Before I get to that rocket science part, I want to refer to an article in a recent newspaper article. In the Real Estate section was an article on tips to make your house sell fast, introduced by a huge picture. Much good advice was given BUT a few things made me cringe, so I just want to warn you what NOT to do. Do not paint your kitchen cupboards Gloss white. I already mentioned not to use gloss white on walls in an earlier post. When was the last time you saw a new model home that had GLOSS white cabinets? White maybe, but NOT gloss. If you are redoing old cabinets Gloss white will show every flaw, every brush stroke, every imperfection! It is a finish that should only be done by professionals (sprayed on) but also one that is not really a “with it” thing to do. If your cabinets are stained wood, there are products you can get, like Cabinet Magic, Liquid Gold, that will cover scratches and revitalize cabinets, sometimes miraculously. They are also easy to apply, most are rubbed on with a soft cloth. (Insert: 2014, there are many more new ways to change your cabinet color now) Oak cabinets almost always look bad painted. Regarding painting anything, it is very important that it be done well. If you can’t do it well, you shouldn’t do it yourself. It takes time and patience and skill to do a good job. Prepare to give it that. It isn’t called sweat equity for nothin’.
Other advice in the article regarding fixing up Kitchens and Bathrooms, “You can do all this for cheap.” If it looks like you did it “on the cheap”, it will not help you sell your house. A very good bit of advice given was to hire a home inspector yourself to go through your home and get a list of things that need to be fixed. That way you shouldn’t have any unpleasant surprises when your buyer’s inspection is done. I have done this and it was very helpful and brought peace of mind.
The idea of staging is to present your home to stand out from the rest. It should be a well-maintained home, not just looked like one on the surface. We want the buyer to be happy living in the home, not just happy buying it, don’t we? No cover ups, no law suits.
Many of the clients I have advised on fixing their homes before they sold did quite extensive things like replacing very outdated kitchens and bathrooms. When they saw how good they looked, every single one wished they had done these things as they lived there and enjoyed it themselves as well. Something to think about!
OK, OK – The Rocket Science part. Now that you have done all the things recommended in the first three posts, the fun part begins but also the part that you may want to call in your staging advisor to complete. Not all designers and stagers are created equal. Some are better than others just as some home builders, lawyers and hairstylists are better than others. This is advice I should have given you in the beginning. Ask your real estate agent for a referral to someone who does it right. Check out a portfolio of before and after photos. Look at model homes they have done or if you have the chance to see, what does their own home look like?
Everything that is left now needs to be moved, arranged, and accessorized. What to put in and what to leave out? Where to hang the pictures and how high for the best effect? A tip here, don’t hang pictures at LeBron James’ eye level! A common mistake is hanging pictures too high where they have no connection to anything else. While you want to keep it simplified this doesn’t mean it needs to be boring and bland. Don’t just line furniture up around the room. How things are arranged in groupings and with just the right choice of accessories and accents are the key. I am realizing I can do it, but it isn’t something I can easily explain and tell you how to do. I guess that is why it is the Rocket Science part of staging!
Posted by Kathleen Leavitt Cragun ©