Staging A Home For Sale
So your house is up for sale. It's a good house, well-priced for the neighborhood, and in decent repair. But nobody's buying. What's wrong?
The fact is, you might be looking right past the problem. You've lived in your house day in and day out, and you're accustomed to it being, well, your house. It takes a leap of faith and imagination to picture another family living within those familiar rooms. If it's hard for you to imagine someone else living in your house, then chances are, it's hard for potential buyers to imagine living there, too.
A new fad sweeping America is called "house staging." This is, essentially, "de-personalizing" a house. Staging means making small changes to decor to make it easier for potential buyers to imagine themselves and their possessions in the house. It's a subtle skill, and it works.
Staging can be a difficult process if you're still living in the home while you're showing it. But keep in mind that when it sells, you're going to be moving anyhow. Take advantage of this opportunity to start packing, and start with the things you use the least but see the most: Your decorations. It might be a little uncomfortable at first living in a house with stripped of photographs and refrigerator magnets, but it's worth the effect it will have on walk-throughs. When people see a house without personal effects, it reminds them of a showroom or a model home, and makes it easier for them to imagine their own belongings in the rooms. Think about it: Would you, as a buyer, feel more at home in a living room crowded with photos of someone else's kids, or a living room with clean walls and a vase of flowers on the table? The former makes you feel like you're intruding. The latter makes you feel the room's potential.
Speaking of walls, it's important to take a good look at your color choices. For staging purposes, soothing neutrals are the best choices for your walls. Although it's easy for a buyer to paint the house once they move in, the psychological effect of seeing paint colors that clash with their furniture or taste could cost you a sale.
Finally, staging involves one other major step: See your rooms in a new way. Just because your family has always had the computer set up in one corner of the bedroom doesn't mean it has to stay there. Do some experimenting and try putting the computer in an alcove off the front door, or behind a dining room wall. Create new, practical spaces with your furniture to show buyers the potential in each room. Try placing a small sofa or table and chair in the office and making it a sitting room instead. All houses have plenty of possibilities. The trick is finding the potential in your house, and displaying it in an effective way so buyers will be excited about making those rooms their own.
About the Author: Kirsten Hawkins is a real estate expert from Nashville, TN. Visit http://www.king-of-real-estate.com/ for more information on real estate, mortgages, and finding the house of your dream.