Home Staging: Make More $$$, FASTER!

There are less than 1,000 homes on the market on the LA Westside. 

Yet there are many, many, many more buyers.

Making your home stand out among the best is the key to getting it sold for top dollar.

And home staging is one great way to make it stand out.

 In today’s seller’s market — a market where there are dramatically fewer homes for sale than there are buyers — anything you can do to elevate your home above the crowd will increase your chances of selling for top dollar.  Home staging is one great way to do that.

Before even thinking about how to stage your home to sell, though, you have to let go of your emotional ties.  From now on, your home is just a house. 

You want your prospective buyers to picture themselves crowded around their table in your dining room, opening presents under the tree in the living room, kids chasing each other down the hall.  You want them to picture your house as their home.

To help paint your prospective buyers that picture, you should stage your home.  Armed with a few simple tips described below, you can try your hand at it yourself.  Or, you can hire a professional home stager.  You’ll pay a good-sized fee, but it may pay off well if it allows you to sell your home more quickly and for more money.

In general, you’ll want to focus your staging efforts on the “feature rooms” – the living and dining rooms, kitchen, and master bedroom.  Additional bedrooms are best left minimally furnished – or empty, if you have to.  More specific rules of the road include:

Rule of the road #1:  Keep it neutral

Depersonalize your house by removing family photos, trophies, posters, and other highly personalized decorations.  Remember, you want prospective buyers to imaging their family photos adorning the stair well.

Bright, loud colors, anything animal stripes, or patterns from a bygone decade are definite no-no’s.  To be safe, keep your colors and styles neutral.  Soft, warm tones and tasteful decorations – the kind you might see in a magazine ad – are your best bet. 

Rule of the road #2: Re-decorate with likely buyers in mind

If you live in a community with mostly older folks, decorating your extra bedroom as a nursery doesn’t make sense.  If you live in a community with a lot of young families, maybe it does.  Remember your ultimate goal: to make it easy for your prospective buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home.

Rule of the road #3: Less is more

Lots of decorations – even if they’re neutral and geared toward your likely buyers – will overwhelm your visitors.  Generally, less is more.  You want your house to look lived in and cozy, but not over-cluttered.  There are a few must-dos:

  • Remove at least 25% of the existing decorations from built-in shelves, cabinets, and countertops – that will highlight those important features
  • Clear high-traffic areas of excess furnishings to maximize the feeling of space
  • Remove rugs, extra furniture, and knickknacks from every room
  • In the kitchen, take everything off the counters, including appliances, except for the coffee maker

Rule of the road #4: Set the dining room table

One of the most enduring memories of home – for most of us – revolves around the dining room table.  Help your prospective buyers imagine their families gathered around the table for a feast by setting it up.  Placemats, plates, flatware, glasses – a tasteful vase of flowers – will go a long way.

Rule of the road #5: Arrange the furniture to show off each room’s best features

In home staging, practicality, usefulness, and comfort take a back seat to attractiveness.  Arrange furniture and decorations in each room to highlight the room’s best features.   Emphasize vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, French doors, and hardwood floors – all the unique aspects of your house – by making sure they’re not obscured or overshadowed by plants, furnishings, rugs, or heavy paint.

If you decide to stage your home yourself, take a tour through some builders’ model homes, which are almost always staged by professional decorators.  A model home is staged with exactly the same goals as yours and following the same rules.  Bring along your camera and snap some photos.  Even if you copy the decorations, no one will know (or care) – and you’ll be way ahead of the game on the staging front.

The real estate experts at LAWestsideHomeValues can help you stage your home as well as recommend professional home stagers.  For a free, no-obligation listing consultation, call our office at 310-403-7381 or e-mail us at info@LAWestsideHomeValues.com today.