Home Staging: Home Decorating with a Purpose
In a market that has prices on the slide, nothing is more important than doing the right things to get the right price. That's where home staging (also called "home fluffing") is becoming more and more interesting to many sellers. The good news is that home staging works; it's the art of home decoration to sell, and it can mean the difference in getting your price or not.
Most home stagers will insist it doesn't take too much money. I'd have to say that it depends on your definition of "too much". However, it is amazing what a few easy tricks can do to the price of your home.
In fact, home staging works because it really is all about the look of your property! You could have the best home on the block, but if your home is cluttered and the furniture doesn't match, you could end up with a lower price than you want. This is where a "home fluffer" can help you to see your home in a new light, and guide you make the right changes (at minimal cost) to help you to sell.
This isn't about having to paint your whole home's interior. It can be as easy as buying some rental storage and getting rid of some of your things! When I sold my first condo, that's exactly what we did. While I didn't consult a professional home stager, my spouse and I took a very critical look at our home and decided to get rid of everything that wasn't really necessary. Out went the library worth of books, the extra lamps (for good light to read), and anything which didn't quite fit in a room. We tried to leave behind the most attractive room configuration. For the monthly cost of a rental storage space, I ended up with at least a few thousand more than I might have otherwise (in my opinion). The home showed much better.
Another great tip: wash all the walls and make sure they are fresh looking. If you have leftover paint that you can use to touch up marks that won't come out, that will also help to raise the price on your home. If your home is in "move in" condition, that's a critical factor that a new buyer takes into account.
Professionals may go a bit farther. If you have the time and the money, they may suggest small renovations or upgrade projects that will add the most value to the selling price. They may suggest small decorator touches that help a room to look its best: perhaps a new arrangement of the furniture, or some inexpensive "art" (I've seen pictures from a glossy magazine framed nicely and put on the walls) to show off the room better. Heck, my mother-in-law has done amazing things with "found" items around her place, like pinecones and fallen twigs, in an artful display that really makes the room look tied together. (Don't know how she does it. Maybe she should become a house stager.)
The other primary trick is "depersonalizing" the home. A wall of your diplomas could easily become a wall of inexpensive prints, for instance.
House stagers will work with your budget. So be sure to get a quote up front. It's not all that different than shopping for the right mortgage: you get your mortgage quotes first; you select the right lender who is willing to work with you and gives you the best price; and then you get ready to buy your next home. In the case of home staging, you'll get ready to sell your next home.