One of the reasons Pacific Northwest home sellers should seek advice from an expert home stager when they’re getting ready to sell is that some of the principles of good home staging are a little counterintuitive.
One major thing to remember: To make your home interesting to potential buyers, it needs to look its absolute best and accentuate its best features, but the interior decor should be a little generic.
What I mean is that, while your home should look gorgeous, the decor should be indistinct enough that buyers aren’t picturing what it’s like for you to live in the home — they’re picturing themselves living in your home, as in: “Oh… here’s where I could put my couch/lamp/armoir.” Staged homes should be inviting and warm, but not necessarily personal (i.e. family photos, family artwork, clutter).
Here are a some good steps to start with to stage your home effectively:
• CLEAN. Clean, clean, clean. All surfaces should shine. Everything, from furniture to counters to the wall moulding, should be completely dust, dirt, and scuff-free. Take extra special care on windows and window sills.
• GET RID OF CLUTTER. Pack up magazines and books that are overflowing the magazine rack and bookshelf. Get rid of stacks of paper and old mail. Pack away family photos and family artwork, and get rid of the magnets on the fridge.
Clutter is one of the number one killers of successful home showings… don’t let it hurt your home sale!
• CONSIDER COLOR AND LIGHTING. Dark rooms look smaller, so consider a lighter, neutral paint. Open curtains and turn on lights in darker rooms.
• THINK LIKE A BUYER. View each room from the doorway. What are the room’s best features? What is the focal point? There should be only one focal point in each room, so, for example, if you have a fireplace and a TV, get rid of the TV.
• SIMPLIFY YOUR FURNITURE. Many rooms have far too much furniture, which also makes rooms look smaller and less appealing. Take all pillows off the couch, or use an odd number (3 is popular). Pack away afghans and blankets. Reduce the number of paintings on the walls or, ideally, replace them with more neutral pallettes.
Staging tips for every room in your home
• DINING ROOM. Take the leaves out of your table and only use four chairs. Set the table for a meal, and use an attractive centerpiece.
• KITCHEN. The front of your refrigerator should be bare. Store as many appliances as you can out of sight and keep counters as clear as possible. Hide the trash can, and put the dishrag and any cleaning supplies under the sink. Replace any outdated or worn handles, knobs, etc.
• BATHROOMS. Replace bar soap with liquid soap. Buy new towels and make sure they’re color coordinated. Clear out the shower except for one bottle of shampoo and one bottle of liquid soap. Replace the shower curtain if it’s not in prime condition. Grout should be spotless. Remove toilet lid covers, and leave the lid down. Pack away most personal toiletries (such as toothbrushes, hair dryers, etc.) and medications. Hide the garbage can.
• BEDROOMS. Update your bedspread. Clear off any clutter from nightstands and dressers. In your closets, pack up anything you’re not wearing this season and get rid of non-essential items stored in closets.
• YARD. Keep the lawn mowed, edges clean. Trim shrubs and trees that can impact light coming into the house. Put flowering pots or an evergreen tree on the front porch. Consider painting the house if it needs a new coat, or maybe just painting the door to add some visual interest to the front entryway. Clear out flowerbeds. Get rid of anything that’s just “hanging out” in your yard, such as garden tools, unused ground cover materials, etc.
Believe it or not, these steps are just the start! If you’re selling your Whatcom, Skagit, Island or San Juan county home, I can help! For expert help with successfully staging your Pacific Northwest home, please contact me for economical, effective guidance.