Savvy Home Staging

By Keron Weathered

Quick Tips for Selling Your House Faster – 

If you are like most of us, it is difficult to envision the potential of a stripped-bare home. Rooms look too big or too small, the place echoes – which is never a homey sound – and Realtors or builders who verbally paint a picture of the finished beauty have an uphill battle. 

On the other hand, homeowners who have thrown open their doors with their belongings intact have also found it challenging to capture a buyer’s interest.  What gives? Well, it’s like the story of Goldilocks. One has too little furnishings, the other way too much! The “just right” approach is an art form called home staging, and here are some general guidelines:

Define the Focal Point

Find the “focal point” of each room and design the “flow” to instantly draw the buyer’s eye there. Keep furniture and accessories to the unadorned basics, and strategically place them to empha-size the flow and heighten the feeling of spaciousness.

How do you find the focal point?  A tip is to watch a person’s eyes when they first enter the room. Their gaze will immediately land on the “focal point” of the room. Is this what you wanted them to see? If not, then it’s a home staging flaw.

Make it a Clutter-Free Zone

Get rid of clutter that takes away from a dramatic focal point like a fireplace or backyard vista. These are your beloved possessions, so why is it clutter? It disrupts the room’s flow or distracts buyers from the focal point.

Often clutter is a judgment call that requires a professional designer. For example, art on the walls can be a lovely touch to pop a room and heighten spaciousness. Too much art, like coordinating pieces that line an entire length of wall, turns the room into a gallery. If the focal point is the waterfall pool out of the two-story arched window, you have distracted your buyer.

Get “Un”personal

Personal touches that make it your home will most assuredly cause discomfort for house hunters. Why?  Because they feel like they are trespassing.  One framed family photograph on a console is appropriate; five will remind them that it is someone else’s dwelling. You want your buyer to feel like it could be their dream house right now!

Even the tiny details of bath mats and half-used soap are too personal.  It’s a subconscious reminder that people still live in the home.  A pair of lovely folded towels? Yes. Toothbrushes and a hair dryer left out? No.

Go Light and Bright

Keep enough lamps and lighting to emphasize the focal aspects of the room or brighten if the outside light is minimal. If there are floor or table lamps you are not turning on for a prospective buyer, then remove them.

Area rugs will soften a tile or wood floor. A plant or floral will add just the right homey touch. But a window sill lined with herbs or cacti or a collection of thimbles becomes personal clutter.

Stage to Sell

So what if the homeowner already removed the furniture and relocated? What if it’s a newly built home? Builders and realtors often hire a designer to choose just enough rental furnishings to make the house a home. This is a win-win on all accounts: The buyer sees the potential of each room, the designer displays her talents and the home sells quickly. If the new homeowner falls in love with some of the artistically placed pieces, it also benefits the local furniture store that leased them to the designer.

Can you home stage yourself?  Sure.  Just make sure to keep the result clean, simple, flowing and soft and enhance the focal points. Overwhelmed at the artistic effort and energy that home staging requires? Then hire a professional designer by the hour or by the project.