4 Cs of Home Staging–Clutter, Clean, Competition and Change.

Sellers, you are getting ready to put your home on the market. Before your Realtor comes over to list it, there are steps you can take to stage it for maximum buyer appeal. I have talked with home sellers who insist that the “buyer needs to know that my home is lived in and how I live. I’m not changing anything.” I going to tell you right now–that is wrong thinking. The buyer needs to imagine themselves in your home and that requires your help. There are thousands of tips on home staging but I’m going to boil it down to just a four steps with some stellar examples of each.

The 4 Cs of Home Staging:

Clutter, Clean, Competition and Change.

Clutter is most important and that means inside, outside, in every corner, in every drawer and especially each closet. Opening a closet and having your possessions spill out ala “Fibber McGee’s Closet” will definitely turn off a potential buyer. That may mean putting things in storage while your home is on the market. My mother in law used to say that three moves are as good as a fire. What she meant was after moving three times, you have pared your things down to the bone. Well, don’t wait until you move. De-clutter now before your home is listed.

Potential buyers don’t want to know anything about you. They want to imagine themselves in the home you are selling. If you have nick knacks, put them away. If you have family photos or religious symbols, put them away. Collections, you got it, put them away. Now does that mean that a charming collection of vintage suitcases or a beautiful rug can’t work? They can, but use them to stage and define the space. For instance, if your home is going to be viewed empty, a lovely area rug can define the space. A stack of vintage suitcases or an antique table with a single interesting book or vase of flowers atop it can be inviting. If you’re still living in your home, the same concept applies. The important thing to remember is: Take “your personal” out of it. Let the potential buyer imagine themselves in your space. This also means, putting rooms back to their original intent. Make sure each room has its intentionally defined purpose. If you are using the dining room for an office, put it back to a dining room.

Clean, clean and clean again. Corners, drawers, closets and yes, under the bed should be squeaky clean. That’s the most difficult part of home staging and keeping the home viewing ready. The cleaning is constant–no dirty dishes in the sink, laundry folded and put away, outside landscaping trim and clear of leaves and branches and windows clean. If you have pets, make sure fur is vacuumed daily and litter box is out of sight.

Competition.  There are a growing number of buyers in the market and your home is just one of many that the potential buyer will view. According to studies conducted by the National Association of Realtors, over 82% of all home buyers begin their search online. With that kind of competition, yours has to be staged right from the start. Whether you do a little staging or a major upheaval, make the changes that highlight the best features of each room. You originally bought the home for good reason and so will a potential buyer if you stage it correctly.

Change. The home selling process is a change and there is no way of getting around it. You’re changing, the potential buyer is changing and your thinking must change as well. Potential buyers are extremely judgmental and you can’t blame them. It may be the largest investment they may ever made in their lives and probably the largest source of debt, too. Selling a home is an educated chance by the Realtor, too. A good agent will try to find the perfect fit you and a potential buyer. They will interview them, find out their needs and guide them toward appropriate properties. In the end it is a change for everyone and you only get one chance to make a first impression. So make it good and make it sell.

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