The Fine Art of Making Your Home Look Good

By: Gary Ashton

Just a couple of years ago, very few people had heard of home staging. But once a good thing is discovered, it just takes off, and that's what has happened with this method of preparing a home fore sale.

As top home stagers point out, clutter is the enemy, and beauty will attract buyers. That's what home staging is all about: getting rid of clutter and making your home shine. The goal is to get a prospective buyer to imagine themselves living in your home. If they can do this, they are only a step away from actually buying it. Home staging makes sure a buyer can see your home for what it is, not just what you've made it over the time you've lived there.

What all this means is that home staging involves a certain neutralizing of a home. What I mean is that the really personal aspects you have added to your home need to be removed or dulled down, replaced with tasteful decorations that enhance the home, not a certain personality. For example, let's say you've got a lot of family pictures all over the walls and tables of your home. These pictures make you feel good, remind you of the people you love, and give your family and friends the impression of being loved and appreciated. Great! But when your home is for sale, it is open for viewing by the buying public. To them, these very personal symbols of your life can be a bit overwhelming. They might be trying to look at the moldings but getting caught on the eyes of your family on their last beach vacation. This will turn them off buying your home, because they won't be able to imagine themselves living in it.

However removing clutter doesn't mean creating an empty house. Frequently, home stagers are hired when a home has been vacated, to help it look more user-friendly, if you will. Empty room scan feel barren, while tastefully arranged furniture provides visual interest, and also helps give the room some perspective. Home stagers will rent furniture, or use some from their personal collection, to fill out an empty home.

A similar theory applies to rooms like spare bedrooms. If you have a blank and undecorated bedroom, and your biggest market is with families, try dressing the room up a little bit to look like a child's bedroom. Obviously this doesn't mean making a mess, but adding a dresser and a teddy bear on the bed can help buyers visualize the bedroom in a way they are more likely to use it. With other spare rooms, if you've been using them for storage, remove all traces of this. Consider setting the room up like an office, exercise area, or laundry area, even if this isn't what you used it for. Again, it will give potential buyers the idea that there is so much they could do with the space, as opposed to an empty room that just looks depressing.

I mentioned that home stagers will often rent furniture. They will do this even if your home is not empty. Often, especially when we have lived in the same house for a long time, or we have pets, our furniture is a little rough around the edges. While they might still be perfectly comfortable, and you might barely notice, shabby furniture can give the appearance of a shabby home. That's why home stagers will often give a home a fresh paint job, suggest some basic repairs, and then rearrange and/or replace some of the furniture to give the home a fresh and current look. This is what buyers want, no matter the cost of the home.

The industry is starting to show that home staging pays off, and that well staged homes sell faster and for more money than un-staged homes in the same area. Consider investing a bit of time and money before your home goes up for sale. You'll be glad you did.

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