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Staging a house to sell
I feel inadequate
Elaine Dougan
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Elaine Dougan  Friend of PR
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BC CANADA
Member since 1/24/07
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Date: 1/6/12 10:39 AM

We are hoping to sell our house. We have lived here for seventeen years, but it is time to downsize. I will soon by seventy-five and my husband will be seventy-seven. I have never been happy with the furniture arrangement in two of the rooms, but managed something that was livable. Now that the house will be on view for anyone who cares to go online or is thinking of making an offer, I am worried about how everything looks. To make along story short, I have decided to use the talents of a house stager. We have had one meeting to set up a possible contract. I liked her very much and she made some suggestions for some possible changes. Now I feel inadequate because I have not cared enough or had the ability to make changes before this. Also, I just don't seem to have the knowledge about what is considered modern and acceptable in the house market today. Does anyone have any suggestions about working with a house stager? Any good tips about what worked when you sold your house?

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Elaine

Kim12469
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Kim12469
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In reply to Elaine Dougan


Date: 1/6/12 10:51 AM

I've sold several houses over the years and my goals were always to declutter and make everything look as big as possible.

I've never worked with a stager though so I can't comment on that.

Things I did when I sold houses were:

Remove overly large pieces of furniture. Such as instead of using a real coffee table, put a smaller table in place.

Edit the pictures on the walls and the family memorabilia.

Declutter! For example, remove magnets and stuff from fridges, keep baskets in strategic locations so you can throw clutter in them quickly for showing.

Rearrange furniture for easy flow through the house. It may not be the best for say TV viewing but it will visually open things up.

Those are just a couple things I can thing of right now. I am in the process of getting my house ready to go on the market now as well. I am still in the purging of junk stage that I don't want to move. Cleaning out closets is a biggee too. People want to see closet space. They want to be able to envision themselves living there, not you.

Also, don't feel bad about what you haven't done. I've sold four houses and loved them more after I staged them for sale!!!

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http://kimsewsilly.blogspot.com/

sewbehind
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sewbehind
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Date: 1/6/12 11:45 AM

Elaine. I have moved many times. Clear out things such as furniture etc that you definitely do not want to take with you. IF you have kids, let them take what you are willing to part with or sell extra STUFF.
I totally agree with Kim to declutter and keep it that way. Don't let piles of paper accumulate. Keep bathrooms and kitchens cleared and pristine. I hate seeing pictures of bathrooms where the toilet lid is up.
Snoop real estate shop on the web and find out what you are up against. Most of the MLS listings show pictures of your competition.
Look at a few shows on tv or browse through decorating magazines and see if you can incorporate some of those ideas.
Definitely get rid of the junk and particularly in closets. Make sure everything looks fresh, well cared for and uncluttered. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint will work wonders.
You have to make it look as if potential buyers don't have to do anything if they buy your house.
The problem with most people is that if they tend to live in a house, you don't make any changes. That is life, no sense if feeling badly for it.
Good luck with your next adventure, Elaine.
Helen

HarrietHomeowner

HarrietHomeowner  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/6/12 11:48 AM

I would say that if you have seen this stager's successful work (i.e., houses she has staged that have sold) and you like it, then just go with what she suggests. I sold a house once using a real estate agent who is kind of famous around our area for staging. She has a team of people who renovate and decorate, and the houses look beautiful and sell quickly. The house I was selling was empty -- I had been renting it out -- so I gave them free rein to do whatever worked. They spiffed it up, painted it, and brought in furniture, pictures, window draperies, and rugs (nothing fancy, but attractive). It looked fantastic after they were done, and it sold in about a week (that was during the housing boom, though). It did cost quite a bit, but I considered a lot of that deferred maintenance, and it made the sale so much easier that it was worth it. The buyer really loved the house and didn't nickle and dime us on the inspection. Plus, it would have taken me months to make decisions and get all of that work done, and the team did it all in a couple of weeks.

But don't feel bad that your house hasn't looked picture perfect. No one can live that way all the time.

Mariyka
Mariyka
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OH
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Date: 1/6/12 11:53 AM

I think a good way to look at the decluttering is that you are removing your things to make room for theirs. If they can visualize their stuff in your house, you're that much closer to a sale. Get an upscale hotel feel to your home- pleasant, clean, open and waiting to be personalized by them.

Doris W. in TN
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Doris W. in TN  Friend of PR
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In reply to HarrietHomeowner


Date: 1/6/12 1:15 PM

Quote: HarrietHomeowner
I would say that if you have seen this stager's successful work (i.e., houses she has staged that have sold) and you like it, then just go with what she suggests.

I agree. We have not moved in over seventeen years, and I have no earthly idea what the current RE market trends are. I would not hesitate to hire a highly recommended stager, at this point in life, if we were to decide to sell. They know what it takes to sell in one's particular market. What works in New York City won't sell in Nebraska, etc. etc. etc.
LoriB
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 LoriB  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/6/12 1:43 PM

How you live in a house is not how you sell a house.

I think it's smart to have someone else do the staging because you have a personal attachment to the house and your things. I've never sold a house but I watch a lot of HGTV real estate shows! I keep hearing over and over that you have to think of a house differently when you buy/sell as opposed to when you live in it. When you buy you can't get emotionally attached before the offer is final, and when you sell you have to remove most of your things so prospective buyers won't think the house doesn't have enough storage. Also, many people just don't have vision - a certain wall color may put them off even though that's a relatively inexpensive fix, and people will decide against a home that's otherwise perfect just because their large sectional sofa won't fit (buy a new couch!)

------
Lori (visit my blog at: http://monkeyroom.blogspot.com)

justgail

justgail
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Date: 1/6/12 2:11 PM

The big things stressed on those HGTV shows is
1. declutter - everything from drawers/closets to having too much furniture in the rooms.
2. de-personalize
3. neutral colors
4. esp. if you have a 2-3 bedroom house with one as an office, return the office to a bedroom.
5. clean, deodorize and open the curtains

edited to add - don't forget the outside of the house and lawn and gardens as well.
-- Edited on 1/6/12 2:13 PM --

sewbehind
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sewbehind
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Date: 1/6/12 2:16 PM

Don't forget appliances too. Often people will make you an offer including appliances.
It is hard living in a house that is for sale. It's like a fish bowl. I have requested that if we were to sell our current home, that we have our next home already ready and have our desired furniture in it, have a cleaning lady on hand to tidy up, and I am out of it entirely.
You should expect to leave the home when it is being shown.
I have a knack for decorating etc, but wouldn't hesitate to hire out if I wasn't able to look at my house objectively. Less is more!
Good luck!
Helen
PS. The entrance to your home is major, as is curb appeal. Many times people decide yeah or nay on a drive by. People use the internet to screen possible homes routinely. Make sure you approve of the photos that are listed and that they show your home in a flattering light. I see that you live in BC, so if it is a warmer spot in BC, have a gorgeous planter with pansies, primula etc. and some twigs. Make sure your entrance has clean doors and windows etc, and is captivating and attractive.
Do not use overpowering scents to sell your home. Clean is always good, and if you do use scents make sure they are natural, such as cinnamon in boiling water for example. I can't stand those Glade plug in things. Those things burn my eyes.
-- Edited on 1/6/12 2:22 PM --

tourist
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tourist  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/6/12 4:14 PM

All of the above is great, though I personally want to see *some* of the personality of the current owners. I hate seeing places that are too staged looking and love to see the odd family photo, which we have always been told is the first thing to get rid of.

My aunt, who is a major quilter, had to move her sewing room out of one of the upstairs bedrooms and make it a bedroom again before it would sell. I guess people just don't have good enough imaginations to handle such a splendid use of space!

Years ago before the arrival of such things as professional stagers, I had a friend who was absolutely desperate to move. She did the standard clean up and a bit of painting and each time people viewed the house she would make up her baby's bed with frilly linens and put flowers on the pillow. Then just before the buyers arrived she pulled a couple of freshly baked loaves of bread out of the oven. I think the second set of prospective buyers bought the house at full asking price.

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http://bgballroom.wordpress.com to follow the progress on my next ballgown.

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