One of the amazing perks of my job is that I spend a lot of time in people’s homes and get to see them on an intimate level. As the daughter of an architect, the bones of the house fascinate me and I can’t help but visualize how the space works best. Ergonomics, feng shui, dominant-handedness, and all kinds of other details come into play when I instantly stage a house in my mind.
So let’s talk about staging. What does it actually look like?
Staging transforms a lived-in space to a polished and inviting home, one a buyer can picture themselves in. You can stage the whole space or just focus on a few challenging areas. For example, last summer my team spent a couple of days de-cluttering closets and “editing” personal items--like photos, collections, and busy desktops--in a $2-million home. Houses in the area weren’t moving, and the seller needed to sell quickly. In three days he had his offer, and he’s convinced it’s because we had transformed the space into one that was clean, organized, and clutter-free.
Order instantly relaxes you and enhances your ability to visualize. Think of how you feel when you’re house shopping and you walk through a front door into a harmonious space. You can’t help but start to imagine your life there. “And I’d put the couch against that wall, and the antique armoire there, and maybe hang some linen curtains over those French doors...” (A secondary benefit of an organized space is that it communicates to a buyer that the home is well maintained in general.)
So don’t be afraid to rearrange your furniture, art, and accessories to accent your home’s best features. Remember you’re appealing to buyers, not your own personal taste. I believe in self-staging, which uses what you already have. If you have things that are shabby or don’t work well, donate or get rid of them. Items that will accompany you to your next home but that don’t necessarily show well when staging can be packed away properly in labeled boxes and stored. This becomes a real timesaver when you move! Plus, you may find that in the process of staging you liberate yourself from items that are shoulds: Great-aunt Betty gave this to us when we got married, so we should keep it. The good news is that you only have to display or keep things you really like and that work for you--no disrespect to Great-aunt Betty.
It may sound like a lot of effort, but, for most people, a house is the largest sale they will ever make. The hidden bonus of staging your house to show off its best features is that you get to inhabit that incredible Zen space until it sells. You may appreciate it so much that you bring that vibe with you to your new place. And how fabulous would that be?