Dressing Your Home for a Sutccessful Sale

In the professional world, the saying goes that you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Dressing for success is extremely important to market oneself, and the same can be said for marketing a home. Dressing a home for success is known as staging, and it’s an important part of the home selling process. Staging is a marketing tool to make a home appeal to a larger audience of buyers.  It can also help your space appear to be more neutral, modern, and even larger.    

A house is just a house without the knick-knacks, décor, and personal touches that make it a home.  Which is why homeowners tend to find it difficult to declutter and detach when it comes time to sell that home. However, as Klay Kelley, a realtor with Crye Leike Executive Realty points out, properly staging a house can make your home selling experience much more pleasant.

Though the process can require time and money, in the end, your home is likely to sell faster when properly staged. “Staged homes tend to spend less days on the market,” says Kelley. In the end, selling your home faster will save you time and money, making the staging worth it.    
When a house is properly staged, potential homebuyers are able to see themselves, instead of you, in the house. It’s true that house hunters, as a rule, should look past strictly aesthetic problems and differences in taste when considering whether or not to buy a home, but accomplishing this goal can be easier said than done. It can be very difficult for a potential home buyer to appreciate a house for what it is when he is distracted by the art you find amazing but he finds disturbing. Perhaps a potential homebuyer hates wallpaper, but you think it’s a great choice in the bedroom. Staging your home eliminates these issues.  

“When a buyer walks into a home- they want to envision themselves living in that space. If a seller has created an environment that feels welcoming and that they can see themselves living in- the buyer tends to feel more drawn to that home. Overall, many buyers are much more receptive to staged homes,” says Kelley.

Kelley says he and his clients have had a lot of success with selling staged homes. “I have had a number of clients who chose to stage their homes prior to us placing them on the market for sale. We saw positive feedback immediately, with the home outpacing others in the same price range in regard to days on the market before going under contract,” Kelley says.  

Staging is even important if your house is empty. “When a home is staged, it helps buyers understand how they can live in a home, so to speak. If a property is empty, buyers often grapple with where to place furniture in their minds, and rooms can seem surprisingly smaller than they actually are. By staging, it allows the buyer to envision that space as they would live in it.”

If the thought of spending money to sell your house makes you queasy, Kelley asserts that it is not necessary to spend a lot of money to stage your home. “Sellers can easily work with the pieces they have and perhaps add a few small items in the staging process.” Kelley says the two easiest things a seller can do that make the biggest impact are updating with fresh neutral paint and decluttering. “In that case your cost is the time invested to declutter and the paint and supplies to repaint and freshen up some rooms.”

When repainting, Kelley suggests creating a neutral space. Since you want your home to appeal to as many people as possible when selling, it is important to avoid jarring wall colors. “Paint any rooms that have colors that are too vibrant to a more neutral color palette,” Kelley says. You may really like a bright green kitchen, but potential home buyers probably won’t. Investing in painting your walls neutral grays, tans, or white colors will go a long way in making your home attractive to a variety of people. If your heart hurts at the thought of getting rid of your colorful walls, you should always keep in mind that your next house can be whatever color you like.

As Kelley points out, decluttering is an essential and easy part of home staging. Getting rid of the personal family photos and school art projects on your fridge will make your kitchen look neater while also depersonalizing your space. Packing away the piles of books on your bookshelves and stowing away any unnecessary knick-knacks or piles of magazines may hurt but will be beneficial in the end.  “If you have animals, get a small basket so that all of their toys and other items can be kept in them.  This will allow you to scoop them up and stow them out of sight when preparing for a showing. The same can apply if you have small children with lots of toys,” Kelley says, “Keep a basket in any room where they play. This allows you to declutter quickly.” Be prepared to make trips to Goodwill while going through the process. A room naturally looks larger without clutter and is therefore more attractive to buyers. As an added benefit, decluttering and packing your things away will in turn make your own move easier.  
Kelley says staging is now an important part of selling. “I do suggest staging homes, even if the seller is only able to do a few rooms. It is definitely worth it.”