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Home Staging 101

Home staging is a technique anyone can use to help their home get noticed by buyers.  The idea is to arrange furniture and other items in the home to reflect unspecific ideal spaces. The goal is for each room to be pleasant and attractive, but generic enough that people can easily imagine themselves living there.

Imagine your home is a blank stage in a theater. How do you make a room into a bedroom? What items define the space? How do you arrange them so that they look good, accentuate the room’s best features, and make people feel comfortable?

Floor Plan
Work with your furniture to find the best arrangement – this is not the best arrangement for you and your life, but the one that makes the room look good to buyers, so try moving pieces around.  Remove pieces from crowded rooms and add pieces to empty rooms.  Too much furniture makes a room appear smaller.  Strangely, empty rooms also appear smaller; furniture helps to provide perspective.  Use furniture to highlight selling features; for example, placing a seating area by the fireplace or stools by the bar countertop.

Decorate Generically
Place decorative items to draw attention around the room and bring warmth; bare walls, tabletops, and shelves appear stark and uninviting. Use decorative items sparingly, as too much becomes clutter. Choose items that bring color and light to the space without being taste-specific.  Landscapes, colorblock abstracts, and still-lifes (like you see in hotels and waiting rooms) are typical examples of neutral art.  Mirrors, candles, vases, pillows, plants, and flowers are also safe decorations that can add some interest without pushing a specific style aesthetic.

Call for Backup
If your skills are not design-oriented and the thought of home staging causes you stress, it’s ok! You don’t have to do this alone.  Do a bit of networking.  The odds are pretty good that someone you know (or someone they know) might be willing to help you out.  You can also check out design shows on TV or the web, design magazines, even the furniture store showrooms for inspiration.  Some realtors can be a big help with home staging, or you could hire a professional home stager or local interior designer. Design students are also a great resource, and many will do the work for dramatically lower fees, or simply the opportunity to add it to their design portfolio.

Keep Clean
After the home is staged, cleanliness is key.  This doesn’t mean you can’t live in your own home, but always keep in mind that the more you show the home, the better your chances of selling it.  Whenever possible, try to erase the signs of occupation.  Fluff the pillows and wipe the mirrors (and whatever else you can manage) before each showing to make the best impression on buyers.

In a competitive market, staging is a valuable technique for sellers.  Home staging can cost next to nothing, while making your home stand out.  Combined with proper decluttering and good paint, staging will help generate traffic and interest, and ultimately help sell your home!

Want to find out if you have what it takes to be a Real Estate Agent or Broker?

About The Author: Tom Davidson is the acting Director of Sales & Operations for Express Schools, LLC. Since 1996 the companies under this banner have offered online real estate licensing and insurance licensing courses as well as online real estate exam prep and insurance exam prep.

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