Top 10 Rules for Staging Homes

Marin Luxury Real Estate - Laurel Grove home in Ross, CA


1. Grab them from the curb.

You’ve seen them. Buyers hunkered low in their cars in front of your house, doing drive-bys before deciding whether to request a showing or attend an open house. Make these potential buyers fall in love with your home from the street by adding potted plants and flowers, power-washing the patios and walkways, weeding the garden, and mowing the lawn. It’s your first chance to make a good impression, so you’ve got to make it count.

2. Make it sparkle.

You would detail your car if you were going to sell it. You should detail your house, too. Think hotel clean. Mop, dust, vacuum, wash the windows, wash the baseboards. Hell, you might even consider washing the cat! Remember that people will look in your cupboards, under your sinks, and in your closets. So clean all of those. Also, pay particular attention to odors. This may sound crazy, but you might even consider consulting a “neutral nose” by having a friend come by for a smell test.

3. Pay attention to color and light.

You may love pepto-bismol pink in the living room, but too-bright colors make most buyers uncomfortable. Neutral paint colors typically have the broadest appeal. A neutral home appears larger and has less chance of offending someone. Also, open up the blinds and draperies and let in sufficient natural light throughout the home. Remember, the point is to let people see how beautiful your home is.

4. Sell the space.

Clutter = Chaos. Few things deter buyers more than a cluttered, chaotic house. They need to see your home, not your stuff. Excessive personal items like photos, collections, books, personal awards, electronics, etc. will make it difficult for buyers to see past your personal style and may deter a sale.

Taking yourself out of the equation makes it easier for them to imagine themselves, and their stuff, in your space. In the dining room, remove extra leaves and chairs. I usually suggest sellers take at least half of everything out. When it comes to selling the space, less is almost always more.

5. Consider replacing furnishings.

Think about removing or replacing any worn or outdated furnishings, as well as getting rid of extra pieces. The time has come to move beyond matching furniture, so break up your sets. “Dated” can easily become “eclectic” with the right editing and rearranging. Consider consulting with a professional staging company for design direction and advice on rental furnishings to create an inviting home with broad appeal to a wide range of buyers.

6. Invest in new artwork.

Displaying new artwork is a great way to breathe new life into a room. Cool photography can be used to make a room seem more contemporary and add a splash of color as well.

7. Make repairs.

Make your home a high-maintenance zone. Repair squeaky doors, chipped or smudged paint, and broken fixtures or fittings that you’ve neglected.

8. Apply a fresh coat of paint.

Refresh a dull, dated room by slapping a fresh, neutral color on the walls. Transmutable shades of taupe or beige are good for living spaces, and green, grey, blue are good for bathrooms. Like I said earlier, avoid colors that are too bright or distracting. Keep it light and basic since, chances are, the new owners may paint over it again anyway.

9. Don’t forget the floors.

Get rid of worn carpets, and consider refinishing shabby hardwood floors. Pull up all bathroom mats and rugs. An inexpensive new area rug in a family or living room is a quick fix and can disguise the look of old floors. And don’t forget the kitchen. There’s nothing more unappealing than walking into a kitchen with crumbs on the floor.

10. Spring for new light fixtures.

Renew the look of the room by replacing old or dated light fixtures, door hardware, light switches, and outlets. If it’s tacky and older than you, get it out of there! You’d be surprise by how much a new faucet or switch plate can brighten up a room.

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