Stage your home to seal the deal
BY BRAVETTA HASSELL World Scene Writer
Saturday, April 14, 2012
4/14/12 at 5:04 AM
Your lovely photos of the family all together during Christmas 2010 may be what you love showing off to houseguests, but those wonderful things that make a home aren't going to get your house sold.
"I'm not selling tickets to Emily's museum," says home stager Emily Brown, co-owner of Sell Smart Home Staging in Tulsa. You want to make the potential buyer feel at home without noticing your stuff, if you're selling the home you now live in. Buyers are purchasing your home and a lifestyle that they aspire to. They're not buying your belongings or your lifestyle.
For retiring teacher Deborah Bendler, doing your own home staging is like pretending you are moving. "Start five years ago," Bendler told a parent inquiring about preparing her own home to sell. She's spent about a month preparing the home she's lived in for 28 years, to be shown.
She hired Brown to give her an initial consultation before undertaking the actual staging herself. Below are some basic tips to consider.
Do-it-yourself home staging tips
Do...your homework. Find out who is buying in your neighborhood. Ask your neighbors, talk to a real estate agent familiar with the area and the buyers. Find out what comes standard in the homes on your block and in your community. You need to not only know who your potential buyer is, but also what will make your home competitive.
Do...get yourself a "Kristin," or a professional and do a walk-through. And take notes. Kristin, a dear friend of Brown's, had no qualms about telling Brown's mom she needed to dust when the women were teenagers. And as harsh as that was, it is that kind of honest and detached criticism that will point out the shortcomings in your home you will lovingly miss and potential buyers are sure to see.
Do...make necessary cosmetic repairs Worn or damaged fixtures and flooring, dirty carpeting, dated lighting, and ragged landscaping don't entice buyers. If interior paint is marred or a shade that matches your tastes but doesn't necessarily reach potential buyers, repaint.
Don't...go into a nervous spending frenzy. You have wood floors that you may not have maintained. Installing new flooring may be a solution but means spending more than you may need. A buff and refinish may do the job. Same goes for such features as granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. If luxury features aren't standard in your neighborhood, don't feel obligated to make those big purchases. If the spending you're doing isn't going to directly result in a sale, Brown said, don't do it.
Do...clean and declutter The more time you spend in your home, the more likely you are to bring in more things. It may work for you and your family, but the way you live in your home is not the same as how you show it, said Cindy Gasior, owner of Transitions Home Staging and Interior Design. If pieces are not serving a purpose, remove them. Too much stuff means too many distractions for the potential buyer. Clutter also hinders movement.
Do...depersonalize The more of your memorabilia and life's trinkets a potential buyer sees in your home, the less they can see themselves living there. Family photos can be replaced with images that are universal, such as art. A word on kids' rooms: Take down names and photos but leave their art and toys - these belongings bring life to that space and give function and warmth. Just make sure the room isn't messy.
Do...accentuate selling points. Especially for the generation that values features such as fireplaces, don't detract from it by facing furniture away from it or placing something that obstructs the view and access to it. If you have oversized windows, don't hide them behind heavy, dark drapes.
Don't...bring in or buy more furniture and accessories unless you are a serial minimalist or have a lot of decor that is very dated. Don't overspend. Do consider renting pieces. Work with what you have, but remember, less is more. If something doesn't have a purpose, remove it.
Do...create warmth This is done by bringing in pops of color, plants and movable accessories that show the type of life buyers could lead if they bought it. Think clean stemware and a small stack of tableware nicely arranged on a tray in the dining room.
Do...give each room an explicit purpose. Bedrooms should be for sleeping, not doubling as your office or your entertainment room. Keep the furniture in each room appropriate with the room's primary purpose.
Do...get rid of unpleasant smells. Your home may be quite impressive, but if it smells weird, it will put people off.
Do...incorporate the elements of design. You can't go wrong paying attention to focal points, scale, emphasis and rhythm when you want to establish your home as visually pleasing to potential buyers.
Don't...forget curb appeal. How your property looks from the street is just as important as how it is presented inside. The assumption is if you are meticulous about your yard, about maintaining order and creating interest, that same measure of exacting and flow will be inside.
Do...once you've staged your home, give it a final walkthrough. Start from the curb and work your way in. Bring your "Kristin" along if you want to, and see if changes you've made create flow, warmth and the type of environment people would love to invest in.
Bravetta Hassell 918-581-8316
Deborah Bendler painted the walls a neutral color and pared down her personal belongings when she self-staged her home to put on the market. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
Deborah Bendler is seen in one of the bedrooms she staged to help sell her home. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
Deborah Bendler's living room was painted light blue and was cluttered with personal objects before she began staging her home to sell. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World