A couple of times in your life you may need to sell a house. If you do, try to remember the advice in this book. It could be worth several thousands of dollars for a few hours of your time. The message is simple: when it comes time to sell your home, strip it of all the things that make it a personalized home, and turn it into a bland product that can be personalized by someone else. This book, the best of about half a dozen on the same theme, provides simple ideas on how to reduce your home to a house. The same philosophy also applies to rental property.Most of us pack after we sell. But when you Stage your house for sale, it’s just the opposite: I want you to pack up early, before you list the house. You’re going to be packing anyway, and your house will sell faster is you pack now.
Packing early clears your rooms and makes it easy for buyers to mentally move in. No matter how lovely your things are, start packing for the next place you’ll live. You don’t have to pack everything, but get a head start. You’ll be moving soon!
Rent a storage space or use a corner of the basement, the attic, or a protected crawl space or garage. (Don’t put your stuff in the carport; in a Staged home, the carport is for the car and nothing else.) As a last resort, if there is a third or fourth bedroom you’re not using, use it for storage. This is not ideal, but it does work. Keep the room organized, the boxes neatly stacked, and any larger items folded in the corner of the room.
If you don’t replace worn carpet (“We’ll let the buyers replace it when they move in”), remember: Buyers only know what they see, not the way it’s going to be. Most buyers have very little imagination.. They won’t be able to imagine a different carpet in the home. That’s why I recommend buying new carpet yourself, instead of taking an allowance off the price of your house. Most buyers will keep looking for a house with fresh carpeting rather than going through the mental gymnastics of cutting a deal with you.
Staging is not decorating. Decorating means personalizing your space; staging is depersonalizing it. Staging is not about the ruffles you love or your favorite color rug. Staging is about getting a property sold. Decorating is optional. Staging is mandatory.
The way you live in your home and the way you sell your house are two different things. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t know what clean really is, ask a persnickety friend to come over and point out things that need attention.
My Staging mantra is “Less is more.” You’re selling your space, not your stuff. All those little tchotchkes? Pitch ‘em, pack ‘em, but whatever you do, put them away or out of sight.
With personalized clutter.
Staged, without personalized stuff.
In marketplace terms, your house is merchandise. In Hollywood terms, your house is the set. You’re Staging it to look appealing, just like the set in a movie. Your favorite television show has a set you remember and connect with. Your house is a set too.