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Home Staging in the Age of Informed Buyers

Home improvement shows on TV have made for a hyper-informed public when it comes to remodeling, staging and selling. Home buyers are more aware than ever of practices that REALTORS® use when selling a home, which makes it even more important that your staging efforts are well executed and naturally-integrated into the home — but studies consistently show that home staging works. As you stage your homes, it’s important to tie up any loose ends and to highlight the home’s best features. Here are tips on effective Home Staging in the Age of Informed Buyers.

Cover the Basics First

Take advantage of low-hanging fruit. Before you get caught up in the big-ticket items, make sure you’ve taken care of the easy, obvious things. The house should be clean and uncluttered, and you should put some thought into landscaping but not pour too much money into it. As your space comes together, down the road be aware of lighting and music. You want your buyer to be able to visualize themselves in the home, which requires the home to be clean and inviting, first and foremost.

Making the Kitchen the Best it Can Be

Show off the kitchen’s countertop space by removing as many items as possible, even if they seem like kitchen essentials. The ore space the client can see the more they’ll be able to visualize themselves in the kitchen. Instead of kitchen accouterments, strategically place to colorful bouquet of flowers that makes the kitchen clean and inviting. Keep repeating this to yourself — clean and inviting.

Furniture Arrangement and Organization

HGTV offers some helpful tips with 15 Secrets to Home Staging offering photos on how to organize furniture and wall hangings, as well as color coordination to make the home appealing to potential buyers. As you organize the furniture be aware of important elements like the fireplace and windows. Avoid clutter and don’t assume that pushing furniture against the wall to create the most living room space is necessarily the way to go. Plan your furniture arrangement and keep it clean.

The Fireplace is the Thing

The fireplace is where you’ll capture the hearts of a lot of buyers. With fireplaces on buyers’ wish-lists, it’s important to highlight the positive aspects and to make the fireplace a focal point of the room. Angle furniture toward the fireplace — don’t block the fireplace — to give the space a warm, family feel. Color the wall around the fireplace to make it stand out in the room. Equally important, make sure the fireplace is clean, and remove outdated accessories and replace them with modern decorative elements.

Embrace a Home’s Quirks, When Necessary

More often than not, odd or unusual features can be historical selling points. If the home doesn’t have a fireplace, but has an old wood-burning stove, make it a clear selling point. Chances are good in an older home that the same feature will be accompanied by classic base molding or wood floors. Bring these selling points to the surface, because trying to hide them will be an obvious ploy that buyers will immediately pick up on.

Spacing on Built-in Features is Key

Built-in bookshelves, fireplaces and benches are often the most exciting features of the home, but they’re also the most likely to be cluttered with photos, books, extra pillows, etc. Space the decorations and remove knick-knacks to accentuate unique, permanent aspects of the home, and to give the appearance of greater size and balance. Order shelves both vertically and horizontally, and mix pictures with other decorative elements. Also, put the most exciting items at eye level. Speaking of pictures…

Personal Photos: to Leave or not to Leave?

The question is often whether or not to remove personal and wedding photos from a home. The answer is not necessarily black and white, but perhaps somewhere in the middle. The trick is to not overdo it, to make the house seem like a home, while still making it easy for a potential client to see it as THEIR home. The National Association of REALTORS® offered a blog post on the topic, “Personal Photos: Remove or Keep When Listing a Home for Sale?

Staging with Animals Can be a Mixed Bag

If the homeowners lives with cats, dogs or other pets, it’s important to hide the negative aspect, like litter boxes, hair and toys. However, you might be able to use dogs to your advantage. Melissa Dittmann Tracey wrote an interesting piece for REALTOR® Magazine, asking “Can You Stage the Household Dog?

Have you noticed a difference in buyer expectations of staging over the past few years? What recommendations do you have for REALTORS® in the staging process?