5 Effective Actions to Take Before Home Staging- For Motivated Sellers Only!

Let's just cut to the chase. There is a sweet recipe for Home Staging success, and while you can personalize your Staging plan to suit your goals- there are certain basic ingredients that you can't get around implementing if you want a sweet deal. First thing is first- get rid of your clutter! Let's get started...

1. Trash or donate the things you haven't used or worn in over a year. It's important not to wait to sell before beginning the moving process. ((Ever read or watch The Secret??) I'm all about the Law of Attraction...)) This is especially important for clothing and shoes in the attic, garage or basement. Yes, these spaces sit in our blind spots but they make the home feel heavy and will keep you complacent thinking about the drag it will be to get moving. These storage spaces easily get filled with things you think you may need or swear you'll make use of...some day. Well that day has come, and you can make use of them by giving it away to someone who will make use of them.

This is such a great phase of purging because you're not only creating less hassle for yourself on moving day, you're allowing others to use what you have been storing for all types of psychological reasons I won't get into right now! This may be the hardest project to get through, but it really is uplifting to 'let it go'...and once you do, great things will come. Just attack one room a weekend. And if there is still a lot of junk at end of day that your brain is not allowing you to part with...HOST A YARD SALE! There is nothing more motivating than making $$$ and 'tis the season. Ask friends for help and let them take whatever leftovers they want!

2. Take inventory of the items deemed worthy of moving with you- the irreplaceable sentimental and/or expensive items and pack it up. This step is working simultaneously with step 1. Your priority should be to clear space on the walls and floors, because these are important selling features. The furniture that takes up half your living room and makes it hard to walk freely in that space, making it harder to see the walls in the room, you know- the rooms of that house you're trying to sell- Store it away! Whatever is it- clear it and store it away! Now that you have extra space (after STEP 1) to place your moving boxes, you'll be organized and half the battle has been won! (You also don't want families previewing your home and accidentally breaking any sentimental or expensive things.) Now- If you have a room dedicated to exercising for example, don't pack up your equipment just yet. You want your potential buyer to see what the possibilities are for utilizing extra rooms, especially if you have nothing to stage them with.

Home Staging is about creating a clean lifestyle vignette, and a fresh flow of energy is needed to inspire the next homeowners and guide them through your home effortlessly. Clean means Fresh, fresh feels new and new seems like Less Problems for potential buyers. You want them to feel confident when picturing themselves living in this home, don't you? Great! Because that is the purpose of home staging even if the home is a bit older. Your furniture shouldn't be the focal point, the structural bones should. The hard part is getting the buyer to envision themselves living there instead of you, but this builds emotional value in your home and gets the investment wheels turning.

3. Get a Cleaning Service. It is without a doubt worth every penny, and if you're working with a real estate agent they may decide to front the cash to have your home cleaned for you. They get that money back when the home sells so it's a win-win- and it never hurts to negotiate that into your contract. On the other hand, if the task seems overwhelming to a FSBO/DIYer and you have a clan of willing and able bodies that can help power through it- have a pizza party to clean & detail your house (inside and out) and catch up with your favorite people. It really doesn't get better than that. PS- this step is imperative if you have pets. Please trust me on this.

4. Get a Second opinion from a home staging professional OR someone you trust who doesn't already live in your home. After you've decluttered, cleaned and depersonalized every room, you will see more of the bones of the house and that's a good thing. But because you've lived there for a while, certain things will go unnoticed which is why you need a mutual outside perspective and second pair of eyes. You'll want to know what features of your home stand out during a home tour that need polishing, updating or fixing. It could be something as fun as painting walls back to neutral colors, or something as simple as replacing any ineffective outdated light fixtures. People like bright airy well-lit homes over dark, crowded dingy spaces. - Captain Obvious signing off.

5. Make a List of all the things they notice and create a Master Plan of Attack to make improvements of your biggest priorities at low cost and over a month or two's time. If you are handy, perfect! If you're not, hire someone who is reputable and licensed. And make sure that any major home renovations have earned the proper CO's (Certificate of Occupancy) to avoid any hiccups down the road. Ask your Realtor or Stager for a list of resources that will help get it done- they get discounts from vendors all the time and they'll keep you on schedule. Your perfect transaction is all about timing.

Now it's time to Stage your Home! You can leave this to the pros or you can attempt it on your own. Either way, I'm here to help! Clicking this link will lead you to the next blog where I get into further detail about home staging while getting ready for an OPEN HOUSE! Don't worry, this is the fun part. Just remember, keep it neutral in every sense of the word.

*If you're not working with a Realtor, you should seriously consider finding a reputable brokerage. The benefits outweigh your fear of the unknown, and once you've found the right agent, they will work closely with you to check off all these tedious tasks.

Vida Abreu is a Realtor and Home Stager in the Long Island/Queens area with Coldwell Banker Real Estate, in Babylon, NY. Call for a free Staging consultation or Home Value Assessment. 631-274-7988 Follow me @vidasellshomes on Twitter for news and updates on the market.

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