Home Staging 101: Part 3 Functional and cozy

Home Staging 101 covered the basics: Keeping the grounds well-watered, gardens lush with full blooms and making sure your first impression is a great one. Part two covered how and what to de-clutter, organization and some minor staging tips.

This post will focus on functionality and making your home as inviting as possible. Remember, the key to a great showing is highlighting all the key features of your home, making the potential buyer linger (so they can get emotionally attached) and staging the space to they can imagine themselves living there, happily ever after.  Let’s dive right in…..

First on our list-  Focus on Functionality

Let’s address the white elephant in the room- no amount of staging, no matter how amazing, will camouflage outdated appliances. Kitchen and baths sell homes. If you have avocado colored appliances, its time to bite the bullet and update those bad boys! Stainless steel is what most buyers expect these days so if you’re going to invest, do it right. It will help you at the negotiation table later.  Now, if you have white or black appliances and they are in good shape, again- stainless steel is what today’s buyers expect but if that is the only issue a potential buyer has it’s not the worst. However, they will slash a few dollars off their offer because right upfront they know they will have to replace those items. The point of proper staging is to make the home seem move-in ready. The more the buyer must address, the less the offer, as a rule.

If your home is older or if you have had some electrical or plumbing work done (or did it yourself) make sure everything is up to code before you start showing your home. I suggest getting an inspection before your home is listed on the MLS and here’s why- its better to know now when you have the time to fix it as you see fit rather than finding out during negotiations and then being forced to comply with a buyer and possibly spend more or lose money on an issue you could have resolved beforehand. Once you have passed an inspection you can also add that information to your listing as a selling point. It shows that you have confidence in your home and when its time to negotiate, you are coming from an advantage point.

If you really want to set yourself apart from other comps in your area, offer a home warranty! This makes a HUGE impact on the buyer.  For around $600 (one-time fee) you are telling your potential buying pool that not only have you had the home inspected, you are offering a guarantee that if anything should go wrong during the first year, they are covered!

  1. Make your home inviting

Open all the window coverings to let the natural light shine in. Turn on all the lights so the Realtor and potential buyers can easily see the space without fumbling around for light switches.  Weather permitting, open the windows to let the fresh air fill the home on the morning of a showing day. Having the windows open for a few hours can really make a big difference.  Try layering scents to add depth and dimension. There are tons of options for freshening up your home, read on to see what the experts are saying and for some insider tips we use here at The Galligan Team-

Let’s talk scents! There are a lot of opinions on which scent are best. Here are a few suggested scents from the industries top professionals:

  • Vanilla is one of those scents that almost everyone loves, but don’t go overboard. Candles are dangerous, try a plug-in scent that is mild. You shouldn’t be able to taste it, if you can, it’s too strong.
  • Think Citrus! According to Money Magazine, “your kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house. For prospective buyers, women make most of the buying decisions, and they’re often the ones who will look closest at this room. This means your kitchen must not only be sparkling clean, but it needs to smell great. Make sure your garbage disposal has a pleasant scent. Toss in some lemon or orange rind along with a few ice cubes, and turn on the disposal. This will eliminate stale or unpleasant odors.”
  • Baked goods are always a good option! if you have time a few hours before a showing or open house, bake some cookies! Everyone loves the smell of baked goods and the bonus…. you can leave the cookies on the counter as a sweet treat. Your potential buyers will thank you!
  • Other popular scents I found researching this topic are: Herbs like basil (especially for the kitchen), green tea, pine and cedar
  • Try reed diffusers, oil plug-ins, simmer pots, deodorizing disks or potpourri

TIP: If your home is smelling less than fresh, sprinkle some baking soda on your carpets and sofas. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes, and vacuum it up. Baking soda absorbs odors, and will leave your home with a neutral pallet so that you can add a more pleasant scent. You can also sprinkle baking soda in your garbage can to eliminate unpleasant odors (or use scented garbage bags), add an open box of baking soda to the fridge to absorb food smells. If that doesn’t work a great trick is to grab 2 pieces of newspaper, get it wet and put it in a container then add it to the fridge. For some reason the wet newspaper absorbs hard to treat odors! Just be sure to hide it in the back, out of plain sight since it’s an eyesore.

  1. Stage a test Walk-Thru

Remember, you want potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your house. This means that you may have to part with items that might not be appealing to the masses. Bedding, shower curtains etc. should be neutral and simple (and clean!). These items are easy to replace and can make a big difference between a house that looks move in ready and a house that “needs updating”. Many buyers can’t see past simple fixes so if your home is cluttered, outdated or dark you are eliminating potential buyers or worse, bring in low ball offers!

Ask a friend you trust to be honest (or your Realtor, they are experts after all) to do a walk through and give you an honest critique. Once you have this information, follow through put it to good use!! Don’t take anything personally, again, this is business! Selling your home has NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with the buyers envisioning opening Christmas presents in the family room or blowing out birthday candles in the dining room and that can be hard to do if all they see are “problems” they must fix.

Lastly, tour a few open houses in your area to see what the competition is doing to command top dollar. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t panic, do what you can to bring your home up to date. Small investments to neutralize and stage a home have a potential to become a huge pay off. Above all, your home should be spotless during this time.  Even if you can’t afford new appliances or paint, you can absolutely afford to stock up on cleaning supplies and use them regularly and often. The longer a home lingers on the market the more likely it is going to receive low ball offers so its important to do whatever it takes to get your home under contract asap.  For some design inspo click over to our Pintrest.

Some information used in this post is from the following articles:


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