it without looking further or will try to lowball you on price. Here are a few tips to turn browsers into buyers:

• Paint the house if paint is peeling or looking dull.

• Display easy-to-read house numbers.

• Mow the lawn and trim the shrubs.

• Wash the windows.

• Power wash siding and walkways.

• Make any repairs that make the outside of the house look unappealing.

• Be sure the doorbell works.

• Select a doormat that compliments the architecture and color of your house. (One that says Welcome” works, but monograms and team doormats don’t).

• Remove garbage bins and anything else that may be unsightly. (As obvious as that sounds, I’ve seen that many times.)

Sure the Foyer is Appealing

The foyer is the first space potential buyer will see once they enter your home. Add color through artwork, place fresh/silk flowers, or a table lamp on a hall table, and lay a gorgeous area rug down to add warmth and interest. Don’t forget scent. Have a dish with potpourri or lay an incense stick on the ledge over the door trim. If you don’t have a foyer, you can create a sense of entrance by placing an interesting chair or small table near the front door.

Get Rid of the Clutter

Once you decide to sell your home, it’s really no longer your home. Think of it as a commodity. Get rid of the clutter. The major contributors to a cluttered look are too much furniture, too many knickknacks, too many family photos, too many items on the walls, and too many things on the refrigerator door. Take a hard look at what you have, and ask yourself what you can live without. You can always rent temporary storage for large items you need to remove but will want to use in your next dwelling. And if you won’t use those items, discard them. There are many organizations that will be glad to get them.

Add Some Interesting, Colorful Accessories

This doesn’t contradict removing clutter. For example, after you’ve removed the small appliances, canister set, and recipe books from your countertops, place a colorful bowl of fruit on the center island, put a place setting at the table or counter, or place some colorful bottles of cooking oil with a cookbook on a bookstand. This will make the kitchen look like a cozy place to gather.

Play Musical Chairs

Consider moving furniture, artwork, and accessories into other rooms. Just because you bought that armchair for the family room doesn’t mean it won’t look great anchoring a sitting area in your bedroom. And the hope chest at the foot of your bed may make a lovely piece in a hallway or foyer. Try refinishing the piece to give it a fresh, new look.

Make Your Dining Room Appear Larger

Remove a leaf and use fewer chairs to make the dining room look larger. Consider putting a colorful runner on the table but not a table cloth (which will make the room appear smaller). And if you have nice hardwood flooring, show it off instead of having an area rug.

Paint for Larger-Looking Rooms

If you want to make a room appear larger, paint it the same color as the adjacent rooms. This creates a seamless look that will give the illusion of both rooms feeling like one larger space. For an even greater illusion, paint your walls the same color as your window treatment. Also, remove all the wallpaper.

Make Sure Each Room is Well Lit

Many homes have improper lighting, making them cold and unwelcoming. Increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures, and use dimmers. Don’t depend on just one or two fixtures per room. Try to have a variety of lighting in each room: ambient lighting (overhead), task lighting (under cabinets or reading), and accent lighting (on tables and walls.) And when your house is being shown, make sure all the lights are on. This is especially true if you don’t have natural sunlight streaming in.

Raid Your Yard

Nicely staged homes usually have fresh flowers. Instead of buying them, pick them from your yard. Forsythias come out in the spring and make a cheery arrangement in a vase. Blazing fall foliage can warm up your d├ęcor on a chilly fall day. And holly branches (heavy with berries) will add holiday spirit during the cold winter months.

In conclusion… When potential buyers can see their family and friends lounging in the family room, relaxing and watching television, or sitting around for a candlelight dinner, they’ll think they found the holy grail. The next thing you’ll see on your front lawn is a sign that reads SOLD.