Outside staging helps draw buyers into house
Schwarz offered the top five staging tips to make the house more appealing to buyers:
- Stage the outside. Schwarz suggested taking the sellers across the street to really look at the house. Trim overgrown trees from the bottom up, cleaning the lower view of the home and cut plants from the top down, rounding them to the bottom of the windows. It’s important to clean the driveway, make sure the sidewalks are safe and fertilize and trim the grass. Try to add some color with potted flowers. And check the condition of the paint on the house, making sure there are no more than three colors on the house because too many colors can make it appear cluttered. She adds that the house should pull the buyer in – dead plants, stained driveways and too many colors don’t attract the buyer.
Melanie McLane, real estate and appraisal speaker in Pennsylvania, agrees. “Exterior curb appeal is so important because if you can’t get them in the house, they won’t see what it has to offer. At this time of the year, houses should have neatly mowed and trimmed lawns, flowers for color and fresh paint on the front door.”
- Remove the clutter. Schwarz said clutter eats the equity. Pack away family photos and collections. The buyer is buying the space, not the homeowners’ clutter. Schwarz believes clutter is almost worse than dirt because it sucks the energy from the room. Clutter-free rooms help keep the eye moving throughout the room so potential buyers see the space.
Realtor® Paul Culley with RE/MAX Select Realty in Wexford said, “I ask clients to remove winter/summer clothes from closets and pack them away as if they were moving because they are. It helps make the closets look bigger and more spacious.”
- Detail clean and remove smells. Schwarz suggested “Q-tip clean,” asking sellers to pay attention to areas around the base of the toilet and light switches where dirt can accumulate. And she said smells can really repeal potential buyers. Cigarette smoke, musty/mildew smells, cooking odors and pet odors can be especially troublesome if people are more sensitive or allergic to them. It takes more than spraying some floral spray, but a product that neutralizes and eliminates odors.
- Streamline furniture arrangement. Many homes have too much furniture and it makes the rooms seem smaller. Schwarz said it’s important that the buyer be able to imagine themselves in the house. Rooms should have a balance of hard and soft-side furniture. Too much furniture eats up the space. Furniture should be used in groupings of three and the staging should pull buyers into the room.
- Use one neutral color in all rooms. Different colors chop up the rooms. Lighter colors expand the rooms and make it feel larger. Try to also use the same light color for the carpeting and flooring as well.
“Staging is a feeling and it can help change the buyer’s feeling about a house,” Schwarz said. “By packing up the clutter, taking down the posters, fixing the walls and painting it white or off beige can make a big difference in appealing to buyers.” She said to add some pop, use moveable color like throw pillows, area rugs, towels and artwork to add energy and excitement to the rooms.
“The key is to get the house staged,” Schwarz added. “The investment of staging a home is far less than any price reduction.”
Kim Shindle is the Manager of Media Relations at the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®. Follow Kim on Twitter.