Success in Home Staging

For the Hart & Olive team, success can be measured in its ability to connect buyers and sellers in a way that makes both of their dreams come true. Whether looking for a new home or selling an existing home, first impressions are one of the most important factors in achieving that goal. For sellers, home staging is often met with trepidation and worry that it will be too overwhelming or too expensive, yet properly staging a home can maximize its sale potential.
What is Home Staging? Simply put, staging means “setting the stage” for potential buyers. It can range from a quick decluttering to rearranging furniture to a total renovation - all geared to raise the home to its most appealing visual level. For any home approaching the market, there is a need for staging. Time and budget are often the primary factors in just how much will be invested in the process.

  • Declutter: The first of two must-do staging efforts involves removing all but the necessary items from rooms. This ranges from excess furniture, decorations, and any personal items. The idea is to open up your home’s sight lines while removing pieces that will remind potential buyers that the home currently belongs to someone else. The effect of decluttering gives buyers the ability to visualize their own pieces in the space without distraction.
  • Clean: The second essential step in staging is cleaning. Potential buyers will be turned off if a home appears unkempt. With surfaces now decluttered, wipe down walls, counters, windows, and appliances. Leave a few minutes to vacuum prior to each showing. Keep a lidded, large bin handy to collect personal items from counters to quickly stow, out of sight, before each showing. Install a diffuser to disperse a neutral scent such as vanilla or sandalwood to give your home a welcoming feel.
  • Put on a Fresh Coat: Many homeowners don’t even notice that walls have become drab or outdated until a fresh coat of paint is applied. For sellers working on a tight budget, focus painting on any accent walls with pops of colors specific to taste. Purchase paint in bulk, opting for a neutral color in the beige, gray, or white families. This will create a blank palette for potential buyers, visually enlarging rooms!
  • Natural Knick-Knacks: Plants are a great way to add interest to a tour of the home without disrupting the buyer's ability to imagine living there. Select larger plants for the living room or entryway and add smaller ones to tables, shelves, or windowsills. And, if a picky plant thrives in front of a favorite window, leave it as a welcoming gift for your buyer.
  • Update the Highlights: Before putting a home on the market, check all lights to ensure they are working properly. Potential buyers may be turned off if a light switch does not yield results as they won’t know if there is an electrical issue or simply a burned-out bulb. Check your home for dim spaces, such as corners that aren’t close to a window, and add a table or floor lamp to bring it to life. Curtains and blinds should also take a trip through the washer, rehung, and left open for showings to allow natural light into the home.
  • Furniture Matters: Even furniture can change the feel of a home, depending on its placement. Oversized pieces can make a room feel cramped and items placed within natural traffic lines can take away a welcoming flow. Move furniture away from the walls to trick the eye into seeing a more expansive room. Create activity areas, such as the perfect conversation area or a corner reading nook. Remember: furniture placement should reflect the seller’s daily life but instead offer the buyer a variety of ideas for their future.
  • Showoff Specialties: If a home has a clear “best feature,” highlight it. A beautiful view should not be hidden behind thick curtains. High ceilings should not be missed because eyes are drawn down to trinkets specific to the seller’s taste. A gorgeous kitchen island can be showcased by emptying counters and cleaning cabinet fronts. A fireplace should highlight its room by removing debris, decluttering the mantle, and adding an adjacent sitting area.
  • Welcome Home: What will buyers encounter first when entering the home? Ensure all entry points are welcoming with a new, neutral mat (or rug) and warm lighting. Place a small table near each door to house fresh flowers or a small piece of art specific to the area. Add a scent diffuser near each entry point, offering potential buyers a multi-scent experience.
  • Curb Appeal: The exterior of the home is equally as important in the staging process as the interior. This truly is what buyers will see first and last as they attend a showing. Create a beautiful picture that will draw excitement from the minute buyers arrive. Mow the lawn regularly and trim any hedges that have become overgrown. Pull weeds from gardens and plant fresh, new flowers. Clean walkways and spruce up the mailbox. Perk up the front door with a fresh coat of paint for a clean, cared-for appearance.
Selling a home can be a daunting task and adding “home staging” to the process often overwhelms the seller. Work with your realtor to create an agreed-upon Staging Wish List that prioritizes the tasks listed above. Hart & Olive has a seasoned team ready to make this process as pleasant as possible, starting with the best ways to increase your home’s value through staging.

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