Home Staging Checklist

You’re finally taking the home into which you’ve poured heart and soul for decades and putting it on the market.  Or, you’re trying to unload an investment property to take advantage of the right opportunity.  In either case, you need to do everything you can to get maximum value for your home.

Sometimes it seems there’s too much to try and control, and you can’t.  There’s nothing you can do about the weather on the day of your open house, for example.  You cannot singlehandedly change the state of the real estate market in your area.  You can’t control the news.

There’s still a lot you can do, however, to present your home to prospective buyers in its best possible light.  Successful staging of your home to make it inviting and welcoming to buyers is not an obscure science. A few guiding principles for staging can ensure that your house “wows ’em” right from the front door.

Your buyer needs to notice your home favorably at the first moment they drive up or walk by the entrance.  Driveways need to be paved and maintained; front lawns need to seeded, weeded and mowed.  Your front door should not creak upon opening or slam upon shutting.  A backyard must be well-maintained and free of clutter or mess.     

Similarly, every room inside should greet, not repel, from its entrance.  A fresh coat of a neutral color will heighten the light in a room as well as give an opportunity to fix wall imperfections.  Furniture should only highlight the room, not overwhelm it; furniture fabrics and bedspreads need to be new-looking and well-made.

Whatever makes your home unique must be highlighted positively in your staging.  Even the largest window can look sterile without the right treatment to frame its view outside.  Spaces with high ceilings need to have comfortable air circulation.  If you have a finished basement or furnished garage, ensure that those spaces receive the same level of attention as the kitchen.

It’s important to know that this house is no longer yours, and that for all intents and purposes, you no longer live there.  Anything personal or personalized around your house will only serve to alienate the buyer.  Invest in storage of personal or heirloom items.  If your house has been decorated with antiques or one-of-a-kinds, consider also investing in some inexpensive, neutral pieces – have the buyer focus on the house, not its belongings.

Conversely, clean out any room that has served to store misfit pieces or was decorated on the cheap.  Know that buyers will look in the most unlikely of places, if not absolutely everywhere.

To really nail down your staging, take a literal step back – look at your house starting from afar.  Engage friends and relatives to pick apart, if they can, your choices and note what they notice and what impresses them.  For example, you may never notice that you hang your pictures too high until someone tells you.

Alternatively, if you’re overwhelmed with all this detail, and you can afford it, consider hiring a professional stager.

In the end, flattering, tasteful staging of your home inside and out can be a difference-maker.  Why?  Houses where buyers struggle to see a property’s best attributes will suffer in any competitive marketplace.

Well-staged homes, by contrast, will sell more quickly, at closest to desired price because they all but beg the buyer to imagine themselves living inside them, immediately.  Make sure your buyers see what attracted you to your home in the first place.  It’s an effort you won’t regret.

Thank you to Rebecca and my business friends of EZ Storage located at 7425 State Road, Philadelphia, PA 19136 for this guest post on home staging. EZ Storage_full


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