First impressions last a lifetime. This is true when you meet a new person, when you walk into a new retail store or even a new restaurant. First impressions regarding places are based on how the general atmosphere makes you feel. That being said, the same goes with homes. The first impression your home gives will make a significant impact on that buyer’s decision-making process.
Home staging allows you to highlight the best of your home and de-emphasize its flaws. It can also help you to accentuate those flaws if you don’t put in any effort to do the necessary simple things to stage. The ultimate goal of home staging is to create an atmosphere in which a buyer is able to imagine themselves living there. To imagine the future memories that they will create. Thus, when they are looking to find the home of their dreams to build their life and lifelong memories in, they don’t want to walk into the home feeling another person’s memories. The best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to create an atmosphere in which the buyer will envision his life there instead of yours. This can be done by attempts to “neutralize” the surroundings. Here are some great ways to DIY home-staging for little to no expense:
•Clear out closets and clutter: this includes the packing, or giving away of toys, linens, and small kitchen appliances. This is the time to go through your belongings and organize. While it is a hassle to go through everything in your home, remember you are going to have to do it anyway when you officially move, so you may as well tackle it now.
•Focus most on the most visible areas: The most important rooms to focus on are all of them. However, if this is not possible, the absolute necessary rooms to stage are the the foyer, kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and family room. The foyer is extremely important, as it will set the tone for how the buyer will view the house.
•Remove any personal items from the home. This is key. As mentioned above, a buyer doesn’t want to walk in feeling like they are coming over to your house for a dinner party. They want to envision themselves hosting a dinner party with their family and friends.
•Use plants to fill any empty spaces. Plants are not only a great way to fill empty spaces, but they are also a great way to invite some “life” into the home.
•Read more articles like this one if you cannot hire a professional stager. There is really no excuse to not get almost all the information you need to DIY, as there are too many outlets available to do so. Great methods to find these ideas are catalogs, searching online, word of mouth, reading related books, or watching design TV shows such as HGTV, or House Hunter. All of these outlets will give you great tips and useful information. It will also give you ideas to decorate your new home!
•Clean out the medicine cabinets. When a potential buyer views the home, one of the most important things they will be assessing is the amount of space and storage the home has. Thus, whatever small things you have tucked away in drawers, or cabinets, will be seen. Not only will clearing these things out make the space appear larger, but the buyer does not want to look at all of your prescriptions and Pepto Bismal.
•Be sure the yard is in good shape, and that the grass looks well-maintained. Again, the yard and the foyer are crucial in creating a positive first impression in the buyer’s eyes.
•Refrain from cooking anything with a pungent smell before prospective buyers come to view the house. No one wants to walk in and smell the salmon you have just made. Also, these smells distract the buyer from having a good first impression when they walk in, because they immediately think about the smell in the air other than focusing on what the entry looks like.
•Hire a professional to clean carpets and windows. Floors are of utmost importance when considering purchasing a home. Dirty carpets are not a good look. Not only does someone not want to have to consider the cost of replacing carpet, but it also gives off the idea that the home was not well-maintained.
•Set the dining table. Remember, staging is about making it easier for the buyer envision themselves in the home. A great way to do this is to set the table; it is easy to do, and it makes all the difference. The buyer can see themselves having parties throughout the year.
•Put fresh flowers throughout the house. Fresh flowers are a great way to make the buyer associate the home with positive feelings, as flowers are correlated with happiness. Be sure to replace them as they die, as buyers do not want to see dead, or wilted flowers. No flowers are better than wilted ones.
•Fireplace: If you have a fireplace and you are showing your home in the fall or winter, use it. Nothing is more inviting to a prospective buyer than a warm fire crackling. All the same, fresh flowers can do wonders. Flowers are related to happiness, and will make a subtle difference.
•Use as much natural light as possible. Light brings a feeling of openness to the house. If during the day, open all blinds or curtains to let as much light in as possible. If you have a yard, consider opening the door before the buyer gets there. It will also make the house inviting, and they will see themselves relaxing on the patio.
•Complete any simple touchups such as a broken fence, or a door that sticks or creaks when you open or close it. All of the “little things” do make a tremendous difference to the buyer. When there are many touchups that need to be done, the buyer takes into account the things they will need to fix. Again, it also shows that the home was not maintained well, as you didn’t take the time to fix something as simple as a faulty doorknob.
•Ask a friend or family member for their opinion. They will be able to point out things that you missed, or give you new great ideas that you hadn’t thought of.
The real secret to a successful home stage is to pretend your home is already sold by removing personal items and memorabilia throughout the home. Buyers must feel that it is theirs!