Home & Garden

How To: Setting the Stage to Sell Your Own Home

Written by Chris Elliot

When you sell your home, you have to move – but moving things before you sell makes your home much more comfortable for prospective buyers.

In the real estate world, the word “staging” is the short way of saying “presenting a home at its best to sell quickly.” It is much easier said than done, and, according to the Star Estate Agency, even some professional agents and brokers are reluctant to give some home sellers the advice they need.

When you decide to sell your home, either yourself or through a broker, you had better be prepared to move. Look around at all the stuff you own. You have to pack it all up and move it. Your place has to be empty when you leave. In fact, it should also be clean, with nothing broken or damaged. If you have that mindset, then home staging is something you can do yourself – and it will make your home far easier to sell.

Prospective Buyer’s Perspective

From a home buyer’s perspective – a perspective that you should get used to – a spotless and sparsely furnished home signals a serious seller. It also makes it easy for the buyers to envision their stuff in those empty places. They can easily size things up, and will feel more comfortable when there is less of your stuff there. Making buyers feel comfortable is a good thing.

Being objective is the most difficult part of staging your house, but if you bear in mind that the fewer personal items in your home, the better, it may become easier. If you have 14 photos of the family on the mantel, you have 12 too many. If you have 12 chairs around the room and only 3 people to sit in them, consider removing 9 chairs. If you only use that credenza to store the things you use once a year – remove it. Your priority is to make space for your buyers by getting rid of your things. You have to move them anyway. Do it now, when it can do you the most good.

Experience Moving – The Sooner, the Better

If you have a place to move to, start moving your things there before your house goes on the market. If you don’t, then rent a storage space (or two) and gently pack up as much as you can live without. Ideally, each room will only have enough in it to show what function the room had, or could have. That is the idea behind staging in the theatrical sense – a few props in a space to suggest to the audience what kind of room it is. Ideally that is what you should strive for – within reason. You still want to leave some warmth and a feeling that the home is indeed a home.

With the absence of many furnishings, the next steps become much easier. Consider a new coat of ceiling paint and a good scrubbing and/or polishing of the flooring. Any missing mouldings or cracked glass or crayon marks on the woodwork can be remedied. Your home will look its best, and your prospective buyers will enjoy its openness. There is room for them in that house.

Splash for Cash?

The final touches for home staging are the fun parts. That involves a bit of creativity – and some fluff. A brand new boldly coloured welcome mat, hall runner, or oversized vase in the entry filled with some dramatic floral arrangement are typical decorating tricks that give a place style. A particularly bright or white tablecloth draped over the right table can look classy, and a bit of colour coordination can go a long way towards making the place look nice. Now it will be easy to get great interior photographs that will help you to market your home anywhere you want. You have set the stage for a buyer.

About the author

Chris Elliot