How to stage your home for a quick sale

Well, hi there! Gosh, it’s been so long! But do I have some useful tips to pass onto you so we’ll just say it was worth the wait.

Since I last wrote for this blog I’ve been raising a very sweet but insanely active little boy named Harrison. He has kept me very occupied and what little spare time I’ve had in the last few months has gone towards our client’s projects. So, to all of my 5 loyal subscribers out there, thank you for your patience!

But that’s not all! In the time between my last post and now my husband and I have also packed up and sold our last house within a week (with a 5 month old baby keep in mind – just call me Wonder Woman) and bought and fully renovated a new house. Well, in the loads of spare time I had with a new baby before we sold the house (for the naive, this is a joke), I managed to pick up some great tips for assisting your Realtor in selling your home quickly through organization and decorating.

First of all, pack away any clutter you might have. This doesn’t mean shoving it into kitchen drawers or under beds because possible buyers will look in these spots. Spend $50 on a few storage totes, fill them up and put them in your basement, attic, garage or shed. Fill them with everything around the house that isn’t an appealing modern decoration or something you use often. This could be anything from unused spare blankets to small figurines or old fashioned collectibles that might deter younger buyers from seeing a modern residence.

Take down most or all of your personal photos you have around the house. You want the buyer to picture themselves in the home, not constantly be reminded that you still live there with visits from your awkward-smiling great aunt Martha or booger-nosed nephew. On the same note, take down any signs you have with your names on them and pack them away with the totes.

Go through your kitchen. Clean off your counters so buyers can see how much counter space you’re offering. Organize your dishes and glasses to demonstrate that there is a lot of room in your cupboards. This might mean putting some away temporarily. Organize your pantry as best as you can and try to contain any smelly foods that might turn some people off. If you are selling your fridge with the house, clean it and keep it organized. And seeing how it’s almost Halloween, try to get rid of the fake “It” head you’ve been storing in there to freak out your kids… you might send your buyers running!

Go through your closets and fold all your clothes. A great way for buyers to see how much storage you have, even if you have very little, is to keep your closets looking tidy and free of clutter on the floor of the space.

A new coat of paint would certainly help freshen up the walls around your home, especially after pulling all those pictures off the wall, but it’s not necessary. Not everyone (including myself) has time to paint so just make sure that there aren’t a lot of marks or scratches on the walls with high visibility. I went around with a small paintbrush and touched up those rough spots and took a magic eraser on the others.

Move your furniture around to make the room appear more inviting. How in the world do you do that!? It’s not easy for everyone. That’s why designers like myself exist. You can check out my blog “Back to the Basics: Form and Layouts” for some ideas on layouts - but for the quick answer just follow these simple tips: don’t block any windows or doors with your furniture, space out your room so that you can walk cleanly through all paths, and take out any furniture that appears to be causing congestion.

Lastly, stage your house. You’ve already begun by following all my previous tips, but this time you’re going to add some pieces to your room. You can search around your home and find some nice decorative pieces or go out a buy some new ones. Staging can be anything from adding a few colourful pillows to a drab room or putting a large bowl filled with pine cones in the middle of a huge, empty table. Put up some new wall art in replace of the bare wall and maybe put a few decorative soaps and hand towels in the bathroom. You don’t want your house to look like YOU live in it but you want it to appear lived in so that others can see the potential for their future there. Truthfully, unless you hire a designer to have it professionally decorated or have that crafty bone to DIY the task, all you can do is simply whatever you can do. Any effort usually looks better than no effort!

Now that I’ve bossed you around this much, time to put you to work! Because you’re not busy enough, right? Finally the day has come that you have a showing scheduled for your house. This is where I go the extra mile, keeping in mind that I’ve sold 3 homes within a 2 week period in the last 5 years so I’d like to think I’m good at it now. Even if these people aren’t your buyers, follow these steps to ensure your visitors are having a pleasant house hunting experience (because remember, it’s not just the buyer who is interested in your home, it’s also the Realtor who has many other potential clients).

On the day of:

Don’t cook smelly food that day. No one wants to walk in on garlic or fish. In fact, I like to bake the morning before a showing if I have time to give the house a fresh, sweet cookie smell.

Turn on the coffee maker and leave a note for the visitors to help themselves. Especially if it is their second walk through.

If it is nice out, open the windows and get a fresh breeze through the house. If it is winter and you have a fireplace, throw in a log and get that warm wood burning smell and heat pumping through the house.

This one is obvious: make the beds as elegant as you possibly can and tidy everything off the floor around the house.

If you can take your pets with you, that is the best option. If not, a crate will do just fine. And don’t worry, they will forgive you once you bring them home some treats!

You can’t expect to apply all of these suggestions and sometimes it’s just not realistic to have all the dishes put away before someone comes, especially if it’s a last minute call. But if you can accomplish some of these tasks before you put your house on the market, then you’re on your way to selling your home as quickly as possible.

And if you get stuck, don’t hesitate to give us a call. For a small fee, Senecal-Ennis Designs can come to your house for a consultation and get you on the right path to a beautiful, clutter-free staged home.

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