Getting ready to sell your house is no easy task…especially if it’s the home where you raised your children. Family photographs, handmade magnets from children (and maybe even grandchildren), and mementos from all those vacations to Hawaii have taken over every wall, refrigerator, shelf, and table in the house. Decluttering those surfaces will help make the selling (and cleaning) process easier, which will allow you to tackle one of the most important tasks…staging.
You might understand the concepts of staging your home (who doesn’t want their house to look good when they sell it?), but being able to walk through your home with a “buyer’s eye” takes some work. Think of your house as a hotel, then take away 50 percent of the visible items…including furniture! Buyers want to see “space”…space will showcase the house rather than its contents. You’re not trying to sell that 1972 wicker bookcase; you’re selling your living space. If you think of your home as a luxury hotel, you’ll be able to pick out which items in your home that need to go. Everything in a hotel room is all that you need with no unnecessary items cluttering up the space.
There are challenges to the “hotel test”. Your home may be outdated by today’s sleek, modern standards. You have three choices: embrace it, conceal it, or eliminate it. The National Association of Realtors has outlined three examples of potential challenges.
SOLUTION: Go retro! (Embrace it!) The ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s (heck, even the ‘80s…without the big hair) are back in fashion! And if your house is a “hodge-podge of multiple decades”, pick one and work with it. Remove the wallpaper borders ala 1990s, get rid of those dusty blue and mauve valances, and the oversized glass coffee table from the 1980s. Replace dated or faded lampshades, remove the numerous tchotchkes in favor of larger retro pieces, buy new throw pillows or cover existing ones, and use slipcovers on outdated, worn furniture.
PROBLEM 2: Your 1980s house has a strange layout with awkward areas and too-small bedrooms.
SOLUTION: Create fantasy spaces in the home! (Conceal it!) The bedroom that worked for your kids is too small. Consider turning it into an exercise room, a library/reading nook, or a sewing room. Create an ambience for the house to help buyers imagine what they can do with these new spaces.
SOLUTION: Quit shoving things to the walls! (Eliminate it!) In the living and family rooms, remove extraneous pieces of the furniture, then pull key pieces (e.g. sofa, lounge chair, coffee table) away from the wall to create an attractive area for conversation and use.
If you want to pass the test in this class, spend the night in a luxury hotel (or at least look at photos of the rooms on the hotel’s website) and hopefully you’ll be on your way to an A+ in staging!