What kind of house sells faster and for a higher value? A staged house!
A staged house, when properly marketed, will sell more quickly and can actually achieve a higher value, especially when compared to an “un-staged” house.
If you’re selling a new construction home, that no one has lived in – it should be staged to reflect its “livability” but emphasize it’s pristine condition. However, the vast majority of us are selling a “pre-owned” home. We’ve lived in it for a while and have grown into thinking of as our own space. We’ve decorated to suit our own taste and may even have changed the nature of the use of a particular room such as bedroom that became an office. The trick of staging a “pre-owned” house is to give it a clean slate without completely killing the “lived in” quality. For instance:
If you originally bought a three bedroom home, but turned into a two bedroom, one office home, you’d want to return it to a three bedroom house. If a room had an intended specific purpose, that you may have altered, change it back to its original format.
Take that idea a step further. Think about the nature of a bedroom and remove anything that doesn’t “belong” in a bedroom; such as televisions, computers and computer desk etc. Make sure there’s a place that is a designated eating space in the kitchen or dining area, etc. etc. etc.
Furniture placement can also make a big difference in the way a staged home feels; particularly if the house follows an “open concept” floor plan. Position furniture in groupings to imply the intended use for the space; such as sofas, loveseats and ottomans imply a “living room” or “family room” environment depending on the degree to which your furniture feels formal or casual. Keep heavier pieces (especially, but all pieces if you can) moved out from the walls. Be sure to include at least three feet of space around the groupings in order to increase the feeling of spaciousness. If you find you have more furniture than space, remove a few pieces and store them or reevaluate whether or not you really want to keep them.
Lighting is incredibly important in a well-staged house. The general rule is a minimum of one light fixture per 100 square feet of space. More light than that is usually better, but let the function of the room guide you on how bright it should be. While on the topic of lighting, be sure you change out any old incandescent light bulbs for either compact fluorescents or LED bulbs. While it may seem excessive, use only white lamp shades on lamps in the house (unless the lamp is designed to have a colored shade such as in the case of a “Tiffany” lamp or the like.) White shades will look clean and uniform as well as keep the light brighter in the room.
Remove any “personal clutter” from the house. Don’t leave test papers and magnets on the refrigerator. Get rid of any piles of mail or papers you have on tables or counters. Even lightening up the load on your bookcases is a good idea. Leave only a few books per shelf so they look as if they’re used but aren’t overcrowded. Keep the colors of the bindings similar to one another.
Changing the décor of the house and the personal belongings you keep out might seem a little uncomfortable, but it allows potential buyers to envision their things in the house. It lets them see themselves living there… and after all, isn’t that kind of the point?