large white kitchen

What is staging and why does it matter?

In a sellers’ market like this one, there is little doubt that your home will sell.  However, there are some things you can do to ensure that you sell quickly and make top dollar on your home.  “Staging” a home is a way to prepare your home for sale that includes rearranging furniture, boxing up personal items and even painting and repairs.  You can accomplish this on your own or with the help of professionals.  Perhaps it sounds like staging would take a little too much time and money, but a study done by the National Association of Realtors concluded that staging can add up to 10% to your selling price.  For a $400,000 house, that’s an extra $40,000.  Let’s see what makes a house sell.

Clean and Fresh

One of the most important parts of preparing your home for sale is making sure it looks clean and smells fresh.  This kind of clean is less like the fifteen-minute spruce up before a friend stops by and more like the open-window, suds-bucket clean you would do on the first spring day after a long New Hampshire winter.  Clean windows, dust baseboards, steam the rugs, and deep-clean the kitchen and bathrooms.  Add a pot of rosemary or thyme in the kitchen to help your buyers imagine the kind of cooking they could do in your kitchen.  Use a clean-linen spray on the furniture to invoke childhood memories of an open-air clothesline.  If you are like me and have children, pets, and a full-time job, it might be easier and less time consuming to hire a 

cleaning company.

Less Personal, More Neutral

When buyers walk into a home, they want to be able to picture themselves living there.  Though you may feel emotionally attached to your family photo taken at Disney, your daughter’s tennis trophies, or a dried wedding bouquet, one of the best and simplest ways you can help a buyer imagine their new life in your house is by boxing up the most personal of your belongings.  You will have to pack everything up soon anyway, why not get a head start?  You can also remove magnets and carry-out menus from your refrigerator door and pack up political memorabilia. 

Light, Bright and Airy 

It may be that soft lamp-light and deep, rich colors make you feel safe and cozy.  However, buyers are most often looking for rooms that look bright and feel spacious.   Most millennials begin their search for a home online, and they are drawn to homes they would see on HGTV or in a design magazine.  Ashley Robidoux of the local design and staging company, Deb’s Decor, says that 82% of buyers base their judgment of a house on the photos they see online.  She says she arranges furniture and hangs artwork with the finished photo in mind.  “After living in your home for many years, it can be difficult to imagine it any other way,” she says, but her job is to “highlight the value and assets of each room.”  One of the benefits of having a professional do this work is that they have storage areas filled with upholstered chairs, white pillows and throws, and materials like velvet and swede.  They will bring them in for the photos and open house and take them away once you have accepted an offer.  Perhaps you always thought a white sofa would brighten your living room but have been afraid to own one.  I would be worried about where my dog would sleep!  A professional like Robidoux doesn’t have to.

The National Association of Realtors reports that 40% of buyers’ agents say that staging has an effect on most buyers.  Staging helps a buyer imagine the potential of a home and begin to see themselves starting their new life there.  Though staging costs a little time and money, both sellers’ and buyers’ agents know it makes a difference.  Whether you do the work yourself or hire a professional, staging can make all the difference.

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