Stage it, Sell it!

A properly staged home will earn you bucks when selling your home.  The Association Of Staging Professionals (ASP®) reports that the national average is 11 days on market for ASP® Professionally staged homes, 95% of homes sold in 29 days or less, compared to 90 days on market for non-staged homes, and 88% of staged homes sold for at or above the listed price!

So, What Does Staging Really Mean?

You don’t need fancy furnishings or upscale fixtures to achieve a beautifully staged home.  What it comes right down to is creating a space that the potential buyers can see working for them.  Each room should highlight its function and its finest characteristics. For example, if a stone fireplace can be a beautiful focal point of a room, don’t make the mistake of facing all furniture to the television in the corner, thereby taking focus away from the room’s best feature!

Declutter, Declutter, Declutter!

The number one thing you can do to start staging your home is declutter. Buyers cannot picture their belongings in a crowded room.  They also cannot picture their family in a room full of your personal items. If you are serious about staging your home to sell, all clutter must go!  Think hotel room sparsity. When you walk into a bedroom for example, you should see the bed, nightstand, lamps, dresser, a beautiful piece of artwork or two, period.   Maybe a book and a pair of reading glasses on the nightstand, denoting that this bedroom is a cozy retreat. Bedding should be clean, bed made and softened with a throw or some other item with texture.  Remove most personal photos, excessive word art, hampers, baskets full of stuff, etc. Again, choose one purpose for each room and highlight that rooms best feature!

How do I Declutter?

You’ve probably heard of or read about the 3-step method for decluttering.  To break it down into manageable time frames, room by room, separate your items into 3 categories:  1) Discard/trash 2) Donate 3) Keep. First and foremast, take discardable/trash items to the dump! Next, boxes filled with items that you are willing to part with, in good condition, are taken to your favorite donation spot.  Keep only the items that you love and, for the sake of staging, keep only the items that will stage beautifully in the room. I like to add #4) Relocate. The rest of your keepers should be stored offsite while your home is being shown.  Remove any furniture that gets in the way of an open, easy flow home. Remove extra clothes from your closet, extra toys from the kid’s rooms, extra small appliances or tools from the counters and pantry, etc. so that buyers can picture having more than enough space. Think 30% extra space.
In addition to decluttering, a home should be impeccably clean for showings.  A deep cleaning tells your buyers that you are a seller who has taken care of this home.  Make sure the kitchen and baths are spotless with shiny counters, smudge free cabinets and glistening floors.  Clean lamps, chandeliers, light fixtures and ceiling fan blades. Change out discolored lamp shades and replace any burnt out bulbs.  Get any visible stains out of carpets. Make sure all rooms are dusted and vacuumed. And, don’t forget the dirty areas around doorknobs, light switches, etc.  Cleanliness signifies to buyers that your home has been well taken care of overall. Lastly, make sure your home smells lovely. Steam carpets if necessary, to remove pet odors.  Bake cookies before a showing to make the whole house smell delicious, or, buy a can of cinnamon bun air freshener or a spice cake candle!

Once you’ve tackled the inside, spend some time outdoors adding curb appeal to the exterior of your home.  Weed, trim, and add mulch in garden areas to give them a clean, well-cared for look.  Power wash any off-colored siding, walkways or driveway. Clean windows, attach or replace old gutters, paint over any peeling paint, stain decks and porches, etc.  A few additions like potted plants and solar lights along the walkway and highlighting beautiful trees can make a big difference, as can bold new house numbers and/or a new light fixture on the porch.  Even the smallest of porches can be made inviting with a new welcome mat and a pretty chair. Always keep the porch light on for buyers driving by in at night!

Finally, small, inexpensive updates can make a huge difference!  Open all curtains to let in natural light, replace or even remove any curtains that look old and worn.  Add live potted plants for freshness and beauty. Replace outdated or worn knobs in kitchens and baths. Add a clean, minimalistic shower curtain.  After decluttering and cleaning, only bring back perfect accents: a fluffy white bathrobe hanging behind the bathroom door, brand new bars of soap, clean fluffy linens, a bowl of fresh fruit or farmers market veggies on the counter or a vase of fresh cut flowers all do the trick.  Hide all pet items and leave no sign of garbage cans.

There are, of course, so many more projects you can do to get your home in the best shape for selling.  Paint your walls neutral colors. Greige has taken the place of whites or beige. Make those small home repairs that you noticed while you were cleaning out the house. Repair any leaks and remediate any signs of past leaks, replace those missing or burned out bulbs, replace broken glass or mirrors – the same things that you are noticing when looking for your next home!

Throughout the process, view your home as if through your buyers’ eyes.  Am I attracted to the exterior as soon as I drive up? Does the home feel and smell clean as soon as I walk in?  Do the sellers take good care of this home? Can I see my things fitting in here? Can I see my family using this room/space?   Make your home look bigger and more desirable by getting down to these basics. Focus on making your home feel fresh, clean and bright -making yours the lifestyle home that buyers are looking for!

Looking for help selling your home in or near Boone, NC? We can help!

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About the Author

A Realtor® in Boone and the High Country since 2003, I am passionate about offering my clientele superior service, innovative marketing, and a highly personalized, boutique-style experience. Upon moving to Boone, I started my real estate career as an Investor and was Broker-In-Charge of my own firm. Since then, I have excelled with other real estate firms and built a strong network of client friends. Together with my network of real estate-related professionals, along with my Professional Home Staging business, we will polish your home buying/selling experience with your goals as a priority. 

I’ve lived all over the United States from the NE to the SE and California before landing in Boone, NC. You’ve seen the signs, “The mountains are calling, and I must go?” Well, that was me 21 years ago! I love bluegrass music and, it seems, many of the great pickers were born in NC with a guitar in their hands! I sing, play a little mandolin and keyboards, and can be found at outdoor festivals and concerts when I’m not showing property! I also participate in many of our area’s outdoor activities, from hiking and biking to kayaking- the New River is my summer home! Caring for the needs of High Country residents is also very important to me. I serve in many ways, from preparing and serving meals at the Hospitality House to School Events to Habitat for Humanity Home Builds. In addition, I am honored to serve our community as a Licensed Foster Parent and Certified Guardian ad Litem, advocating for children in the courtroom.

The High Country of North Carolina is unique, with sizeable second home and student populations driving much of the market. It’s important that you work with a Realtor® like myself who is experienced and educated in the area, guaranteeing our success together. The acronyms behind my Broker title are not just letters - they stand for something;

 GRI - Graduate of the Realtor Institute. Brokers holding this designation have completed 12 3-day courses over 2 years or more for in-depth training.

 ABR - Accredited Buyer's Agent. An (ABR®) designation means your Realtor® has made extra efforts to raise the bar with additional courses and proven experience in serving BUYERS.

 SFR - Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource Certification. Short sales and foreclosures are not for the faint of heart, and the courses I've taken arm me with the knowledge to assist clients in this area.

My business approach is founded on building lasting relationships based on commitment and trust, and much of my business comes from referrals from past clients. 

Make me Your Realtor of Choice, and work with someone you can trust to take your needs to heart and find the perfect property for YOU in the HIGH COUNTRY!