Tati DaSilva's Blog
If you've recently put your home on the market -- or are considering doing so in the near future -- home staging is a priority which will soon take front and center!
Since "presentation is everything" when trying to catch the interest of prospective buyers, it's crucial to be able to see things through their eyes.
Unfortunately, being able to accomplish that objective is next to impossible because, as a homeowner, you're looking at your home and property through a completely different lens than the rest of the world. The longer you've lived in your home, the more your objectivity is compromised.
Here are a few reasons why it's really difficult to "see the forest for the trees" when it comes to home staging:
First of all, there's the emotional aspect of owning a home and seeing your life unfold there over a period of years. That's especially true for first-time homeowners, parents of growing children, and people who have sunk a lot of money, time, and energy into improvements and customization. Once you've added personal touches to your home to reflect your own tastes, personality, and lifestyle, you're viewing your home through a unique perspective that may cloud your objectivity as a home seller.
Solution: Think Like a Business Owner
For the same reason business owners and executives hire outside consultants to tell them how to improve management efficiency or profitability, home sellers often need professional marketing guidance from a real estate agent or home staging consultant. Getting input from home decorators, landscapers, or home improvement contractors may also provide you with helpful ideas, but their recommendations may not always be the most economical and cost effective.
When staging your home to enhance eye appeal and attract the most potential buyers, a good guiding principle to keep in mind is ROI or "return on investment." While you don't want to sink more money into sprucing up and staging your home than necessary, you do want to cast it in its best possible light. Depending on how recently your home has been updated or improved, your investment in home staging may be relatively inexpensive. On the other hand, if you haven't updated, repaired, or made improvements for more years than you care to remember, the cost of making your home irresistible to buyers may be a lot higher!
One More Scenario
If your tastes could be described as eclectic, "off the wall", or otherwise out of the mainstream, you might need to consider a major overall in the look and feel of your property. Unless you're lucky enough to have it be a "sellers' market" at the time you're putting your house up for sale, it's generally advisable to make your home appealing to as wide a range of potential buyers as possible. An experienced real estate professional is usually in the best position to provide the guidance you need to accomplish that key objective.
Nothing ruins a great view like a greasy hand print right in the middle of the window. No matter the time of year it is, you can always benefit from brightly clean windows. They allow in more natural light and can transform a dull room into a bright living space. Planning for this at the right time is important. You don't want to clean your windows while they are in direct sunlight or the cleaning suds will dry while you're working, just making them worse. You can either do a full day's worth of windows by starting on the South and West facing sides in the morning, then moving to the North and East facing sides in the afternoon. You can clean on an overcast day but be careful, or your hard work will just get washed away in the rain.
Filling Your Tool Bucket
Window washing techniques aren't too tricky, but they do require the right tools. If you start without them, you'll stress yourself all the way through the process.
- Soft Bristle Brush: Think of the same kind of brush you use on non-stick pans or glasses in your kitchen, but make sure it’s a clean one, not the actual one from the kitchen, so you don’t spread kitchen grease around the windows. For best results, get one with a built-in soap dispenser and an extendable handle so those high window edges are always within reach and you don’t have to carry around a bucket of soapy water. Use the brush to get grime and stains off the window without wearing out your arms in the process.
- Lightly Soapy Cleaner: Stay away from all the combined sprayer cleaners. Instead, go for a kitchen cleaner that is meant to cut through stains and grease. Your best choice will be one that cleans well but doesn’t get too sudsy. Test it in your brush to determine how much water to combine with it for exactly the right consistency.
- Hose with sprayer: An adjustable sprayer nozzle attachment for your garden hose can make getting the rest of the outdoor grime off the windows even easier. Once you've loosened it up with your brush, simply spray the residue off with your hose. Be careful not to spray too vigorously because you can accidentally loosen the seals around your windows.
- Squeegee: A good squeegee is necessary to prevent all your previous work from going to waste. When used properly, a squeegee gets all that beaded water off your windows, so it can't dry in streaks and ruin all your hard work. It also means the windows are almost completely dry for the last step and won't get those round rubbing streaks either. If you have wide picture windows, look for a wide squeegee to cut down on the number of vertical stripes required. Lastly, look for one with an extendable handle like your bristle brush so that you can always start and the very top of each window.
- Chamois Cloths: For that last little bit of drying and polishing, don't use any old cloth. Get yourself a proper chamois to prevent streaking. If it is in your budget, you can get a natural chamois made of sheep leather, but don't rule out the synthetics. There are some fantastic synthetic chamois fabrics out there for any budget.
- Simple Soft Cloth: After you’ve dried the window, you’ll need a simple soft cloth for the window sill. Use this cloth to pick up any remaining dirt or water from the cleaning process.
Don’t Forget the Screens
No matter how clean the windows, you still can't see through them if you have dirty screens. Since you had to take them off anyway, now is the perfect time to clean them as well. Using the same soapy cleaner and a bristle brush, gently brush both sides of the screen to remove dirt, dust, and grime. Then spray them off with your garden hose and sprayer attachment. Be careful only to use a medium pressure sprayer option, since you don't want to tear the screen away from the edges.
Got your home looking its greatest? Call your real estate professional and schedule that open house!
If you need to stage your home no doubt that you know that it needs to look neutral to be appealing to the audience that sees it. What you may not know is how to do that, or you may think that you will need someone to come in and do it for you. If you follow a few simple steps, you may be able to avoid having to go that route.
When you are staging a home, it is for the person seeing it to see themselves in it. Seeing a room from the buyer point of view can be difficult to do if you have family photos, kid’s artwork, knick-knacks from places that you’ve been to, diplomas or other personal items around taking up mental space. These are the items that make a house a home but for this purpose that is not what you want.
Clear out the clutter
We all have our connection to items around us. The vase from your great-aunt, a trophy from winning a sports competition or dried bouquet from your first anniversary, but these sentiments mean nothing to an outsider looking in. Make sure that any shelves, counters, and even your refrigerator have a minimum of items on them. Try to go for one to three things in each location. Minimizing clutter allows for the space to be seen and again for the viewers to be able to envision themselves there.
Reduce the furniture
Having each room filled to the brim with furniture may be a necessity for you, but it is crucial that people get a picture of the space available. Also, if you have furniture that is set-up in such a way that reduces the appearance of roominess or in a way that is otherwise awkward it will be worth it to re-adjust or remove these pieces to your storage.
Clean and smelling good
No one wants to be in a place that is not clean. Do a deep clean on the house. Wash the windows. Wipe down the baseboards and window sills. Steam clean the carpet. Disinfect the light switches and door knobs, etc. If any areas of the house have odors, identify them so that you can deodorize the area.
Once it no longer feels like home- Success
Seriously though if you are bringing others into your house the purpose is to make it feel open to all who enter and allow them to think that they can turn it into their home. With that goal in focus, if you have any questions or need someone's opinion about if you have staged your house well contact your local real estate agent for help.