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10 Home staging tips anyone can try

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Written by Stefan Kostarelis

In a previous post, I introduced the concept of home staging and talked about how it has recently been catching on in Australia.

Today, I’ll introduce some tips for vendors and agents who would like to try some basic home staging techniques. All of these tips apply to homes that are already furnished and are not applicable to vacant properties.

1 – Make a good first impression

No one will consider buying a home if they can’t find it so make sure you have a clearly visible house number. You can further boost curbside appeal by power washing the exterior of the house and driveway and mowing the lawns. A shabby exterior and overgrown vegetation is a clear signal that the house is uncared for and not the first impression you want to present.

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2 – Create an inviting entrance

Make the front porch a nice place to enter the home. Add a doormat and some potted plants and porch furniture. Porch lights will increase a sense of security and make your home more visible to prospective buyers who come past in the evening.

3 – Clean and de-clutter

Every surface of the house should be scrubbed and sparkling clean, particularly the bathroom. Removing clutter is equally important because it will make the house appear more spacious. If necessary, you can store some possessions in another location, such as a friend or family member’s house (presumably with your exiled pets). There are also many professional services for storing personal items too.

4 – Remove pets

There is nothing wrong with owning and loving pets, but no sign of them should be present in an open home. Pet smells and hair is a major turn off for buyers, so you need to make sure that all traces of animals is removed. This includes things like pet toys and beds, which can be unsightly or have a bad odor.

5 – Use neutral colors

If you are repainting to sell or rent, go for neutral colors such as white, light grey, cream or beige. In rooms such as bedrooms, the linens are usually most noticeable thing so go for neutral colors there, too. Smaller items like cushions or vases can be used to give a splash of color.

6 – Remove personal effects

Potential buyers want to imagine themselves in your home so remove personal items such as trophies and family photos. Your home should be a reasonably blank slate – not barren, but just empty enough for buyers to envisage moving in one day.

7 – Keep or add art

Completely blank walls aren’t good because they make a home feel dull and lifeless. Your Artwork can stay as long as it isn’t overtly sexual, religious or offensive in any way. Abstract art like this is good. Something like this is bad. Art can be grouped together according to themes or colors and should always complement the rest of a room. As well as being decorative, paintings can serve other functions too. For example, a group of pictures hung vertically can accentuate a high ceiling.

8 – Choose the right odors

Research shows that sales improve when there is a single, uncomplicated odor in the air. You might have heard that people will buy houses that smell like cookies or coffee, but the problem is everyone else has heard that too. For this reason, buyers might think you are coming on a little too strong if you fill your home with cookie aromas. In her blog, home stager Imogen Brown cites research that suggests the best scents for selling are lemon, green tea, cedar, pine, basil or vanilla.

9 – Rearrange the furniture

The layout of furniture is one of the main causes of clutter so rearranging or removing unnecessary items is a good idea. People have a tendency to push furniture – especially sofas – flat against walls. Try moving things off the walls and creating cozy groups of furniture. This will allow potential buyers to move around the room more easily and make rooms seem larger.

10 – Experiment with lighting

As well as cleaning and creating space, you also want to add light to the house. You can bring more natural light into rooms by replacing heavy drapes with thinner curtains or blinds. In addition, you should clean all the windows and trim any foliage that is blocking sunlight. In general, you should aim for three types of light in each room – ambient (e.g. ceiling), task (e.g. a reading lamp) and accent (e.g wall). Upping the wattage of bulbs in larger areas may improve the appearance of a room and will eliminate unwelcoming dark corners.

If you would like to learn more about home staging or would like a consultation, talk to a professional. There are plenty of home stylists to choose from in South Australia so you should have no trouble finding the right one for you.