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Home Staging for an Open House

Updated on October 8, 2012
In staging your home, you will want neutral art work rather than personal family and vacation photos.
In staging your home, you will want neutral art work rather than personal family and vacation photos.

Getting Ready for the Open House

Home Staging is a relatively new idea in the marketplace. Although you may have bought and sold properties in the past, home staging is an idea that has shown proven results. From working with home stagers, I have learned a few ideas that you may want to consider.

First, consider the experience of the visitor. The experience of visiting your home begins with the drive and approach to the front door. You may have a wonderful home, but if they are turned off on the approach, your efforts will not produce much. Simple things like making sure the lawn is groomed and orderly often go a long way. Prior to the open house, you will want to make sure your yard is not only cut, but also watered.

If you have landscaping details, you will want to make sure that they are in order. Any lawn or yard ornaments will need to be closely scrutinized. Although you may like the gnomes, pink flamingos, Bodhisattva and St. Francis, those ‘personal’ touches may be a turn off for potential buyers. You will also want to remove any children’s toys or distractions from the yard. Your yard, like your home will need to be clean, orderly and impersonal.

On entering your home, you will want the potential buyer to begin imagining themselves living there. That means the personal pictures, mementos and paintings will need to be reconsidered. It is best to have tasteful, yet impersonal art on the walls. In some larger cities, art can be rented from the local libraries for low or no cost. The furniture will need to be clean in good repair. Some home stagers rent furniture for the showing. You can rent furniture for a week or short term from many locations. The expense of renting furniture often pays off with faster results.

You will want the colors of your home to be neutral. The outlandish and overly bright often appeal to a limited population. Fresh paint is an expense that requires some time, yet freshens the feel to a room or home. Besides the option of fresh paint, you will want to make sure that the carpets are clean. Many grocery stores rent carpet cleaners. What is important is clean carpet. If it smells flowery or overly perfumed, that can become a turn off. You will also want to have clean air filters as well. Having fresh flowers displayed can also provide a fresh feel to the home. Having plants in the home is often a plus. You will need to make sure that they are healthy plants. Real plants are preferred over the silk copies. Plant services can provide you with plants that you can use on a temporary basis. The addition of plants adds a sense of life and livability to homes. Fresh, vibrant plants often help create an environment where you feel more alive.

You also want the potential buyer to gain some perspective on the rooms. When you have furniture or beds in rooms, they can see what may or may not work with that space. It is hard for some buyers to envision what a room looks like with a bed. Having a bed in the space makes it easier for them to have perspective on what the room could look like. You will want to make sure that the bedding is attractive and that the beds are made.

You will want to have the children’s toys put up, along with your own toys. Although you may like the display of your guns or canoe oars, it will limit potential buyers. The purpose of the open house is to gain the greatest exposure to the widest audience. You may also want to take a look at your book cases and periodicals. Remove any that are overly personal. You may want to remove all the periodicals. Although the home magazines show them out, buyers often do not want to see them.

Many people forget about the garage and back yard. Potential buyers will want to look at these areas as well. Make sure that they are picked up and do not stink. If you have odors in your garage, you will want to remove the source and air it out before the open house. Bad odors from the garage can leave a bad impression. Potential buyers do not expect the garage to smell of roses, but they also do not want the smell of old stale garbage, stale freezers or cat litter either.

If you have cats, make sure that the liter is fresh and does not stink. You may love your pets, but your buyers may not. That does not make them bad people, it only means that that is not their preference.

Candles can add a sense of warmth, even when they are not lit. Having candles out can create a sense of warmth, which can attract people. See to it that the furniture is polished and clean before visitors arrive. You will want to vacuum under the cushions of the sofas and dust whatever artwork is on display. You may even want to vacuum the tops of the cabinets to remove any lint that often attracts stale smells.

These are a few items that you can do to leverage your open house experience without breaking the bank.

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