Staging an Austin Home for Sale – Sylvia’s Tips

by Sylvia Crossland on July 21, 2006 · 1 comment

In the mid-1980’s I worked as an Interior Designer. Every once in awhile I run into designers I knew when I was in that business. Last week I decided to add a few window treatments to my home and called a designer that was referred to me by a sales agent at a model home. I called the designer and set an appointment and sure enough when I saw her face I knew her! It was Jeannine from my past life as a designer.

As we were looking at my windows she asked me some tips on “staging homes for sale” because she has been asked to help people stage homes for sale but has never done this. As I rattled off the list of things I do, Steve – who was standing there – said “you should write a blog on that!” He’s been encouraging me to start adding blog articles to our website, so here we go – my first blog ever!

My tips if the home is occupied.

1. Fix anything that distracts from curb appeal.
The buyer starts forming an opinion the moment we pull into the driveway. “Oh, that garage door looks old”, or “the yard could use some work” or, best of all “Wow, this one looks nice!”. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to look at the front of a scrubby house and say “no, not this one”. I encourage them to go inside even if the outside is scuffy, but you musn’t under-estimate how important the first impression is. Clean up the front porch and paint the front door if needed. Place a potted plant near the entry with bright colored flowers. Take care of your yard weekly while the home is on the market.

2. Clear off all countertops COMPLETELY!
Clean, uncluttered countertops suggest plenty of storage and drawer space in the home and make the home look bigger. A potential buyer once said to me after looking at a house with cluttered countertops “It makes me think there is not enough drawer space in that house!”

3. Depersonalize.
Take down personal family pictures, wedding photos, graduation certificates, pictures of yourself shaking hands with Willie Nelson, baby pictures, etc. etc. This can be distracting to the house. It’s tough showing a house and keeping buyers focused on the house when the potential buyers are busy admiring Seller’s pictures and artifacts (Look! It’s Stevie Ray Vaughn! Ohh what a cute baby!). They forget about the house and the floor plan, but remember the pictures.

3. Let natural light in.
Take down all extra window treatments. 1″ blinds, neutral shades, and professional window treatments are OK to leave in place, just open them up.

4. Touch up Paint.
Touch up paint throughout the house. Paint over any bold colors with neutral colors, or have one or two accent walls with the most up to date designer colors. Make sure all nail holes, finger prints, scuffs and bumps on the walls are touched up and painted.

5. Make sure all light bulbs are working. Clean your light fixtures. Make sure smoke alarm batteries are working (the beeping of dead batteries is very distracting).

6. Clear out closets almost completely leaving only a few hanging items and neatly folded sweaters or blankets on the shelves. Everything must be off the floors including shoes! Rent a storage space if needed, but you have to get all of your extra stuff out of the way so buyers can see your home.

7. Shampoo carpet and clean everything thoroughly and keep it clean! Hire a maid if you have to. You want your home to show like a model because this is your biggest competition…the new home neighborhoods in your area, of which there are many.

8. Deodorize your home and make sure it smells fresh…no heavy fragrances.

My tips if your home is vacant.

It is mostly the same as above as far as cleaning is concerned. When we list a vacant home, we send out our miracle-working clean-up crew that does all the touch up paint, cleaning and shampooing to make the home shine.

I have a “staging box” in my garage for vacant listings, items that help eliminate that “vacant” feel without having to furnish the home.

1. Hang colorful towels in the bathrooms.

2. Add a nice picture or painting over the fireplace and some colorful flowers in the corner of the living and at least one bedroom.

3. Put colorful china, pitchers and glasses, or canisters on the kitchen counters.

4. The key is to give the home some “color” which will add warmth so the buyer can imagine living in the home.

I could of course list 100’s of things to do when staging a home. But the above items are the highlights and if you do nothing else but what I’ve listed above, your home will show better and be more attractive to prospective buyers.

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