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Shelley Trost

If you plan to sell your house this summer, I’m sure you’re looking to sell it fast and at, or above, your asking price. Let me share with you one of the best tools you can use to get your home sold fast…

Home staging is basically making your home look lived-in, but still looked-after. Staging makes your home look brighter, cleaner, warmer, bigger and can even bump up the price by a few points.

A stager knows the mind of a home buyer well enough to make minor changes for a serious face lift.  Potted plants on the porch, bowls of fresh fruit all can change a buyer’s perception and intention. This gets new homeowners through the door, and you out of it, much quicker.

Here are 21 staging tricks for the most vital of spaces:

Exterior:

Before touring a home, a buyer will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding if it’s worth a look inside. Here’s how to attract onlookers:

  • Power wash the siding, walkways and driveway. The goal is to see your face in that concrete.
  • Hang easy-to-read house numbers.
  • Hide trash cans, garden hoses and yard equipment.
  • Put out a hammock or bocce ball game or raised fire pit to show off relaxing fun.
  • Mind the curb appeal: Pull-up overgrown weeds or dead plants, mow the lawn and dress it up with mulch or fresh sod.
  • Keep porch lights cobweb-free and glowing throughout the evening.

Living room:

The most important room to buyers is the one where the family can unwind.

  • Rearrange your furniture keeping symmetry in mind. Pull furniture off the walls and use pairs of sofas, accent pillows, chairs, lamps, etc. to create an inviting conversation area.
  • Remove a few pieces of furniture to make the room feel spacious.
  • Use your accent pillows and throw blankets for a splash of color.
  • Evoke family game nights: Display a board game on the coffee table, and arrange furniture in conversational groups.

Kitchen:

The second most important place for your family will need a scrub-down:

  • Get your house sparkling clean from shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout.
  • Pack up all the dishes except one attractive, matching set. Do the same with glassware, flatware and cookware, and pare down all other cupboard and drawer items to a minimum.
  • Now, appliances: Do they need a good scrubbing or to be replaced with a new model? If it's the second, The Real Estate Staging Association strongly recommends stainless steel. Tip: You can buy stainless steel film for a cheap cost with the same look.
  • Display a few jars of fancy jam and other upscale condiments. Countertops should have a vase of flowers or fresh fruit.

Around the House:

A few miscellaneous tips to upgrade corners and spaces, and get it ready for the market.

  • If a space or corner is dark, add mirrors. They add depth and multiply the lighting.
  • Fill nicks and holes in walls, and touch up with paint.
  • Paint over dark-colored walls and wood paneling with a neutral color, like white or beige.
  • Avoid dead space: Replace those family portraits with interesting art. Abstract canvases fill the walls to help the buyer imagine displaying their own collection.
  • For a warm, inviting look, update exterior carriage lights, fans and other fixtures. Swap dim lights for high-wattage bulbs.
  • Keep closets, basements and garages decluttered for the appearance of storage space.
  • Beware pet odors and chew-toys and hide anything left behind by pets.

The age-old secret of baking cookies before showing a home may be effective, but it’s not all you can do to improve your odds. Try out these staging tips and let us know which ones worked for you!

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