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All the House is a Stage….

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…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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?!
  4. 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!

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