Be a staging star

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By Carla Hill

Elaine Quigley, CRS, GRI 6 east Main St., Westborough 508-366-3766 www.eqre.com

If you’re an HGTV junkie then chances are you’ve tuned in for some of the network's popular home improvement shows, nearly all of which have stressed the importance of staging your home for sale. Are you tired of waiting for a TV crew to come help you with your own home? You don’t have to find yourself on one of these hit shows to be a staging star. Simply follow a few of our expert tips!

1. Remove the clutter. Instead of a potential buyer's eyes moving easily from one side of a room to another, leaving their mind at peace to imagine their own life in your space, clutter disrupts the flow and catches the buyer's gaze. They will focus on your mess or dust instead of your lovely fireplace or hardwood floors.

2. Organize. Once you have removed the clutter and knick-knacks (staging is more about minimal accents) it's time to organize what has been left behind. Built-in storage systems are an excellent way to get offices and closets in order. Need a way to take extra clothes or seasonal items to the garage? Invest in a few inexpensive plastic tubs. For future convenience, be sure to label all boxes.

3. Clean. You want your home to appear move-in ready at showings. That doesn’t just mean that your title and contacts are in order. It means that your home needs to look and smell clean. Mop, vacuum, and wash down every surface. Leave no dust bunny unturned! This could be the time to hire a professional cleaning service.

4. Refresh paint. Walls turn dingy over time even in the cleanest of homes. Consider putting on new color to freshen and update your rooms.

5. Room appropriate. When your home is listed on the MLS as a three-bedroom home, it is important that this is what buyers see. They don’t want to see two bedrooms and craft room, exercise room, or home office. During the staging process keep rooms what they were designed to be.

6. Create ambiance. Ambiance is about the way a home makes you feel. In some homes, you’ll want a cool, modern atmosphere created by simple decor and perfect lighting. In most homes, though, buyers seek a warm and homey atmosphere. Accomplish this through the use of vanilla candles, lit fireplaces, area rugs, baked cookies, and staged living areas (set dining tables, games in the living room, and outdoor patios).

7. Staging outdoors. Don’t forget one of your most important spaces – your outdoor “rooms.” More and more buyers are extending their living spaces into the great outdoors. Stage patios with simple furniture, outdoor dining sets, comfortable pillows, and a chiminea or plant life.

8. Leave no closet unturned. Buyers will open your closet doors, so don’t think you can stuff your clutter away! Stage these areas by color coding clothes and storing away small items in totes or boxes. If the budget allows consider investing in built-in storage units.

9. First impressions. It is of paramount importance that you stage the front of your home. You never know what prospective buyer might drive by and see your For Sale sign. Front doors should have fresh coats of paint. Yards should be tidy and trimmed. And a new welcome mat and flowers or wreath are a great finishing touch.

10. New eyes. One of the most important tips for staging is seeing your home through fresh eyes. We become accustomed to the way it looks and are apathetic to what changes need made. See your home through the eyes of a new buyer.

Staging is one of the best ways to let your buyers see the true potential of your home. By creating an ambiance that is clean and stylish you can inspire buyers wanting to live that lifestyle to buy your home!

Did you know that I include Staging Services as part of my Marketing Plan? Put my extensive knowledge, excellent communication and top negotiating skills to work for you. I have a long list of satisfied clients spanning 27 years and all types of market conditions. Call me at 508-366-3766 or visit me at my office, Independent Real Estate Group, downtown at the Rotary.