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Top 10 Tips - Staging (Part 1)

Dani Fleming

Dani Fleming, the principal of MA Properties, has been involved in real estate for many years...

Dani Fleming, the principal of MA Properties, has been involved in real estate for many years...

Oct 29 8 minutes read

Staging is a key part of creating a Product that potential buyers will fall in love with. In this blog we outline the Top-10 Staging Tips (1-5).

What is staging?

When selling a home, presentation is critical. The home should look like a model home – comfortable, clean and inviting, with a decorative touch making it stand out from the rest of the homes on the market. The end goal is to have the buyers imagine themselves living in the home by highlighting the positive aspects of the home. Creating a sense of possibility and potential, inspiring buyers to have an emotional response of ‘I want to live here’.

How does it work?

The MA Properties Online team start the staging process with a pre-stage visit. During this visit we take the time to walk through the home with you and discuss some proactive measures you can take leading up to the day of staging. On the day of staging we come in with any furniture or accent pieces that will complement the style of your home and transform it into a space that will create an emotional response from everyone.

1. Declutter What You Can

De-cluttering will make spaces look larger if there are clean lines and relatively empty shelving. Buyers see relatively empty shelves or spaces as there being so much more storage space than there actually is as there is so much room free. They forget that when they bring their things in, these same spaces will be full.

De-cluttering could also be considered de-personalizing. Its important for a buyer to walk in the door and not see items around that identify who the current home owners are. If they can see no evidence of the current home owner it is much easier for them to imagine themselves living in the home. Once they imagine themselves living in the home emotion then takes over and they ‘have to have’ their home.

Some areas we usually recommend de-cluttering include:

  • Bedside Tables
  • Kitchen and bathroom counter tops
  • Workspaces and desks
  • Tabletops
  • “Collect-all” spaces
  • Tops/sides of fridges/kitchen cabinets
  • Closets – try to get them not looking ‘jam packed’ 

2. Advanced Packing 

Think of it as ‘advance packing’. You have to pack it when you move, so pack it now.

We usually suggest things in a bookcase, china cabinets, or display cabinets are dramatically reduced and packed away. We want relatively empty shelves. We will strategically relocate small pieces but we want the overall impact to be lots of empty shelf space. Buyers think there is ‘so much space’ in this home and believe it is larger than it is. If they see lots of empty shelf space then they don’t even look to see how many closets there are in the home.

The same goes with kitchen items. If you, like so many others, have additional pantry items, or small appliances, stored on open shelving in the basement, or in another area of the home, then pack these things before buyers will be coming in the home. When buyers see these items stored remotely from the kitchen they then have an ‘ah hah’ moment, and will go and check on how much cabinet space there is, and most of the time, its not enough because they already have the visual cue that it wasn’t enough for you!

If you can clear shelves then we can bring in small decorative items that show that you have so much space that you have decorative items throughout and they would like to live that way, so it creates a ‘trigger’ emotionally for them.

Use the rule that you should pack away 2/3rds of the smaller things. Any sort of trinkets, or small items (and yes, the dolls you’ve had since 1972!) or small toys that are in children’s toy storage units and chests should also be packed away in advance.

3. Bathrooms Are Important Too

Most people tend to forget about how their bathrooms look to buyers.

When preparing a home for sale, we always recommend the following, no matter how big or small the bathroom:

  • Store away any bathroom rugs (including any toilet seat covers as well)
  • Temporarily hide any trash cans and plungers
  • Place shower items (shampoo, soap, loofahs, etc.) in a container under the sink, that way they are not visible for pictures but remain accessible
  • If you have them, leave out any coordinating soap dispensers, towels, or sink items to 'stage' the space
  • Clean, clean and clean – this is huge. Buyers will ‘forgive’ a dated bathroom if it is clean.

4. Don't Look At Me Like That Baxter

We love your pets as much as you do, but each buyer is different. Some may be delighted to meet Baxter, some may not. Don’t make the price you can sell your home for dependent on whether the buyers can appreciate Baxter or not.

We recommend removing evidence that Baxter lives in your home with you for photos, and for buyer visits. Placing your pet items behind closed doors for the day of photos will work, but you still need to remove these items for showings, and buyers look behind doors 😊. So, for when buyers are going to be in your home have a plastic tote that is for Baxter’s things so that they can be moved easily and quickly. These things include dog beds, litter boxes, pet food, chew toys, food and water bowls.

Also, if Baxter is old or not-so-nice, feel free to let us know! Its Baxter’s home, but there will be people in it during the time that it is on the market! It’s also really important that Baxter not be in the home even if he is the happiest and friendliest pet you’ve ever seen. A lot of buyers are terrified of someone else’s pet and they don’t know Baxter like you do, and will often not even set foot in the home if they are greeted by Baxter.

If Baxter is going to be home, it’s a really good idea to confine him during showings so that we don’t have the agent, or buyers, worrying about ‘He’s escaped, oh no, now what do we do?’ when they open the back door.

5. Bedding

We’re happy to bring in bedding for all of your beds to inspire the buyers to think ‘I’ve seen this in magazines. I want my home to look like this’! When they do that they get emotionally involved with the home, and when they do that then the next step is to make an offer on your home!

Having said this, any bedding that we bring in to make your bedrooms look like they belong in magazines is purely for aesthetic purposes. When staging your bed we simply place the new bedding over your existing bedding, and then we top with decorative pillows. This means that all you need to do when you want to go to bed is to remove the top layer, and ‘voila’, your bed awaits!

We do ask that our bedding items are treated as staging items, and are not used in your normal day to day living while they are in the home.

If you are thinking about selling and want to see what the MA Properties Online Staging Team can do to your house please contact us.

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