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Stage it Yourself!

Posted March 22nd, 2013 under smart selling.

Home staging has become a bit of a marketing gimmick for real estate agents, and I often see it included among an agent's services.

It makes sense to stage a home, since most homes that are currently occupied could use a bit of rearranging and sorting out. But do you really need a professional stager to make your home attractive to buyers? In my opinion, you can do a good enough job on your own.

All you need to do is walk through your home, and in every room, consider four things:

1: Space. Is there too much furniture in this room? Are any individual pieces simply too big for this room? How can I create space by removing furniture or arranging it more cleanly? Can buyers get to the window? Can they open the closet doors easily? Is the hallway free of clutter?

2: Colour. Are the colours in this room neutral enough that a buyer can visualize their own colour scheme? Strong colours interfere with the buyer's imagination. A fresh coat of paint (both walls and trim) will help you sell, but make sure it's a neutral colour.

3: Flooring. Is the flooring worn out, or does it show definite walking patterns? Sometimes, you can rearrange furniture to mask small problems. But if the flooring is obviously at the end of its lifespan, or simply looks bad, you should consider refinishing or replacing it.

4: Light Fixtures. How old are they? It's easy for light fixtures to become dated. We often don't notice, since we've become used to them over time, but for a potential buyer, they make the house look old. A few contemporary (but inexpensive!) fixtures will do wonders for a room or the entire house.

What Else?

Those four areas are easy to fix on your own, and are worth addressing in every room. Here are some more tips for two critical rooms: the bathrooms and the kitchen.

Bathrooms can become dated or worn-looking. Sometimes it pays to redo them, but it can be hard to know whether it's worthwhile because you see the bathroom several times each day.

Ask your family members or your real estate agent for their opinion. If the bathroom looks bad, a small investment can often help a lot.

The Kitchen is always a critical room, and can make or break a potential deal. However, you need to really look hard at your return on investment. Redoing the entire kitchen with expensive cupboards and counter-top might help your home sell for more, but will you recover the cost?

Sometimes the best move is to focus on making small upgrades and addressing problem areas. Remember, your goal is to get back more than you spend, not to fix every last flaw.

Summary

In summary, by using some common sense and investing a little time and money, you can "stage it yourself"—and get the job done just fine.

Want to know more about preparing your home for a showing? Just ask me, I'll be happy to help.

--Peter

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