The Importance of Setting the Scene

By: Kim Johnson

The Importance of Setting the Scene: Staging a Home for Sale

The booming real estate market of 2006 has reached a cooling off point for most places around the United States, and for some it has gone cold. Now, more than ever, staging a home for sale can be the most important thing a seller can do. By following a few tips from the experts, a seller can increase the value of their house as well as reduce the length of time it is on the market.

Staging a home can mean the difference of thousands of dollars. The U.S. Housing and Urban Development reports that a staged home will for an average of 17 percent higher than an un-staged home. That means a house listed at $250,000 can see an increase of close to $43,000. And those who spent approximately $500 on staging increased their home's value by an average of $1,715. Since most homeowners have difficulty seeing their house objectively, it may be beneficial to request help from friends, a realtor, or a staging professional.

Preparing the house for a showing can be a time consuming process, and research shows that the longer a house stays on the market the lower the selling price will be. Staging a house can mean the difference between weeks or months on the market. The New York Village Voice reported that the average number of days an un-staged home is on the market is 30.9 versus 13.9 for a staged home.

Increase Curb Appeal: The buyer's first impression starts here
-Look for chipped paint, especially around the doors and trim, and touch up where needed.
-Always keep the yard mowed and edged.
-Add touches of color with plants and flowers, and keep garden areas manicured.
-Rent a power washer and clean surfaces like brick, siding, sidewalks, and driveways.
-Clear spider webs from entry ways, and make sure there is plenty of light.

Kitchens: The heart of a house
-De-clutter counter tops; find a cabinet to hide appliances and everyday items.
-Keep cabinets organized to make them look as large as possible.
-Remove personal items from the refrigerator, like drawings and pictures.
-Consider updating a few appliances; this can add a lot of value to the home.
-Make sure there is plenty of light.
-Clean all surfaces including grout, sinks, corners, and floors.

Living Rooms: Help the buyer picture their family here
-Consider the flow of the room and arrange furniture in a way that is functional and inviting. If you have too much furniture you may want to consider renting a storage space.
-Remove pictures and personal items.
-Bring the outside in by adding a plant or fresh flowers.
-Bring attention to wood floors by polishing them, and rent a steam cleaner to make the carpet look as new as possible.

Bathrooms: Clean should be the first thing on the buyers mind
-Clean all surfaces, especially grout.
-De-clutter cabinets making them look as large as possible. Consider buying organizers to hide personal products.
-Replace old faucets and fixtures. This can be a relatively inexpensive way to update the room.
-Always neutralize bathroom smells before a buyer arrives.
-Add coordinating towels and bathmats to detract from dated counter tops and tile.
-Replace light bulbs to brighten the sink area.

Bedrooms: Should be uncluttered and relaxing
-Organize the bedroom by arranging furniture in a way that makes the room seem comfortable and spacious. Remove unnecessary furniture items and store them in a storage unit.
-Make the bed look like it is in a hotel. Linens should be coordinating and clean.
-Remove pictures and personal items.
-Store unnecessary closet items to make closets appear as large as possible. Make sure closets have plenty of light.
-Consider repainting the room to a neutral tone if the color is bright.

Staging a home may be one of the most important things a seller can do for their home. Following the staging tips above can help ease the stress of selling a home, increase the homes value, and shorten the time on the market.

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