Our helpful guide to staging your home

When it comes to selling a home, a very basic rule needs to be kept in mind. A potential buyer is not interested in “your home” as much as they are interested in how a particular property for sale can become “their home”. Through home staging the process of change enables the buyer to envision the property for sale as their own.

The home seller, therefore, has to think of their property as the new buyer’s home and that they are just living in it until it sells. A staged house has to be neutral enough to appeal to a wide variety of potential buyers. This process has been proved to be very effective in successfully selling homes. Remember, it's a buyer's market – Home Staging provides the competitive edge that will make your property stand out from all the others.

Try the 3D effect

Detach, De-clutter, Depersonalize.

By making the decision to sell, you need to detach yourself from your home.

Staging is the process of preparing your home to appeal to a potential buyer for a quick sale. You need to put on a show that will WOW potential buyers. It could be as simple as cleaning and rearranging furniture and decluttering. It can also involve spending money - you may have to do some painting, improving the landscaping, adding furniture/plants to show off the potential of your house.

Selling your home also involves depersonalising....taking away the family photographs, the religious artwork, the kids drawings pinned to the fridge etc.

Key points to Home Staging:

Curb appeal.

Lawns should be freshly mowed, leaves raked, flower beds weeded. Consider a hanging basket for the entrance. Sweep the porch and pathways. Rubbish and recycling should be tucked away from the front of the house.

If you can’t afford to paint then scrub your front door, porch, outside railings and steps. Once the outside entrance is clean, decide if the paint needs a touch up.

Get rid of clutter!

Pick one area at a time so the task isn't too daunting. Look at each item with a critical eye and ask yourself why you're keeping it.

Remember - how you live in your home and how you sell your house are two entirely different things. You're going for a "show home" look.

Forget about hanging onto items which might one day come in handy. Pick your favorite charity and donate it.

If rooms and cupboards still look cramped, rent storage space.

Essential repairs.

Walk along hallways and into every room and check where your eye is drawn (or ask a critical friend/family member). If the eye is drawn to chipped paint on the door frame, sort it and fill it in. If it's nail holes in the wall, hang a picture over them. Glue peeling wallpaper, clean carpets etc. Ensure cupboards open and shut and that no taps are dripping. Look in all rooms for things you never got around to fixing and decide which ones might be distracting to potential buyers.

Home Stagers will have a list of Professionals from decorators, joiners, odd job men etc he/she can recommend.

Clean thoroughly

This can be a very stressful aspect to keep on top of — but it's worth the effort to sell your home for top money. Hire a professional service to deep clean everything; then take 20-30 minutes each day to maintain it.

Don't neglect hallways. They lead potential buyers through your home and should be bright and clutter free. Hang a mirror to reflect light and remember you're trying to maximize the feeling of space in your home! Appliances should sparkle. Counter tops, taps, sinks and bathtubs should shine. Dust shelves and vacuum the floors. All beds should be made. If these things are not done, potential buyers will only wonder what other things have been neglected.

If all this attention to detail seems over the top, remember that a very clean home leaves the impression that the house is well cared for.

Aromas

It’s very important that there are no lingering smells about the house. Open all windows to let in fresh air. Have air fresheners at the ready and have fresh flower arrangements throughout the house in key places such as the entrance hall, kitchen and lounge. These not only smell nice, they look good too!

Lighting

It might be mood lighting to you, but if you're trying to sell your home, keep it bright! Dimly lit rooms tend to look small and dingy. If you have a particularly dark room, consider a floor lamp that will bounce light off the ceiling. If your walls are so dark that they're sucking up all the light, consider repainting (see before and after photos below).

Clean windows let in more light. Hire a service if you have to— it's worth the investment.

Accessories and Artwork

Cushions, throws, rugs, glassware - a few select pieces will liven up a room. Look

for pieces that can work in multiple areas of the home and have fun with items such as candles, trinkets and pottery items.

Carefully chosen pieces of artwork can transform a room from drab to fab. Use artwork to tie in with your colour scheme. Don't be afraid to use oversized artwork.

In the right place, a big piece will make an even bigger impression.

To be successful when selling your house you need a competitive edge. This means that it is necessary to do whatever possible to ensure that your home sells quickly and for as close to the asking price as possible. Through home staging, buyers will see the property for sale in the best possible light. This makes the home as appealing as it can be to that buyer, which provides a competitive edge over the myriad of other sellers who are not engaging in this type of preparation.

Collette Dillon writing for www.JustDoProperty.com

JustDoProperty.com is like having your very own virtual assistant collating all the relevant and current information already on the internet and filtering it into an easy to use format. Membership is free and additional services are being developed all the time to ensure that you Just Do ... Property as opposed to spending endless hours surfing, browsing and researching online.

Collette Dillon, Cheshire