Five quick tips for staging a home (or not)

By now, most people know that staging a home sells it faster and for more money than those that are not. However, having been to open houses around the island, I’m always surprised at the little things that slip sometimes. We’re all busy people, but customers do expect a certain level of aesthetic appeal, so here are some easy things you can do to help the sale along — based on actual repeat offenses seen at open houses.

Clean the clutter. If nothing else, get the boxes out of the way! No one wants to see your trash. The new buyers will be bringing in their own pile of clutter, and don’t want to be reminded of this. Don’t shove these boxes into a closet to hide them, either; nosy people like me open all the doors and drawers at open house. Just remove it all from the premises.

Clean the house before you show it. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to sweep out all the dead bugs (especially the ones who have died in one spot), or to remove the dog poop off the lawn before you let people in. And this sounds like common sense, but please make sure all the toilets are flushed.

Make minor repairs. Fix that leaky faucet, that jammed drawer, that big flap of vinyl flooring sticking up in the kitchen. Even if the home is reasonably priced, buyers don’t want to be thinking about the extra $100,000 in renovations they’ll need to do before they can move in. 

Depersonalize it. Potential homebuyers need to imagine themselves living in the home for sale. They don’t want to imagine living in your home. Wherever possible, remove all traces of your life, especially the tax papers, framed drawings that your kids have done, and your toiletries. I’ll admit, I was a little creeped out by the family painting in one of the living rooms at an older home.

Remember, beach chairs are not furniture. I went to a unit at Harbor Court that was showing with beach chairs in the living room. Really? If you can’t afford items for staging, it’s best to leave the room empty rather than use cheap outdoor furniture. On that note, you can go to Wal-Mart, Target, or Ross for inexpensive home accessories if you really need it. Or borrow from a friend.

By the way, that Harbor Court unit was on the market for months and went through a few price reductions, despite having many other ideal features. I don’t know if it ever sold.

You don’t have to be a staging expert to make a listing presentable before opening it up to the public. Hopefully these five quick tips will get a quicker sale (or at least an offer) for your next listing.