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The 10 principles of staging your house to sell

By Monica Boyd
  1. Emotionally Disconnect

Until you disconnect from your house you will find all the principals below a struggle. Why? Because you will still see your property as your home, not as a house to be merchandised to the most likely buyer. You won’t see what needs to be done or be willing to make the changes necessary. So from now on think “this is a House to sell ”  Your next property is your Home.

  1. Be Objective

When you live in a house you become blind to what it looks like (or smells like!) to others. You don’t see the clutter in the kitchen or that the bathroom door is broken or that the paint is peeling. To gain objectivity, take pictures and imagine you are seeing them as a listing on the internet. Other ideas: ask a good friend for advice or a home stager who has no connection to you or your home so can be completely objective.

  1. Stage to your most likely buyer (and they might not be like you!)

Just because you live in your house doesn’t mean that people ‘like you’ will be the most likely buyer of your house. Think carefully about who you are selling your house to – Is it a family, if so how many kids will they have and how old? Is it a single parent family or a young couple with no kids, or an older couple, or empty nesters, or would your property works best for singles?  You know your house, it’s location and local amenities better than anyone. Who do you think would love to buy your house? Once you are clear on this, every decision you make can be based on this – room function, bedroom set-up, furniture and accessory choice.

  1. Get motivated, be realistic

Ask yourself “On a scale of 1-10, how motivated am I to do ‘what it takes’ to get my house ready for sale?”  If the answer is less than 8 you need to ask “what would it take to get to a 10?”  It might be that you need an action plan, or help, or know where to go to for help. Or it might be that you are rewarded for your efforts (e.g. selling with 6 weeks) or need to reward yourself for effort along the way. Let’s face it, if you are motivated to get your house ready to sell, the process (although requiring effort) will be easier. Now you are motivated you need to be realistic about the time it will take to prepare your house and the help you might need – you will probably need longer than you thought and need more help than you thought. Being realistic will make the process easier.

  1. De-clutter your stuff

The reality is that most of us have too much ‘stuff’ in our houses –  either furniture or possessions collected along the way or things which we haven’t got round to clearing out.  However, your buyers want to see your house not your things. They want to imagine themselves on your deck or in the kitchen surrounded by their things and too much of your stuff is a distraction and probably in different taste to your buyers.

  1. Clean, Clean, Clean

Houses for sale need to be spookily clean inside and out and kept that way. A clean house gives the message to buyers that the house is well maintained and a breeze to maintain. This increases the perceived value of the house.

  1. Repair and remodel

We live in busy times. Your buyers want to buy your house not your ‘To Do’ List.  Remember all those annoying little jobs you haven’t got round to? This is the time to get them done. If it’s a long list then use a handyman service. If your buyers see repair jobs they will think ‘effort’ and ‘money’. It won’t cost you as much as they think to get them done. When considering re-modelling it’s all about the return on investment – new counter tops and handles, new carpet or painting the bathroom tiles are the sort of areas that could need re-modelling. Think facelift not major surgery.

  1. Neutralise your colour scheme

When selling your house you are trying to appeal to as wide a market as possible. Whatever your colour preference, the truth is that most people prefer more neutral colours.  However, do not fall into the trap of just painting everything white. You are aiming for a feeling of calm, balance and warmth so warmer neutrals are best. For the elements that will stay when you sell – walls, floors and window treatments think neutral. You can add ‘moveable colour’ through furniture, artwork and accessories.

  1. Merchandise

Think back to your most likely audience and merchandise your house to appeal to them. Think about the function and layout of each room. Imagine your house is a big jigsaw of furniture and accessories. Move them around until each room is communicating the right thing to your buyers. When you place furniture, make sure you are showcasing not hiding your house’s best features. Use what you’ve got but borrow or hire where needed or buy a few new items now that you can take with you and enjoy in your new home, e.g. new bed linen and towels. This small investment now makes a massive difference in how your bathroom and bedrooms are presented

  1. Stay staged

Now that you’ve staged your house put a plan in place to keep it that way.  This is especially true in this market when houses, generally are taking longer to sell. Clean and tidy on a daily basis and have a strategy for last minute viewings too – you never know which viewing could be the one.

  1. One more!

Staging your house to sell can be a DIY job. However, if you are looking for an objective and experienced eye, an all-important action plan, someone who knows where to go and who to ring for help or just someone on your side throughout the process then call a stylist.

Home Staging Brisbane is based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane, Australia

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