Home’s potential may be more apparent by decluttering, depersonalizing
From Realtors to bloggers to HGTV, sellers hear about the need to get creative to attract prospective buyers to their homes. Suggestions include filling the rooms with warm and inviting scents, providing the perfect lighting, or playing up fun and interesting features.
Another popular option is home staging, which involves arranging and decorating the home in a way that appeals to a wide range of buyers. According to the National Association of Realtors, 96 percent of Realtors who have experience assisting buyers thought that staging had an impact on buyers at least some of the time (49 percent reported staging had an impact on buyers most of the time, while 47 percent believe that staging impacts buyers some of the time).
In my experience, this is a difficult task for most many homeowners. From a professional point of view, it doesn’t matter if the dining room is staged with a beautifully set table when the walls show flowered wallpaper from the 1980s, for example! The living room or a bedroom might have a professional home stager’s touch, yet if the carpet is worn and wall color is anything but neutral, it will still lose appeal. Have you ever seen a car for sale that was freshly washed and waxed with that new car smell, but the tires were worn out and it leaked oil? You see my point.
My first advice to a homeowner looking to put a home on the market is to start the staging process by removing clutter and depersonalizing the home. The buyer has to feel like it is home for them, not someone else!
For example, I recommend that sellers take photos off the mantle and refrigerator. I always encourage sellers to look at their home with the same eye they use to scan photos of their next home. If it distracts the eye, remove it! Furniture in rooms or traffic patterns that detract from the look of the house also need to be removed.
I walked into a master bedroom the other day that had two walls lined with bedroom and office furniture! The owners need to remove anything that doesn’t fit the utility of the room in order to maximize a buyer’s ability to see the potential in the space.
I have seen homes that moved quickly merely due to where the structure was located. I have seen homes sell quickly because of the school district — it was very clear that no professional stager had ever darkened the threshold of the house, yet the home sold and sold for list price. In the practical reality of everyday life, most sellers don’t get a home inspection prior to listing (even though they should), and most don’t stage a home. Yet the homes sell.
Always declutter and depersonalize a home prior to listing. Get the bad smells out! Remove anything that limits traffic patterns. Paint the walls with neutral colors and replace the carpet if it looks worn out. These tasks should be completed well before any attempt is made to stage a home. People can see through the nice décor to the frayed carpet underneath!