When it’s time to sell your home, everyone seems to have an opinion about how to prep for house staging. Your neighbor recommends baking cookies, your spouse wants to put fresh flowers in every room and your best friend says to keep the house as-is so visitors can envision themselves in a lived-in environment. But, which house staging advice is actually helpful? We’re ready to bust a few seller myths!
Myth: Just before a showing or open house, you should bake something or light a fragrant candle so the house smells nice.
Fact: Some visitors are going to have sensitivities to odors or be suspicious that you’re trying to cover up something, such as mildew or pet odors. It’s best to present a neutral, clean home. Take out the trash, steam clean the carpets, wash the pet’s bedding and scrub the bathrooms to reduce lingering odors naturally. If the weather allows, open a few windows to fill the home with fresh air. Turn on ceiling fans to circulate the air, especially in basements or attics, to eliminate stale, stuffy odors.
Myth: Decluttering, sorting and organizing is enough to make your home show better.
Fact: Yes, putting your salt and pepper shaker collection in storage and removing your wall of bowling trophies will make your home more neutral and less personalized, but if your remaining decor isn’t unified, it’s still going to look messy and distract potential buyers. Pick a style, and make sure your furniture, decorations and color scheme work together. It’s time to get rid of the distracting bright orange 1960s couch on your newly refinished hardwood floors. And the avocado green appliances no longer belong in your partially remodeled kitchen. Use home interior magazines for simple decorating ideas.
Myth: Prepare for a last minute house showing by tucking clutter in drawers and closets.
Fact: Although a visitor’s initial impression may be positive on a quick walk-through, their interest will quickly wane when they open closet doors to see how much storage is available and find it overstuffed. Or, what about when they try to open a kitchen drawer, and it won’t glide because there are too many things inside? Instead, plan to pack up 90 percent of your home when you’re preparing to show it. You only need daily essentials — not knickknacks, collections and holiday decor — accessible since you’re moving soon. Once packed, you won’t have to worry about tackling last minute piles of clutter.
Myth: Your house staging plans should include a new coat of neutral paint in each room.
Fact: Fresh paint is a great way to make the home look clean and move-in ready — but don’t overanalyze the definition of neutral paint. Painting every single room white or eggshell is stark and boring. You want each room to have some character and a warm, inviting feel. Neutral colors can be subtle earth tone shades, such as beige, cocoa, light gray, pale yellow or even olive green. To keep the color palette neutral, avoid bold jewel tones such as reds, blues or purples, even in children’s rooms.
Myth: Move all of your furniture into storage so you can show an empty home. Buyers will be able to envision their personal belonging in the space.
Fact: It’s best to reduce extra pieces of furniture, but do keep a few key pieces in the home. As a guide, think of a high-end hotel room for inspiration. You only need a couple pieces of furniture and decor items in each room to make the space cozy and beautiful. Consider removing extra bookcases, file cabinets, end tables, storage containers, coffee tables and display hutches. Do keep some artwork and wall hangings in place, and a family photo or two in the living room is fine — a hallway collage featuring 20 framed personal photos is distracting.
When in doubt, visit Owners.com for tips and tricks to show off the best features of your home. Your real estate agent can also provide staging advice and recommend a house staging service in your community.
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