Getting ready to put your home on the market can be overwhelming for sellers. There are a lot of moving pieces in terms of what types of updates are necessary, when to list and most importantly, how to make your listing stand out. Whether you will be living in your home while it’s listed or if the property is vacant, the best way to be the most attractive listing is with home staging.

Living in the space while it’s on the market, or what is referred to as an owner occupied property, can be challenging for potential buyers. We all have the cabinet in the kitchen that is overflowing with mis- matched Tupperware containers and the storage closet full of 48 rolls of toilet paper from Costco – you’re in good company here! But, there’s also the photos of family vacations, sports team paraphernalia and “beloved but specific” artwork that distract buyers as they go on a home tour.

Rules of Staging: Owner Occupied

A standard rule for any owner occupied property is to remember that how we live in a home is not how we stage a home. As buyers walk through an owner occupied property, they need to be able to visualize themselves in this space, so creating a welcoming environment while neutralizing is key. It is important to sell that vision to buyers so they can connect with the space as they visit an open house. To do this, there are three golden rules of owner occupied staging.

Rule #1 -Reduce, reduce, reduce. If you’re outgrowing your space, it will be very apparent by the excess stuff and lack of storage. Before listing your home, reduce what is there. Buyers will be opening closet doors, kitchen cabinets and drawers. Remove and store out-of-season clothing, the kitchen mixer that only gets used twice a year and the hand-me-down chair that is forced awkwardly into a living room layout. You’re selling a vision, so clean out the clutter and let the features of your home shine.

Rule #2-Too much color can be a bad thing. If your space has a lot of bold colors, you must repaint. Most new builds and high-end construction are a uniform neutral or white color throughout the entire home. This lightens and brightens a space. Same can be said with colorful furniture and bedding. Layering larger neutral pieces such as sofas and beds with pops of strategically placed color is what you should be creating for the most ideal and cohesive look.

Rule #3-To get top dollar, make necessary repairs and any cosmetic updates as your budget allows. Spending a little money can go along way. While Fixer Upper and Property Brothers are fun to watch, the reality is th majority of buyers want a move in ready home. So change out that ceiling fan to a fixture that is more current trending, update cabinetry with new hardware and please fix that leaking shower head!

Staging: Vacant Properties

It can be equally challenging to sell a vacant property. When a space is empty buyers struggle to see furniture placement or layout. Awkward or small spaces tend to stick out like a sore thumb. Wear and tear and outdated finishes are also more obvious to buyers. Staging a home helps eliminate these issues. Adding appropriately sized furniture to a vacant room will make a space look larger. A well styled property will downplay older finishes, worn carpet and nails holes left after all pictures are taken down. Plus, giving a buyer a place to sit down will keep them in your property longer to ponder how great it would be to live there.

Staging can even help before buyers step foot in the door of a property. How??!! The key is getting the best online photos. If a listing doesn’t have good photos, the seller’s agent will quickly lose buyers from the start. With house hunting as easy as a click to the next listing, it is important that your space grabs buyer’s attention. All of our stagers at HAVEN are trained to set up a space to maximize the listing photograph. We want to create the best photo we can to get buyers in the door and in to your listing so the agent can sell! Sell! SELL!

Finding a Staging Company

So where to begin if you want to hire a home staging company? What should you look for when deciding who is going to help you stage your most valuable investment?

  1. View a companies website or ask for examples of their work. Do you like what you see? Make sure the furniture and accessories are current trending and well maintained. Tired looking or dated furniture is not going to help you sell your property.
  2. Does the company carry their own inventory or rent from a third source? Companies that carry their own inventory have more control over the finished product. A cohesive look is a must!
  3. Look for a company that offers a wide range of services that can help with any staging need you may have. Many companies do not cater to clients who live in their property during the sales process and choose only to work with vacant properties. Plus, there are many services beyond typical staging that can help during the entire sales process including organizing, move-in services or even design help when you transition into your new home.
  4. Look at the terms of the contract. How long is the contract for? What does it cover? Make sure it is detailed so you feel comfortable understanding the service you will be receiving.

Staging is a relatively new industry with two-thirds of home staging companies across the nation only having been in business for 10 years or less. But, this exciting trend is here to stay as proven by the great success that well styled properties have shown. Haven’t drank the home staging Kool Aid yet? Well you might want to consider it as your competition likely has!

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