…and all the men and women merely potential buyers! Okay, okay- so I totally defiled one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines… but it was kind of fitting given the topic at hand… so, I went with it! And in case you hadn’t guessed, yep- today we’re talking about STAGING!
Now don’t get me wrong- we (meaning me, the hubs, and the kids) are NOT in any danger of moving anytime in the next geologic era. Seriously, I told my kids the next time I move it will be from this house to the cemetery! During the past 7 years, we have moved five times. FIVE TIMES!! I’ve always admitted to having a bit of the gypsy wanderlust in my blood, but even I think this is getting ridiculous!
This time, the person doing all the moving, is my sweet sweet Mama (hi Mom)! Her home is located a mind numbing 2 1/2 hour drive away, down one of the most desolate stretches of American highway- it’s like the hallway in Poltergeist where JoBeth Williams goes running towards her kid’s room and the hallway just keeps getting longer and longer- yep, just like that.
Now, we all know moving is never fun. And if anyone ever tells you they enjoy it, they’re either lying, a masochist… or both! BUT, it gave us the perfect chance to utilize all the stockpiled knowledge we’ve picked up from shows like ‘Sell This House’, ‘Get It Sold’, and ‘Designed to Sell’ (just to name a few). Here’s what we did:
- Cleared out all personal effects and 95% of knick knacks- personal effects detract from your home and distract buyers and can potentially keep them from paying attention to the most important reason they are there- to view your house so they can buy it! If they spend all their time looking at your wedding pictures, they’re not paying attention to your upgraded kitchen appliances, etc.
- Painted the whole interior of the house a unifying neutral color- not always necessary, but definitely helps. A lot of buyers don’t want to be burdened with the task of painting (or repainting) when they move in, so having a neutral color that appeals ‘to the masses’ helps- even if it’s not necessarily a color you would normally choose. Remember, when staging you are trying to design for the buyer- not for yourself.
- Cleaned the whole exterior of the house- pressure washed vinyl siding, cleaned up all landscaping, had pergola in backyard re-stained, replaced any damaged siding/shutters/lighting, etc- it’s very important that your home have curb appeal. If it doesn’t, a potential buyer may decide to not even bother with seeing the interior. Think about it- if they don’t even want to be bothered with repainting the living room, WHY would you think they’d want to completely redo the front yard?!
- Cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned- had the carpets steam cleaned, had the house professionally cleaned, had any issues like damaged linoleum replaced, etc. – I can’t stress to you the importance of presenting a clean and uncluttered home. It allows positive chi to flow through with the potential buyers, it also projects a calming image and shows the buyers that you actually care for your home and take good care of it. It helps them feel like they are purchasing a quality home and not someone else’s headache.
Once you’ve laid all of the above groundwork, then the fun can begin!
I have to admit it took a bit of convincing to get my Mom to agree to allow me to stage- not because I’m bad at it or anything (!) but because we went at it a bit backwards. See, we had to go ahead and move her here (where I live) which left her house completely empty. Once the house was empty, she didn’t want the hassle of staging it and dealing with the upkeep (can’t say that I blame her).
She tried to sell it leaving it empty for the first little while, but it just languished on the market. If the housing market wasn’t still in such a slump, perhaps it wouldn’t have been an issue; her house has amazing upgrades and is a steal at the listed price. BUT, it IS a buyer’s market and upgrades or not- an empty house just wasn’t selling.
So, after a lot of convincing I finally got her to agree to let me stage. We didn’t have a lot of spare furniture and/or spare money (who does?!?!) to put a much into the house, so we used just bits and pieces we had that we weren’t using in our own homes and stuff I managed to cobble together from yard sales. That and lots and lots of spray paint! Gosh, I love spray paint! And here are the results!