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home staging tips

Simplify, Restore, Refresh: A Realtors Guide on Home Staging for Sellers

Guest post on home staging tips by Scott Moreau from Great Island Realty

When you’re in a home for long enough, some items around the house end up becoming just another part of the landscape. Maybe you have a basket on the kitchen counter that gathers all those unwanted mailers, coupons and credit card offers. Maybe you have a closet overflowing with shoes and jackets and who knows else what.

After a while, these things just become part of your every day living situation. This is completely normal. After all, it’s your place and you can do what you want. But what happens when your place no longer becomes “your place” any longer?

Most homeowners fail to realize that the second your home becomes listed, it’s no longer your home. The truth is the second prospective buyers come walking through the door your house belongs to them. As such, your home should become as close to a blank canvas as possible—uncluttered and free of most all personal touches. While this may seem far fetched, following three simple tips for staging a house for sale can make all the difference in how your home is perceived by prospective buyers.

Simplify

You want each buyer to look at this house as if it’s already theirs. They want to have a clear path to visualize where they’re going to put all of their things. Your greatest task is to neutralize the home in as many ways as you can. The best way to neutralize your home is to simplify it.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

You took the kids to Disney last year. They had the time of their life and you have overpriced photos to prove it. You have proudly placed them on the mantle as a talking point for your guests. Unfortunately, because these photos are above the fireplace, the buyer can’t see anywhere to put his well deserved softball state championship trophies. Additionally, the buyer is also getting a constant reminder that they’re walking through someone else’s house. So, keep the personal stuff to a minimum. Simplify.

Restore

When you moved in, you wanted to make a splash, so you decided to paint the rooms various colors so you could hunker down in a specific room based on your mood du jour. You thought it was a great idea, and it probably was—for you.

However, what you’ve really ended up doing is limiting the buying pool due to your eccentric tastes. The best thing for you to do is restore it back to factory settings. A buyer is going to walk in thinking about all of the things that they’re going to do with it. It’s much easier to do when all walls are a soft, neutral color. After all, is it easier to visualize a space when it resembles that of a blank sheet of paper or when it completely personalized to someone else’s preferences.

Here’s a few examples of home staging tips that can help you restore your home in anticipation of a showing:

  • Put small appliances in the cabinets under the counter.
  • Keep the clutter to a minimum. Remember the basket I mentioned earlier? Hide in on the top shelf of the closet.
  • Move larger furniture into storage, but only if you’re feeling especially feisty.

If anything, make sure you look around your place and make a concerted effort to see every item individually, rather than as a part of the room. You’ll find most items can be put in the basement for the next 6 weeks as your home is being sold and you wouldn’t even miss them. All the while, these things are making your home feel smaller and decreasing your value and desirability.

Refresh

The last home staging tips involves getting outside and having a look around. You can’t get a sale without the buyer having a look inside the house, and the same definitely applies to someone seeing the outside of your home—after all it is the first thing a prospective buyer will see.

How you keep the exterior of your house is considered a strong indicator of how you keep the inside. After all, if you’re not maintaining your lawn and arborvitaes, how can one reasonably expect that you’re meticulous enough to maintain your furnace and water systems?

While some of the home staging tips mentioned above may involve a small investment in time, you don’t need the $3,000 to stage a home, as HGTV would suggest. In some cases, you may not need to spend any money at all. Sometimes, all you need is an open mind and willingness to be a bit uncomfortable to accomplish the ultimate goal. It’s worth it.

Scott Moreau is a Realtor licensed in NH and ME. He has been an agent for 5 years. To view his full bio, please click here.

Roger is an owner and licensed Loan Officer at the Blue Water Mortgage office in Hampton, NH. Roger graduated from the University of New Hampshire Whittemore School of Business and has been in the mortgage industry for over 20 years. Roger has originated over 2500 residential loans and is licensed in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut and Florida.