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Show & Sell

Inside tips from a home stager: Maximize your home for the greatest sales potential.

Story by Kerri Neiderer

Did you know the average home buyer spends less than 30 minutes inside a home when looking for a house? And, that’s the average. You can guarantee if your home does not make a good first impression they will move on even quicker without giving your home so much as a second glance.

Home staging is a proven formula for success that can help home sellers identify potential issues and alleviate them before putting their home on the market. A successful and qualified home stager will encourage a seller to spend the least amount of money possible to achieve the greatest result.

We all want the greatest bang for the buck and with home staging you can achieve that. Time is money when selling a home. Keep in mind the objective of home staging is to get a home sold for the greatest amount of money in the least amount of time.

Curb appeal is the real deal

First impressions count. Making sure your landscaping is tidy, your home is power washed and you have some new potted plants at the front door … these simple touches can go a long way. A prospective buyer wants to feel good about your home as they drive up for the first time. Getting them in the front door is the first and most important part of the process.

If you can smell it, you can’t sell it!

Now while some smells are enticing for home sales like a freshly cleaned home or fresh baked cookies, other smells work against you. If your home smells like smoke that could very well be a deal breaker for many people. Cigarette, cigar and pipe smoke tends to get embedded in upholstered furniture, window treatments and carpet. Home stagers rarely recommend major home changes but if you have a distinct smoke smell you might need to replace carpet, furniture, etc. There are also commercial odor-eliminating products on the market that have some degree of success.

Clutter, clutter everywhere!

Nothing says a home has not been well cared for like enormous amounts of clutter. Closets that don’t close, linen closets stuffed with old towels, bookshelves full of knick knacks and collectibles … all these are signs of clutter. If you love your collectibles and just can’t part with them, that’s fine. Pack them away now so they will be ready for your next home.

Old isn’t going to get it sold

It’s amazing how a room can look and feel dated just with outdated furnishings and accessories. While it would never be advisable to do a complete HGTV makeover, there are little things you can do to freshen up a room.

• Add new decorative pillows or a colorful throw to a sofa that might be tired.
• Buy a new “bed in a bag” comforter set and replace the quilt that is faded and thread bare.
• Take down window treatments that are outdated. Better to see the windows than be focused on old draperies.
• Your kitchen might need a complete makeover, but you can still stage it with interesting cookbooks and other accessories to give it a modern, sophisticated look.

Let’s get personal

So you love the look of family photos and you have a lot of pride in your family and all their achievements, vacations, graduations, etc. When a potential buyer enters your home, the goal is have them start to “mentally live” in the home. You want them to think about where they would place their furniture and how they would envision living in the home.

When personal photos and other mementos are prominent, a buyer gets swept up in your life; your kids, your moments, etc. instead of thinking about their new life in the home. Take down personal photos and pack them away for safekeeping and remember to be careful not to display items that might be polarizing (political items, etc.). You want people to form opinions about your home, not your lifestyle or beliefs.

What if your home is listed over the holidays?

There are different schools of thought on whether or not to decorate when your home is for sale. One thing is for sure, do not ever use listing photos that show holiday decor. If for some reason your home doesn’t sell quickly, the photos will look odd decked out in jingle bells in April.