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Not everyone trying to sell a Waterloo Region home is still actually occupying it. There are sellers who are no longer, if they ever have, occupying the property for sale, and it is essentially empty. In this situation, the homeowner – and their Realtor – has a decision to make; to stage or not to stage.
Should you stage? There are some Realtors who feel that an empty house that has been adequately repaired, repainted and cleaned is enough. They, however, are in the minority. Most real estate agents – Team Pinto included – feel that while staging a home may not make a difference to the eventual selling price, it will get the home sold faster.
Why? Because when you are selling a home you are actually selling a whole lifestyle change. Buyers need to be able to see themselves occupying the space and enjoying their time in it, something that is very hard to do if the place is bare.
In our experience, most buyers struggle to envision an empty house as their home. Will a king size bed fit? Will a double bed fit in the guest room? What could they do with that oddly shaped alcove? Most of us, in general, would struggle to conjure up all of the right images.
The thing about staging an empty home that some balk at however is that it’s an extra expense they don’t actually need to incur. However, it may not be as pricey as you think and the investment is one that should pay off in terms of a quicker sale. Here are some tips for staging an empty home adequately and successfully without going too far out of pocket.
To make the kitchen looked lived-in, grab a few nice-looking cookbooks, a small toaster, a container of utensils, maybe a knife block and scatter a few tea towels. If it is an eat in kitchen DO include a table of some kind – even a small bistro one will do – so that that functionality is immediately apparent.
The Living Room
The living room should be staged as a comfy space that people would want to hang out in. Show it off by using a nice, neutral colored couch – a thrift store find is OK as long as there are no rips or tears – adorned with some decorative pillows in for a splash of color. Lamps can brighten up a dark space, and a simple mirror hung on the wall can make a small space look enormous (again, check thrift stores and flea markets if you can’t find one to borrow.)
The Master Bedroom
One of the best empty home staging tricks we ever personally heard was from the host of one of those HGTV shows. She suggested using a blow-up mattress to simulate a real bed and box springs. Make up the bed like normal, and no one will ever know. Much cheaper, easier, and still usable as guest or camping extras when the home is sold. Add a small side table and a lamp and that’s really all the staging you need.
The trick can also be repeated in other bedrooms, simply using an air mattress that is appropriately sized for the space and function of the room (twin for a kid’s room, full for a guest room etc.)
Bathrooms are also easy to stage, as all you really need to ensure is that a neutral but attractive shower curtain is in place, a nice rug is breaking up expanses of tiled floor and that a few fluffy towels are displayed on towel racks.
In the end, the basic key to successfully staging a vacant home is to keep it simple and efficient. You don’t need fake fruit, or overly fancy furniture, just enough ‘props’ to give the space the appearance of a home rather than just a series of empty, soulless rooms with new paint.