A great presentation: 6 easy tips for staging your own home

There’s no question that staging your décor is advantageous when you’re trying to sell your home.

The strategic editing and placement of your furnishings can be enormously important to boosting its appeal. In a recent NAR survey, in fact, 77 percent of buyers’ agents agreed staging is important to helping potential buyers envision a given home as their own. Fortunately, conducting your own staging need not be complex; you should be able to mimic professional techniques by following a few easy guidelines:

  • Prioritize by room. The NAR reports you’ll get the most visual impact by staging your living room, master bedrooms, kitchen and extra bedrooms(s), in that order.
  • De-clutter. Cleaning will be easier after you pack away at least 90 percent of your own décor and personal artifacts. Your goal is to create a minimally decorated space buyers can imagine moving in to.
  • Deep clean. Everything must be groomed, sparkling and odor-free inside and out.
  • Divide and conquer. Plan to remove about half your furniture to give the impression of optimal space. If it’s all unpresentable, use stylish rental pieces or fake “pop-up furniture” for showings. Tip: Wherever possible, move display furniture away from walls (a technique known as “floating”) to create groupings that are tied together visually with area rugs.
  • Accessorize inside and out. Create an atmosphere of airiness, friendliness and cheer by selectively adding new flowers, potted plants, attractive seating and welcome mats outside, perhaps fresh flowers and bowls of fruit inside.
  • Optimize light. Add brighter light bulbs, pull back curtains, clean windows and clean (or perhaps update) light fixtures to add to the overall impression of positivity.

Questions for Every Room of the Open House

Open houses provide more than the opportunity to showcase your clients’ listed homes; they also allow you to exercise your knowledge as a real estate agent by fielding questions from potential home buyers. While these questions can range from the common to the rare, most of them are focused on the house or neighborhood in general. However, as they walk through your open house, different rooms may inspire inquiries that are a bit more specific in nature. With CENTURY 21® Real Estate’s insight, you may find it easier to anticipate these niche questions and prepare for them in advance. Take a look at what questions each area of the house might elicit from potential home buyers.

The Front Door

Some, if not most, potential home buyers are already taking stock of the house before they step in the door. Just seeing the exterior of the house in its neighborhood may lead to the following:

  • When were the windows installed?
  • How old is the roof?
  • What are the neighbors like?

Structural renovations, such as replacing drafty windows or aging roofs, may be costly. Since roofs tend to need replacement every 20 or 25 years, the home buyer will want to factor in maintenance costs. Neighbors are not so costly, but they may affect quality of life. Try talking up positive aspects of the relationship between the current homeowners and their neighbors.

The Kitchen

This room is often the hub of family homes, so it’s important to know its quality beforehand. Expect questions similar to the following:

  • What are the cabinets made out of?
  • When were the appliances installed?
  • Is the countertop sealed?

Cabinets made of solid wood tend to last longer, and newer appliances usually function better. Answer honestly and accurately, but remember to focus on the positive or memorable aspects of these features.

The Bathroom

Maintenance issues with this room are often the most inconvenient, for obvious reasons. The home buyer will want to make sure that everything is functional before they commit. You might hear things like:

  • How old is the plumbing?
  • Where does the sewage lead to?
  • Has it ever been treated for mold?

While these aren’t the most glamorous of topics, they’re key to the quality of the house. Be truthful about the facts, but this might be an area where you stay away from anecdotes.

The Basement

Whether or not the basement is finished, potential home buyers are sure to take a look at it. After doing so, they may ask:

  • How old is the wiring?
  • Have you ever experienced water damage?
  • Has there ever been flooding?

Here, it’s crucial that you discuss past issues you may have had because they may pose an indication for future events that the home buyer should be aware of. For example, if the basement flooded only once during an unusually strong storm, just tell them. It might not be a deal breaker, but it may be something they’d like to know to prepare for in severe weather. Just be sure to include information on how the current homeowner dealt with the problem, and the precautions they took to prevent it in the future.

Develop answers to these questions for your next open house and you may enhance the home buyer’s experience while showcasing your skills as an agent who’s SMARTER.BOLDER.FASTER.®

From Chaos to Clean: How to Organize a Closet

It’s time to combat clutter for once and for all. Start by organizing your closets. It will make getting ready faster and more enjoyable. Plus, it’s finally time to swap sweaters for t-shirts.

Use these tips to organize your closets:

  1. Completely declutter: Before you start coming up with new ways to organize, get yourself situated. Donate clothes that you don’t wear. (If you haven’t worn something in over a year, it may be time to let it go.) The Salvation Army or Red Cross are options for donating clothes, and check local charities too. Most cities have clothing donation bins, and many shelters, churches, synagogues, and sometimes schools accept appropriate donations.
  1. Use shelves and cubbies: If your closet isn’t as big as you’d like, find unique ways to expand space. Add shelving, cubbies, and hanging organizers to store items that cannot be hung on the rod.
  1. Store accordingly: Develop an organization system. Store your most used items at eye level, less used items on the bottom, and your least used items up high. Some people have a designated space for each category of clothing, and some people separate their closet by use. If you separate by use, you could have work clothes and formal clothes in one section, and less formal clothes in another.
  1. Add lights: Some closets are so dark and dreary — we can understand why “monsters” like to reside there. To fix this problem, install lights to illuminate the space and make it easier to find the perfect outfit.
  1. Color coordinate: Shop your closet the same way you’d shop in a store. Color coordinate items within each category. Organize your colors from light to dark or dark to light.

Turn on some music and get started! You may be amazed at all the outfit ideas you’ll come up with when everything is neat and tidy.