DIY home staging seems obvious. Its your home, so however you live should be okay. Clean it up a little, set out a bowl of potpourri, put the for sale sign up and wait for an offer. Why change anything?
Will anyone at all — especially a future buyer, who’s going to change the home anyway — care?
If this were the sixties, the answer would be “no” … nobody really cares. But this is 2012 and everything has changed. Today, if a home is not properly staged, it will stay on the market up to twice as long as a staged home. Not only that, but when it does sell, the price may be only 80% of the other (staged) homes in your area!
The first DIY home staging thing you need to know before you can do anything is find out how your home “hits” someone else. What will your potential buyer think as they get out of the car and start to walk up the walkway? Curb appeal, or how your home looks from the street, can make or break the deal. What you want is for the potential buyer to get out of the car and smile. In fact, its nearly impossible to get someone completely over a bad first impression.
You, as the homeowner, are much too attached to be very objective. So, it has to be friends and family. Ask around. This is an important step. Ask several to drop by and give you an honest appraisal of your home.
Have them walk from room to room as though they were potential buyers and make notes of what is said. Walk with them and ask questions if they say anything you don’t understand.
Its likely your furniture is okay, but if a few people make comments, find out what they disliked. If you believe some of your furniture might put some people off, find out why and maybe consider selling or storing the pieces with the negative comments and replacing with rented things. DIY home staging is partly about decision making.
You want nothing to distract a buyer from looking at and being impressed with your home. And, “clutter” is the best way to negatively distract people. One of the questions you should ask is if your home looks “cluttered.” If so, remove everything you don’t need. Clutter is very irritating to some. So is the overuse of wild colors. And, some people will simply walk away if something irritates them.
Also, if your home is dirty—meaning its obviously dirty—you must do something! Strangers walking through will not say anything … especially to you. They’ll just go look at the next house. It may even be difficult to get your friends and relatives to say anything, but you need to prod them to be honest. Your money, lots of it, is at stake! Hire a maid service if you need to.
DIY home staging is hard to do alone! Not physically, but this has been your home. The reason for the surge in home stagers recently is because staging needs to be done and it needs a brutally honest, unattached, objective approach. And, that is the mindset you must have! You are selling the space, not the stuff within the space. If those things, or the condition of those things turn potential buyers away, they need to be dealt with.
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DIY home staging may mean taking out much of the personality and the things you’ve collected over the years, but you must keep in mind that potential buyers have no interest in your life or your things. Nor will you when you become the potential buyer.
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