A consultation with a Home Stager (and actually following their advice!) can mean the difference of thousands of dollars in your pocket. This article will discuss what staging is and how it helps. We’ll also reveal how you can get a professional staging consultation by listing with Retiring in Williamsburg’s Rolf Kramer, of Liz Moore and Associates.
What IS staging? Staging involves neutralizing and depersonalizing your home so that more potential buyers can envision themselves living there. Furthermore, a home with furniture shows much better than a home with none and a home that is slightly decorated shows much better than a home that is over decorated. Staging while you live in your home involves using your own furniture and staging an empty house usually involves renting furniture. Staging is making your home a Showcase Home: making it show very well with clearly defined conversational groupings, clearly defined room uses, and an idea of what someone ELSE’s stuff would look like there. In fact, here is a tip: Set out a floor plan with dimensions – buyers will be able to see exactly what they’re getting and envision their furniture in the space.
What can you expect in a home-staging consultation? We interviewed “Trez” Robinson, owner and professional stager of “Staged 2 Sell Virginia.” Trez says that she, typically, does a 1 ½ hour consultation for each property. She walks through the house, touching, moving, pointing, and suggesting small fixes, touchups, and helps the owner know where to spend his time and money. She’s even been known to pick up a hammer and move a picture or give a folding-a-towel-lesson, on the spot. Trez assesses your furniture, accessories, lighting, and clutter, and give you suggestions to highlight your home’s strengths and downplay its weaknesses. Her goal is to create warm, inviting, and neutral spaces that appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers. For most houses, here are the basic tips:
- Get rid of extra furniture. Don’t overcrowd a room with furniture that is too large for the space or leave too many pieces in one room; it will only make the room appear small and cramped. If you are going to be living in your home, while trying to sell it, expect to be asked to get rid of HALF of it. Wow! With half of your furniture, you might really enjoy living in your bigger home!
- Conversational groups and flow. Don’t create furniture groupings by pushing all the furniture against the walls: float furniture away from the walls into cozy conversational groups and make sure that groups are obvious. This will open up the room and make it seem larger. Make sure you create uses of awkward spaces, too. The simple addition of a comfortable armchair, a small table and a lamp in a stairwell nook will transform it into a cozy reading spot. Junk room. Every house has one, but if you are selling: donate, dump, and repurpose that room.
- Lighting. Many of our homes are improperly lighted for marketing the home. To remedy this, increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures. Aim for a total of 100 watts for each 50 square feet. Make sure you have ambient (overhead), task (under-cabinet or reading) and accent (table or wall).
- Don’t hang your art in a high line (as most of us do). Most art encircles each room in an obvious line. Vary the pattern, height, and grouping of art pieces.
- Accessorize. Use groups of three accessories, and don’t line them up – place them in a triangle and make sure that there is some variance to the height and scale (put the largest item at the back and the smallest in front and widest to the side). For maximum effect, group accessories by color, shape, texture or some other unifying element.
- Flowers. Raid your yard to make sure you have fresh flowers adding splashes of cheerful color.
- Storage. Clean out your closets. Clean out your medicine cabinet and kitchen cabinets. Put all seasonal items in storage and only leave your favorites (usually your best, anyway). Get rid of clutter and only leave an advertisement for the cabinet (a few things on each shelve – neatly stacked and sorted into threes). Again, you want to show buyers storage, not a lack of storage. Storage sells houses.
- Unfinished projects. Finish them. Missing floorboards and large cracks in the sidewalk on the way to your door tend to be a red flag, for example, and they cost you less to fix than buyers might deduct from the asking price.
- Paint and Carpeting. Trez says “if you have been thinking ‘We should really replace the carpet in the family room or it is time to repaint’ don’t put it off, any longer.”
After doing staging for over 100 of homes a year, Trez tells us that most of her comments and suggestions fall into two categories: clutter and lighting, and during a consultation she’ll focus on those and de-personalization of the home. She can come back with a crew to finish it for the homeowner or let them tackle the projects, themselves. Either way, staging works. How well? During the summer of 2013, staged houses will sell in ½ the time, according to Trez. The investment in staging is far less than a price reduction on the sales price of your home, or the additional cost of keeping your house on the market. Retiring in Williamsburg says “Staging works and staging sells!” Now, it is your turn to say “Yes! Stage My Home!” because as part of the “At No Cost to You” services that come with listing with Liz Moore, you get a consultation with a professional stager, home inspection and an appraisal. These valuable perks go a long way to making sure you price your home appropriately to sell faster.
Thinking about selling? Start the process, now, so I can help you assess current market expectations and what needs to be done to your home in order to get the most money, possible, from the sale.
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Rolf Kramer, REALTOR®, ABR, SRES, e-PRO
Licensed in Virginia
Liz Moore and Associates,
5350 Discovery Park Blvd.
Williamsburg, VA 23188
Williamsburg has become a Mecca for retirees over the past dozen years because of its history, charm, vacation amenities, proximity to major cities and airports, and affordable cost of living. Check out www.retiringinwilliamsburg.com for information about the Williamsburg community, lifestyles available, and search for homes for sale.