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Posted in Staging, Organizing

Selling your property requires some pre-listing work to maximize your equity return and get it SOLD.  Christine Rae, author of Home Staging for Dummies, President and Founder of CSP International Staging Academy offers advice on how to prepare and get your property SOLD.


1. Don’t get personal!
Whether working with a professional or going it alone, cut all emotional ties! Visit each room, remember the memories, and then pack the sentimentality away: it clouds judgement. Don’t look at your house from the perspective of it being yours; buyers aren’t interested. Remove and store as many personal items as possible. This means all family photos, certificates, diplomas, medicine, etc.

2. Pack and store or dispose of two-thirds of every closet and cupboard. It is a great time to start deciding what you want to keep, donate, or dispose of. Organized storage space is one of the most frequent requested interior features by buyers.

3. First impressions are the only ones that count. People have choices today, and they make decisions about your property within the blink of an eye. Wherever the eye rests, the sale begins. Are they looking at the RIGHT things?

4. Understand that staging is about condition more than décor. Sure, the house must look and feel good, but remember buyers are savvy – they will deduct from the offering (IF they offer) their own perceived value for deferred maintenance! So, repair anything that needs it, replace any fixtures over eight years old, and then clean like your life depends on it-because your equity will. Pack and store anything you won’t use in the next two to three months. Remember, buyers are buying their new house not your old one! 

5. Update the kitchen. This is the most important room in the house. If buyers fall in love here, they will compromise other items on their must-have list.

6. Keep all bedrooms gender-neutral including kids’ rooms and the master! Don’t think, “Oh they can make the mental shift.” They can’t, won’t and don’t. You have a three-minute opportunity to get this house sold-why would you jeopardize a single second?

7. Bathrooms are the second-most important space in the house. So, if you have money, upgrade what you can, at least in the main bath. Change the old cabinet style sink for a pedestal or furniture sink, and with the extra space install an organized linen closet with deep pull-out drawers for maximum storage.

8. Beware of odor and allergens. Over the last fifty years, the rise in prevalence to allergic diseases has increase exponentially. Worldwide, sensitization rates to one of more common allergens is approaching 50 percent! You don’t know whether the future buyer is one of them. When you live in your house you will not be able to smell what others do. Assume the worst and prepare. Open windows and don’t use harsh household or garden chemical products, buy safe cleaning products. If you have pets, consider having them stay off property for the duration of the sales process. (Maybe you have a family friend who is willing to watch your pet for a short time.)

9. Consider the lighting. Make sure every lightbulb us energy efficient and at the highest wattage the light fixture will allow. Give all the fixtures a deep clean for maximum sparkle.

10. Put considerable thought into curb appeal! Seventy-four percent of prospective buyers will drive by your property before they even think about viewing it, and half of them will do it at night, Curb appeal done well is like gift wrapping on a present! “Great curb appeal sells more that half of ALL houses that go on the market,” according to the National Association of Realtors. The allure captures interest.

Outdoor lighting is vital: house numbers should always be illuminated and visible from the street, but also consider lighting pathways and spotlight a feature of the property such as a dramatic tree. Landscape experts agree there is a 100 percent return on investment for money invested in front, back and side yards. Curb appeal wraps around the resort/lifestyle living in the backyard too. It is one of the most undervalued aspects of Market Preparedness that can add dollars to your bottom line! Ninety-five percent of people surveyed said outdoor living amenities are vital! Outdoor allure also extends to balconies, decks and patios. Give people what they least expect, they don’t know they want it, but when they see it, they can’t resist.

Written by Christine Rae, President of CSP International Staging Academy, Author of Home Staging for Dummies

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