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Maybe you’ve come across this post but aren’t completely sure what home staging actually is. Very simply, it’s the art of making your home look and feel as appealing as possible to potential buyers.
It’s a concept that has increased in popularity – and normality- over the past several years. As real estate professionals it’s the of the things we recommend homeowners do doing before they put their home on the market, as it can help increase perceived value, even in a hot market.
Home staging is even more important in 2021 thanks to the rise in the number of buyers making use of virtual open houses and home tours in the face of the continuing restrictions around the COVID-19 pandemic.
You may not need to hire a professional home stager for your home. Often you can take care of a lot of the work yourself. However, if you do, as local real estate experts we are always happy to recommend one.
One of the easiest ways to remember things is to put them into an alphabetical list and so that’s exactly what we’ve done. To help you understand more about home staging – and its value – here’s an A-Z list of common home staging terms, concepts and ideas.
THE A TO Z OF HOME STAGING
A is for Attention
With so much competition online you REALLY need to make your home stand out from the crowd – and for all the right reasons!. Grabbing the attention of a buyer online is critical to getting a viewing secured – you want to show your home at it’s best and make a potential buyer sit up and take notice.
B is for Budget
Home staging doesn’t have to cost a lot – it’s about working with the budget you have, and making every penny count. The costs of selling a home can be massive, and if it takes a little spending on the right things to make that all important sale go through at the best possible price, then we are sure you’ll agree that that would be money well spent.
C is for Colour
Colour is a very personal choice – and most of the time you will have decorated to please your own style and taste rather than thinking of the buyer who will live there when you sell your home.
There is a reason why new homes tend to be painted magnolia or some other shade of cream, and that is that they are presenting a blank canvas for the potential buyers.
Some buyers simply can’t see past a very bright color scheme, or they don’t want the work of having the immediately redecorate when they move in, so it’s really worth looking around with critical eyes and seeing if any color schemes need toning down.
D is for DIY
We all have those little DIY jobs around the house that are waiting to be done. Cabinet doors that are slightly wonky / a dripping faucet / creaky floorboard etc…. After a while, we may not even notice them any longer – but you can be sure that a buyer will.
Why give a buyer a negative feeling for your home if you can help it? They may decide that if there are little things to do then you may have left bigger things undone as well, – or they may decide that they don’t want the hassle or cost of fixing it themselves and so move on to the next house on their list.
Spend a little time ensuring that all DIY has been tackled, and it will give your home a loved feeling buyers will love too.
E is for Eyes of the buyer
When you put your home on the market, it is no longer your home – you have to look at it through a buyers eyes. What would a buyer want to see in the house? Is it there? Can you create it? That’s where home staging comes in.
F is for Freshen up
Even if your home has been well looked after, the colours on the walls are not too bright, and the DIY has been tackled, there is still usually little things that can age the feel of the house.
Go round each room and spot check the paintwork – simply spot painting any marks or scuffs will instantly give the room a fresh feeling.
G is for Gleaming
No one wants to buy a dirty house. Clean, clean and then clean some more…
H is for Honesty
When staging your home, you have to be totally honest about things. It is not about hiding the negatives – as this will come back and bite you further down the line as you may well lose the sale at the last minute. Be honest about any problems the property has as buyers appreciate knowing the truth.
I is for Investment
Investing a little time, effort and money in home staging will reap rewards further down the line. Making your home appeal to as many potential buyers as possible can only help the chances of it selling at the best possible price fast– thus leaving you free to move on more quickly.
J is for Junk
Do you really want to pay to move all your unwanted stuff to your new home? Thought not!
Now is the perfect time to declutter. Not only will you save a lot of effort in moving and opening more boxes of stuff than you need, but you will also make your home immediately feel larger when there is less in it.
A lot of people move because they want more space. If your home looks too cluttered then they will think that it does not have the space they are looking for, and move on.
K is for Keep it simple
Don’t distract buyers with stuff. You want them to see what they are buying i.e. each room and the size/space/storage/features it has, not what you own.
L is for Lifestyle
Buyers are always looking for a new house to be a new start, and with that comes a lifestyle they can imagine themselves living.
If you can emulate the lifestyle of your target market, then your home will naturally appeal more to a wider section of the home buying public.
M is for Maximize the positives
If your home has a great view, then take down any voile or nets that cover it up. If it has a fireplace in the living room then make sure there isn’t a sofa in front of it – maximize the selling points of your home and the buyer will truly appreciate it.
N is for Neutral
We are not telling you to take out everything you own if you are still living in your home– but to edit it so that it is less personal to you where possible.
If you are trying to get a buyer to see themselves living in your home it is much harder to do that when there are lots of your family photos on the wall, or you have a hobby room where a bedroom should be, or the color scheme throughout the entire house is bright pink…
O is for Opportunity
Buyers like to see where they can make their mark on a home. If your home has the potential for extending, or any other opportunities, then make this clear.
P is for Photos
The first place a potential buyer will see your property is usually either online or via their real estate agents listing sheet.
As such, not only should your home be looking its best during the viewings, it should be looking the same when the marketing photos are taken.
Q is for Quicker sale
Staging a home makes it stand out from the crowd, makes it appeal to your potential buyer more, and therefore means it doesn’t stay on the market as long as it would have it you didn’t stage it. Of course there are many factors involved in selling a home, and how it looks is only one of them, there are no guarantees but every little you can do will help.
R is for Red Flags
If there are any red flags in your home, a buyer will undoubtedly spot them.
This means any unfinished DIY, chipped paintwork etc… – be honest with yourself about what you need to ensure changes, and get as many red flags eliminated. All you want a buyer to feel when they walk out of your home after a viewing is excited!
S is for Sentimentality
Selling your home can be a very emotional experience. You have created memories in the space, and it is your personal bit of the world.
Once you make the decision to move, you need to emotionally move on first – so that you can take the sentimentality out of the staging process. When your head is ready to move, and you can start to see yourself setting up a new home to make new memories, then you will be able to do the changes needed to stage your home successfully.
T is for Target Market
Every home will appeal to a different range of people – and working out what your target market is will help you ensure that any changes you make to your home will be the right ones.
For example – if you have a 3-4 bedroom home near a good school you are likely to appeal to a family market – so creating a kitchen/diner, a family room or playroom, a good play area space outside, and one or two children’s bedrooms would be ideal.
U is for Up to date
A property tends to look more appealing when it has modern decor and fixtures and fittings. If possible try and ensure that your home is up to date.
This could be as simple as changing handles on doors, adding new light fittings, or pulling up a carpet to reveal floorboards – or you may need to do a little more such as paint dated kitchen cabinets or update a bathroom.
Bathrooms and kitchens sell properties – but if they are dated then a potential buyer may either just walk away or offer you much less than your asking price as they will overestimate the cost to change it and add on a even more for the perceived hassle.
V is for Viewings
Always prepare well for viewings, even if they will be conducted virtually by your agent. Get a system in place to ensure you can quickly and easily take away signs of daily life (no dishes in sink or visible pet accessories etc.)
W is for Welcome
Buyers usually make their mind up about a property within minutes of walking through the front door – so the aim is to make them feel as welcome as possible as soon as they do. It is that elusive “feeling” that you can help to create for them with home staging that may make all the difference.
X is for X Factor
Create that little something extra wherever you can in your home. This may make all the difference to getting that offer. If your home can offer a better layout/more space/more light etc… – then make sure that is clear!
Y is for Yes
All you really want potential buyers to think when they view your home is “YES – this is the one”. You need to create this sense of positivity and excitement for your buyers wherever you can.
Z is for Zone
You tend to live in your home as you want to live – and so rooms change over time to be of the best use and layout for you and those living with you. However, this may not be the best use of the space when you come to sell.
Buyers tend to expect certain rooms in a house to be there if possible, and often find it hard to imagine them any other way than how you have it laid out – so ensure that your home has all the right areas in it.
For example – create a home office, don’t have a junk room instead of a bedroom etc.
There you have it – the full A to Z of home staging!
So many ideas and tips to get you started in what can be a stressful time. Hopefully these home staging tips will help you to focus on the things that matter, things that can make all the difference, and help sell your home fast at the best possible price. A great real estate agent helps too of course and if you are considering selling your Waterloo Region home, we’d love to speak to you.