Author Topic: I need help staging my house to sell.  (Read 9976 times)

MayDay

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I need help staging my house to sell.
« on: February 24, 2015, 01:30:39 PM »
We are going to attempt to sell our house FSBO in April.  The goal is to list the 1st week of April, and have an open house on the 2nd Sunday of the month (all open houses in our market are on sunday afternoons). 

We don't "need" to sell, thus the FSBO, but if we are going to go through the bother, we want it to look as nice as possible, so I'm in major declutter/repair/clean mode for the month of March. 

Our house is big (one of the major reasons we are selling) at 2700 sq. ft.  It has high ceilings which are great for light, but terrible for scale.  It currently has a feel that is a mix of "we just moved in and haven't bothered to hang any pictures up" combined with sparse/minimalist.  I think the minimalist vibe is good (emptier rooms seem larger) but the sparseness less so. 

I struggle with what to hang on the walls especially because in a few rooms (living room and master bedroom especially) hanging a normal size picture, say 16" x 20", looks ridiculous on the size of the wall.  But a totally blank wall looks stupid.  Plus they say you should minimalist personal pictures while staging, but that is 90% of the stuff I have to hang! 

Anyway, as you can see if you read through all that, I am spinning my wheels and don't know what to do.  I obviously want to minimalist spending since there is no guarantee this will result in a sale.  I'll be doubly annoyed at buying "art" for staging if we don't even move!  So with no further delay, I'm going to post a few pictures of options and spaces, and ask for honest opinions.  Don't sugar coat it, I know my decorating skilz suck! 

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2015, 01:35:16 PM »
Formal dining room. I think this picture would look good, and the wall clearly needs something over the buffet. But with the fish tank there, a picture would be right above it which seems weird.

Moving the fish is an option but I don't have anything else the tank could sit on so I'd have to acquire some furniture.

Help.

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2015, 01:42:55 PM »
Living room. Kids toys will be extremely tidy and/or moved to the basement.

1. The picture from above shows the furniture layout. I am open to rearranging. The kitchen is to the right.

2.  Something should probably go over the fireplace but what?  The biggest picture I have is sitting on the mantle and looks tiny.

3.  There is a huge blank wall which the former owners used for a giant entertainment center.

4.  I have these 4 "big" pictures. 

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2015, 01:47:45 PM »
Master bedroom. Kind of empty looking because we don't have dressers or anything (all our clothes fit fine in the closet!). 

Not sure what to do here . Get rid of pink granny rocker? (Literally from my granny lol).  Hang pictures?  I have no clue.

This room has a few laundry baskets, but once I hide those it's basically empty. Taking photos of our house reminds me of how weird we are!

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2015, 01:51:03 PM »
Master bath. I hung a few framed lace things of my grandmothers. Do they make the room old-lady-ish? Are bare walls better?

Laundry drying rack will be hidden.

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2015, 01:52:45 PM »
Ok, that's all. Comments and suggestions welcome.

GizmoTX

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2015, 01:55:58 PM »
Sparse is good. Less is more.
Don't hang any pictures. You want buyers to see your space, not your art or photos.
Relocate the fish tank somewhere else. Don't add any furniture. Remove the toys.
Your kitchen is important. Remove almost everything from the counters & purge overfilled drawers & shelves.
Storage everywhere should be half full -- box up extras.

GizmoTX

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2015, 01:59:13 PM »
Go outside & take a critical look at your front yard, entry, & front door -- make sure these are very attractive. It's worth spending some money here to freshen anything that looks worn or untrim.

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2015, 02:00:01 PM »
Sparse is good. Less is more.
Don't hang any pictures. You want buyers to see your space, not your art or photos.
Relocate the fish tank somewhere else. Don't add any furniture. Remove the toys.
Your kitchen is important. Remove almost everything from the counters & purge overfilled drawers & shelves.
Storage everywhere should be half full -- box up extras.
.

The kitchen is good.  I'm currently working on boxing up stuff, that part is easy!

It's making stuff look pretty that I suck at.

I think you are right about moving the fish but no one has a dresser, and we have one computer desk, with a computer on it. I literally have nothing to put the fish on unless I move the whole buffet to the living room, which is an option space-wise.

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2015, 02:06:53 PM »
Go outside & take a critical look at your front yard, entry, & front door -- make sure these are very attractive. It's worth spending some money here to freshen anything that looks worn or untrim.

Good call, and I will right before we sell. Right now we are buried in snow.

GizmoTX

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2015, 02:10:47 PM »
We don't use dressers either. "Stuff" does not sell a house, space does.

If you feel the buffet belongs in the dining room, then make it function as a buffet. Look into a utility cart for the fish tank, which can go into one of your bedrooms or the basement. The cart can be repurposed elsewhere later.

Refinish your front door and/or lock set if they're not pristine.


gaja

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2015, 02:12:23 PM »
A cheap trick from TV shows is to frame pieces of wallpaper. You can often get samples and leftover rolls of wallpaper free or very cheap.

Villanelle

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2015, 02:18:56 PM »
Check thrift stores for art.  It doesn't matter if it isn't your taste, as long as it is large and doesn't look dated.  I think the "not dated" is key. 

If you are even an itty bitty bit handy, make a large frame out of 2x2s (or anything you have lying around).  You don't need to reenforce it or anything, given that it is temporary art.  Just a square or rectangle.  You don't even need to miter cut the corners, though you'll want the edges to be fairly squared off.  Find a fabric store (many town have discount fabric stores) and look in their discount bins for the things they are dumping because they only have a yard (or whatever left).  Find something that sort of matches your home and isn't odd (no cartoon characters or cowboy boot prints) or dated, stretch it across your frame, and staple.  Very, very cheap art made to whatever size you want. 

Those are suggestions if you really feel you need art.  I would take down the lace as yes, I think it will likely look dated, so unless yours is a period home with period details, get rid of it. 

Also, minimal is good, but you don't want to cross over into sterile and cold.  Google photos of professional staged homes and you'll note they they do have someone on the coffee table or one of the end tables.  People want a home to feel inviting and often lack the imagination to know what it will look like with their stuff in it, which is the whole purpose of staging.  So don't go so minimalist that it isn't inviting. A fruit bowl full of oranges on your dining room table cab be better than a blank table, and is essentially free if oranges are part of your diet anyway.

Groovin Old Hippie

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2015, 02:35:50 PM »
It's a little difficult only using the pictures but here's what I would try: 

LR - move the entertainment center to the wall under the stairs.  Move the couch closer to the long wall and place the love seat facing the fireplace (the way it is now you enter the room and walk right into the furniture).  Angle the chair/footstool in the corner under the window to the right of the fireplace.  Put sofa table on wall next to couch.  Move the fish tank to the sofa table.  Arrange side tables next to sofa/love seat.

DR - move buffet to empty wall in bedroom.  Move hutch to wall where buffet was.

BR - Hang a mirror over the buffet.  I would get rid of rocker or at least drape a pretty throw over it.

Of course put any kid related items into the designated kid space.  There are many more things you can do but maybe this will be a start.  Btw, the lamps in the LR are gorgeous!  Good luck!!  :) 

KD

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2015, 02:58:43 PM »
I've sold three homes in the last four years (ours, in-laws & brothers).  One sold in 7 days - all three sold w/i 21 days.

Make all small repairs. 

Touch up paint all areas that need it.  Go in each room and make a list of all the things that need to go/repair/update. 

Tighten all loose/wobbly/broken things. Perhaps a couple of your bathroom lights need new bulbs I think.

I spent a minimum $250 for fresh towels, a couple of current skotshkis (sp?), spray paint and art. 

I spent $50 at each house getting the yard/mulch/potted plants up to snuff.

I bought a big art piece for dining rooms and one over large for the living rooms.  Key for me was knowing I'd be happy w/the items in my new location as well.  From my P.O.V. it was an investment in seeing that the homes sold quickly.  Lingering on the market?  Killer from a pricing point.

I set the dining table w/the good stuff.

I took well over half of the furnishings out.  (Yours looks like you've got it down pat)

I did put out fruit bowls.  Minimalist couple of vases. 

I spray painted and updated door knobs, cabinet knobs, and some lighting fixtures to oil rubbed bronze (but I'm arty).  It was cheaper than replacing them entirely. 

Set out the fresh towels. 

Fabreeze can be your friend.  Don't over do it.

I rented a storage unit for all the stuff we wanted to keep that wasn't essential to a staged home.  You are wanting to move?  Get started packing and get out of your own way. 

In the home we lived in I started moving KEEPERS but not essential maybe a month before listing.  I made sure my home was show house clean before the realtor came for first look thru.  YES, this putting into storage made extra work & a months worth of storage as we moved some things twice.  I didn't care as I wanted the houses sold and sold quickly.

I made sure the home was spotless the day the photographer came, all the lights were on, windows were clean and curtains drawn open (if the view is good).  Taking my own photographs and looking at them helped me SEE things that from living there I had learned to overlook.

I think your framed lace things are fine.  Looks like a deep navy mat.  Buy a navy handtowel or washcloths to set out in there.  All cosmetics off counters and drying rack and personal grooming stuff under counters or in drawers.  Maybe a silver colored vase in there and done.  Go to the thrift store/garage sale buy something for a $1 and spray paint it shiny white or silver.

In the bedroom I'd leave the rocker and take the cushions off and put them in storage.  Not sure about your duvet.  Perhaps a new one or a new duvet cover and a couple of decorator pillows.  Bed made, floor vacuumed, Fabreeze sprayed, Done.

Fish-tank to Grandma's or a neighbors for the duration.  Dog/Kitty bowls/kennels gone in the car w/us at each showing.  Dog poop in yard cleaned up on our way out the door for showings.  As far as buyers knew?  We had no pets.  I think maybe I'd spray paint your dining room light fixture or replace it w/a slightly more modern one.  Yours is fine to me, but many younger couples may think it dated.  How fast do you want to sell?

Kitchen - I kept my coffee pot, toaster, Vitamix and Cuisinart Food processor out.   Everything else, besides a colorful matching dishrag and dishtowel, out of sight.  Dishes done, dishwasher empty, floor swept and oven top kept spotless.  Yes, even here, I emptied a bunch of cabinets into storage so it looks spacious.  Done. 

At our in-laws home.  The majority of the furniture was gone in a dispersal amongst the kids so I hauled a truck load of stuff from our house over.  For instance the LR was empty except for one side-table and one comfy chair & a lamp.  I took our ice-cream table & wrought iron chairs for the dining room & set the table.  I left a nice big set of wooden crank salt & pepper on the kitchen counter along w/a red geranium plant on the windowsill and an open Betty Crocker cookbook on the counter.  In the ladies bedroom (pink curtains) I put a vanity chair, side table & a handmirror on the table.  In the men's bedroom I put a side chair, side table w/a book on it.  In the remaining bedroom I put a bubblegum machine (FULL) and a dart target (no darts) on the wall indicating that it was a child's room.  The bathroom was clean w/a new towel & washcloth.  I hung a mirror in each room.  IOW, I 'suggested' what the rooms could be used for and I let them see themselves in the home.

I wish you luck!!!  Do you have a friend who could help you??
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 03:03:28 PM by KD »

justajane

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2015, 03:22:11 PM »
I think you should put things on the wall that are appropriately sized to the room. I second the suggestion to go to antique malls and possibly Goodwill to find something neutral. Black and white photography would work, as would classic art posters, or even exhibit posters from art galleries. You can find tons of those for relatively cheap at antique malls. Plus they are usually pretty large.

I think a big bowl of citrus fruit on the table would be good. A couple of large vases on the floor would be nice, although not practical with children to break them.

What about a duvet cover in your bedroom that is a bright color? My main observation is that the house comes across as somewhat colorless. Some dramatic pops of color might give your viewers a pleasant sense. That's what you want - for them to feel good in the rooms they walk through.

When possible, use 100W incandescent bulbs (although be sure the socket can handle that) to make things brighter. Now is not the time to save on electricity. Get some nice bright and fluffy hand towels for the bathroom. 

GetItRight

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2015, 03:36:35 PM »
I never understood staging. Your space should be neat, clean, and well lit. Your stuff should be put away and compact. I would prefer to walk through an empty house with no furniture, art, decorations, etc. unless it is things you intend to include in the sale (furniture that fits an odd space, blinds/drapes if neutral, appliances, etc.). I want to see the house and space that I would be getting and not worry about what you're hiding or trying to distract me from. I am not most people though, and I'd imagine people wouldn't spend time and money for temporary decorations if it didn't tend to increase sale prices. If it were me I'd just try to keep my stuff as compact and out of the way as possible, move anything out if I had a place for it or into a garage or basement if you have one, and make sure everything is very clean and bright, fix anything that needs fixing.

crispy

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2015, 03:41:12 PM »
You can also buy a few empty frames in different sizes Or use ones you have, spray pain them black (or whatever color you thing would enhance the space), and hang them as a grouping.  It looks fresh and modern and doesn't cost you anything.

Make sure to declutter and make everything look fresh and inviting.

former player

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2015, 03:46:47 PM »
Nice house and looks in decent condition, I don't think you need to do anything major.

I'm not at all convinced you need to hang many pictures (although you have some nice ones), given that you have the minimalist thing going for you and can show off walls in good condition without holes or marks - ie ready for someone else to move into.

The one thing you do need to do to show off the house as a minimalist masterpiece is remove everything which is not fully and carefully intentional.  For instance, dining room should have everything removed (including the fish tank) except the big furniture, and have four places set at the dining table  (sorry about the jigsaws: jigsaws are awesome and the best use for dining tables - I have one on mine at the moment too).

In the sitting room the big thing to sort out is those curtains.  Ideally I think you would put curtain poles above the top window, making sure that the poles are long enough for the curtains not to hang over the  windows when pulled back, and then hang floor-length curtains from them.  If you need to be cheap, you can hang lengths of cloth which are for decoration rather than wide enough to pull across the windows, or you can add a different material to the bottom of the curtains you already have.  Move the bookshelf/cabinet into the "kids" corner of the room and the stepladder to the basement/garage.  Don't hang pictures, but you might consider taking everything off the mantelpiece and just putting a display of three pictures on it - the dining room one and the two impressionists, perhaps, having them overlap slightly.   Make what is on your shelving look intentional, including a few of the nice toys, tidy away everything else and you are sorted.

Bedroom: same issue with the curtains with the same range of solutions.  The bed either needs to be pristinely precise (a smart bedspread) or invitingly comfortable (a couple of throws), and in either case needs a few extra cushions in order to stage the pictures.  (I don't understand why people put cushions on beds just to take them off, but it will look more current in pictures if you have them.)  The pink rocker is nice and looks good against the grey minimalism: keep it where it is.

Bathroom: keep the lace on the walls, remove the lace over the window and keep the blind up.  Remove everything else from sight (the vanity in particular needs to be completely bare) except possibly a couple of pristinely clean and ironed towels on the towelrails.  Make sure that all the lightbulbs over the vanity are working, and that the toilet lid is down.

Generally, make the rooms look as light as possible by putting all the blinds up and having windows sparkling clean inside and out.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 04:04:54 PM by former player »

Logic_Lady

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2015, 06:39:12 PM »
One thing my parents did when selling their house was take art my brother and I had made as children, frame it, and put it on the walls (in a very neat, organized fashion, as opposed to just sticking it on the fridge). The couple who bought the house said they wanted the house because they could picture raising kids there. This is a great way to make the house seem like a good place to start a family without having toys cluttering up the place, and it doesn't require you to buy any art.

KD

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #20 on: February 24, 2015, 06:46:34 PM »
Ignore what I said about the dining room light...I think I 'mis-observed' it.  Went back and looked again.  It should be just fine!

Jacana

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #21 on: February 24, 2015, 10:15:04 PM »
You've already gotten quite a lot of good advice. But I completely disagree about not decorating or hanging pictures on the wall. You already have a really nice house that looks very clean and well-maintained. Go a little farther and make it look nicely decorated too. You do not need to fill every wall, but a few extra inexpensive touches will make a room look better. Go look at some model homes for new communities in your area. Those models will have color paint, decorations, and pictures on the walls. Blank is not more appealing to the general public and the big home builders know this.

Maybe it depends on your market, but here in DC people give a lot of value to online photos, first impressions, and cosmetics, and all white blank walls can look minimalist... or kind of like a cheap dorm/apartment/rental. Keep an eye on your local market, see if you can find pictures of what is selling in your area and desired price range. The ones that sell fast, do they all look awesome and pulled-together? Or are they selling fast no matter how they look? 

Back in October, we staged our small townhouse with the help of my amazing artsy friend and about $300. Everything we bought I loved and put up in our new house. I've included some pics below to give you an idea of what I mean by staging. We had competing offers within 2 days of listing and closed in <30 days at asking price so I don't regret it at all. Another townhouse on our road listed at our price a few weeks later but didn't show well and just went under contract after 80+ days on the market and for tens of thousands below ours. We fixed everything we could, made the outside look great, rearranged what we already had, and had our friend help us redecorate. We had already painted a lot of walls with color but that wasn't for staging.

Do you have any artsy friends who can help you? Either to help you redecorate, or even to paint you a few pieces/give you artistic photos/create wall art, whatever? Ask everyone around you if they have any nice larger artwork or decor they are not currently using and see if you can borrow it for a few months. You may be surprised at what people have in their basements/attics. Move furniture around and see how that changes your impression of a room. Ask your friends over to do a mock walkthrough and listen to what they comment on.

For decorating: Consider, sometimes the cheapest way to redecorate is to repaint. Especially if the walls are looking a bit dingy. A nice neutral will decorate a wall fast. For art, go to Target, Michaels, Bed Bath and Beyond, wherever. Collect their coupons, and look at their clearance decor. Think beyond "picture" and also look at their wall decor (like mirrors, clocks, sculptures, whatever). You can often find clearance artwork with nice frames for way cheaper than the actual empty frame, and then you can replace the artwork with whatever you want if it is ugly. Check out a thrift store or Habitat ReStore. Sure wallpaper is a great idea inside a frame, or cloth from a fabric store. Or try cheap online poster stores and look for large nature scenes or something to fill the frames. Try to keep frames matching within a space, like all black or all brown. It automatically makes the room look more together.

Some specifics:
- Living room: there is a bookcase over by the fireplace. Can you move that to either under the stairs or where the kids' little desk is? And also, can the fish tank go on top of the bookcase? Or possibly to a trusted friend for the duration? That buffet table is lovely, and would look much better empty.
- The LR furniture all seems so huddled up against the fireplace, and makes it look smaller. Once you are ready to stage and the kids' stuff has moved out, spread the furniture out. Maybe pull out the seating to be more centered in the room? Or perhaps an L-configuration with the two couches.
- The mantel could use a really nice big picture hung on the wall. Or a framed mirror. Those paintings are way too small. Sorry.
- I see a whole bunch of picture frames at the top of the stairs. Reuse those! Just temporarily put new generic pictures on top of the kids portraits... have you or a friend/relative traveled and taken good photos of scenery? Like mountains, forests, cities? Maybe some of those will work especially if there is a common element.
- Dining room: once every small item is removed, looks nice. If the table has seen too much wear, buy a nice cloth tablecloth.
- Master: Don't buy furniture, the room looks sparse but big and functional. Granny rocker - put it in your daughter's room or kids play area if there is space. It can pass as a nursery/little girl rocker with a blanket and a stuffed animal. The personal photo should be removed, but art pieces might look nice. I would just leave the wall above the bed blank if you can't find anything else, you have a headboard and the whole room is very minimalist anyway. If you have a summer weight cover, use that instead (not a blanket, an actual cover). The smooth flat look is more streamlined and gives a better impression.
- Master bath: The pictures over the tub aren't aligned. Sorry. The lace is nice, but pictures in a bathroom aren't as necessary so maybe you can relocate them elsewhere if needed? Also, I see you've unscrewed half the lightbulbs over the mirror. I totally understand, they are always too bright, but it looks bad. Can you find lower wattage? Can they dim? You're gonna want to fix that somehow.

I thank you for providing some entertainment for my quiet evening while the rest of the family sleeps! But I'd better join them. Hope that was some help. Good luck!

Edit note: Attachments didn't quite work out. Reposting below. Sorry!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2015, 10:17:12 PM by Jacana »

Jacana

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #22 on: February 24, 2015, 10:18:13 PM »
Take 2:

My anecdotal example: One living room, 3 different first impressions.
Pic 1 - Normal life pre-move
Pic 2 - Blank and boring a month before listing
Pic 3 - Staged and ready to show. 1 large picture - ~35$ from Michaels. 3 small birch frames - ~20 from Target. Houseplants, I dunno $15 maybe? Rug - ok well admittedly that was just for me and from my spending money not the general budget. Looked ok without the rug. Around $100. I still love it though.

I tried to upload before/after pics of our bedroom but apparently I am limited to 4 uploads. So here's after:
Pic 4 - Master bedroom staged... new things were smooth bed cover (replacing cat-destroyed one), large picture on the far wall, the plate art thingy over the bed, and the orchid. Everything else we already had.

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2015, 04:49:22 AM »
Thank you everyone for all the ideas.  They are really helpful, and I'm going to keep referring back to them as I work in this over the next couple weeks.  I don't have time to respond individually, but rest assured, I've read them all and am going to start implementing them.

We are working in last minute minor repairs and paint touch-up, too.  A few rooms are freshly painted, and the remaining beige ones are being touched up.  I'm going to declutter and clean everything, but I don't want to do all of that a month in advance since it won't stay tidy for that long anyway. 

I will be continuing to check comments so if you think of more things, feel free to give me more ideas.

justajane

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #24 on: February 25, 2015, 05:47:46 AM »
Jacana is right on the money. I either prefer houses staged (i.e. decorated) or completely empty. The house we ultimately bought was empty. In between is where it gets dicey IMO and where I focus more on the person's stuff or aesthetic and less on the house itself. Since you are living in it, empty is not possible.

I have seen houses that are a mixture of empty and staged, and that's okay too. So if you have rooms that you don't use at all, you could just empty them and not worry about the touches.
 
Funny story, someone had left a "classy" maternity photo of their naked belly on the wall. That's all I remember about that house.

going2ER

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2015, 08:40:36 AM »
I personally like a staged home. You have gotten lots of great tips here, but I will add mine anyway ;)

Dining room- I would get rid of the fish tank, can it go to someone else's home for the time being? I would hang something over the buffet. Do you have any decorative looking plates or bowls? They don't need to be collector items, just something that looks nice. Also once the table is cleared I would put down a runner and a bowl of fruit or some candles and salt and pepper grinders. Use what you already have if you can.

Living room-the furniture does need to be rearranged, it seems like all the big furniture is crowded into a small area. The curtains should be hung higher in the space that they are in and should be long enough to graze the floor. Its hard to tell how large the B&W pictures are, but the 2 of them may work over the fireplace. Place a couple of candles or small  plants on the mantle along with the smaller pics that are already there if they are also in black frames.

Bedroom-replace bedding and have some pillows on the bed. Depending on where you live either go with a smooth, minimal look or if in a colder climate invest in a nice duvet and cover with a colorful blanket folded on the end of the bed. You could also do some floating shelves at the bedsides and place a couple of books or a lamp on them. Remember you are taking this stuff with you so even though you are spending if you have something you love its yours.

Bathroom-as others have said make sure all lights are working, and that goes for the rest of the home as well, some fresh linens and some plants or candles placed around.

It seems like you do need more color in your home so when you are looking at linens or candles and such get something with color, it doesn't have to be bright, but as long as it isn't a neutral it would help make things look brighter.

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #26 on: March 10, 2015, 12:00:41 PM »
Living room update:  furniture has been rearranged, pictures hung. Many kids toys packed away, although a few more will be done last minute. We moved the fish tank in here.

I may look for something above the couch, something horizontal. 

The mantle "art" is a 10 frame from hobby lobby, on clearance because it was all banged up, covered with 17$ worth of fabric.  I need something to replace the small family picture on the mantle, I'm keeping my eyes open at thrift stores.

Obviously the puzzle will be off the floor, carpet vacuumed, etc.  You can still see carpet indentation where the furniture used to be. It's been 10 days. Maybe steam cleaning will help. 

I know a bunch of people thought curtains should be high enough to cover the top windows too, and I agree, but I would need either custom curtains or about 18 yards of fabric if I draped it, so either way, very $$$. So I'm skipping that suggestion.

former player

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #27 on: March 10, 2015, 12:16:53 PM »
Well done on the changes.

For the indentations in the carpet, you can try damping them and then running an iron over them.

For the curtains it looks to me as though you could raise the poles above the higher windows while keeping the curtains you have if you just adding a couple of feet of contrast fabric on their bottoms as a long border.  It shouldn't cost much and would create a real wow factor for those windows.   (Alternatively, if you can do without the curtains, just take everything away and leave them bare.)


MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #28 on: March 10, 2015, 12:23:02 PM »
Former player- good call.  You or someone else may have already suggested that and I missed it.  I will add that to the end of my list if I have time.  I could happily do without the curtains, but I thought mini blinds alone would look cheap. 

jennasaurusrex

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #29 on: March 10, 2015, 12:42:09 PM »
You can also download Audubon prints for free (if that's your style) and frame those. There are all kinds of great birds to choose from on the site. https://www.audubon.org/birds-of-america

Bob W

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #30 on: March 10, 2015, 12:43:17 PM »
Pick up a vanilla and cinnamon scented whole house thingy to hang on your filter on the HVAC unit.   Leave lights on in the day showings.   Put a shine on everything.  (some spray can poly urethane works well for that).

New toilet seat covers.     Schedule you open house from say 3- 6 so that you will be everyone's last stop.  (check out the competition on this).

Have a very nice professional looking packet of information to hand out.   Include in it the details.  Copies of utility bills,  insurance costs.

The closet should be almost empty.  (as someone mentioned pack up stuff and move it out).   

Serve cookies and tea.

Tell everyone that there has been a lot of interest in the house and softly indicate the price is firm.  Make sure you do that as people assume FSBOs are very negotiable.   

The front walk should be eatoffable and spend some cash a few days before to add some pretty stuff out there.   

All blinds and curtains should be open.     

Ask a good friend or neighbor over to do a smell check.  You won't smell your own stink but an honest person will tell you if something is off.

Make sure ceiling fans and the blower on your HVAC are going.     

I love the idea of decorating the dining room table.  Check out how furniture stores do this.

There are also professional staging companies in most markets. 

Have fun.   

Jacana

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #31 on: March 10, 2015, 02:20:41 PM »
Nice changes! Looks more spacious.

For the furniture marks, this sounds really silly but try putting a few ice cubes in each one overnight, then vacuum with a high carpet setting in the morning. Repeat every few days until they disappear. Worked at our house.

For the high windows, if it's really a problem, you could also try window film that matches your decor. They are sold at Lowe's/Home Depot, easy and fast to install, and add a decorative stained-glass kind of look.
For example: http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=372729-45825-PF0060&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=3655040&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1


ZiziPB

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #32 on: March 10, 2015, 02:31:27 PM »
I think the curtains look just fine the way they are now.  And I like your other changes too. But I am not sure about your furniture (sofas) arrangement.  It's a large room and I think it would look better if there was a furniture grouping away from the walls, centered on the fireplace. 

pagoconcheques

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #33 on: March 10, 2015, 03:19:50 PM »
Go outside & take a critical look at your front yard, entry, & front door -- make sure these are very attractive. It's worth spending some money here to freshen anything that looks worn or untrim.

It's helpful to take a few pictures and look at them on a big computer screen or actually get prints made.  Your brain has tuned out what your house looks like from the road; seeing it in a picture will make obvious what needs to be done. 

A week or two before listing, touch up the landscaping and put down fresh mulch where appropriate.  Doing it a little in advance gives the aroma time to dissipate. 

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #34 on: March 10, 2015, 03:37:09 PM »
Snow isn't even all melted yet but outside is definitely on my radar.

I've got paint up next, so that smell goes away, then outside after that.

ysette9

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #35 on: March 10, 2015, 04:14:44 PM »
What is the housing market like where you are? What price do you hope to get for your house?

We live in a high COL area and I don't think I have been to a single open house that wasn't staged, with the exception of an estate sale. From everything I have read, it is so worth the money spent in staging fees for what it returns in number of offers and overall sales price.

I agree with the other poster that I prefer to see either an empty place or a staged place. I get too distracted by other people's stuff, the fact that their decorating taste isn't the same as mine, or whatever. That is not what you want people thinking about when they enter your house.

One other note: I have been to one open house that was a FSBO and I found it incredibly awkward. You can't really inspect a house by opening cabinets and closets with the sense that the owner is staring down your neck. Take that into consideration and see if there is any way that you can not be present at open houses to give potential buyers more free range to explore.

Sylly

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #36 on: March 10, 2015, 08:16:05 PM »
Great job on the living room. One small thing that's bothering me -- do you have a lighter colored blanket or throw to drape over the couch instead of the similar-red one? Maybe I'm just nit-picking, but I think some light color contrast would look nice.

One other note: I have been to one open house that was a FSBO and I found it incredibly awkward. You can't really inspect a house by opening cabinets and closets with the sense that the owner is staring down your neck. Take that into consideration and see if there is any way that you can not be present at open houses to give potential buyers more free range to explore.

I second this. I don't think you need to leave the house, but maybe just stay in one general area to welcome people and talk to them, but definitely don't follow them.

That said, I'll pass along the advice the realtor gave us when the place we were renting was on the market and open for showings. Hide anything you don't want to loose, and hide them well. Even better if you can get it out of the house.

Chuck

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #37 on: March 10, 2015, 08:19:40 PM »
If it's only for a single open house, you might consider professional staging. It's affordable and they really do a great job.

On the do it yourself front: IKEA and neutral colors are your friend.

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2015, 05:18:08 AM »
The couch blanket will be put away but it's still cold so we are using it.

No one around here does professional staging. House will list for 255k most likely. It's a LCOL area, houses sell for 80-120$/sq ft.  They are typically well cleaned up, but not staged, decluttered but not 3/4ths of possessions in storage.  The housing market is good but not crazy.

I already put our safe and my jewelry box in a random tub in the basement marked "DS winter clothes". I figured no one will be digging around in it :) I do need to find a key for our filing cabinet and lock it.

MayDay

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #39 on: April 06, 2015, 08:39:15 AM »
We are about to list.  Hoping to get the listing live Wednesday evening, and do 2 open houses this weekend.

Now I am running comps and finalizing list price.  Our neighborhood is a large development with similar homes.  There are plenty of comps, but the prices range from 75$/sq. ft to 117$/sq ft, with an average list price of $97/sqft and sale of $94/sqft.  There is little rhyme or reason to the swings in prices that I can tell from looking at the listings (I haven't been in any of them). 

A realtor came through and looked and thought we should list at 250K which would be $89/sqft.  That was before we finished all the cleaning/painting/staging.  Comps seem to support a list price of 265,000 easily ($94/sq ft). 

If we end up paying a 3% commission to the buyer's agent, we definitely need to be at the top of that range.  OTOH I know FSBO buyers may expect a better price since we aren't paying a commission.

The other factors are:
1.  There are a TON of houses for sale in our neighborhood right now, so we have competition (although they seem to be selling at a steady pace.  I don't know what average DOM is though- wild guess is most sell in 30-90 days, some are still sitting after a year).
2. We don't *have* to move, but we'd prefer to, obviously.

Villanelle

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #40 on: April 11, 2015, 01:03:05 PM »
You don't have to offer 3%.  This can vary a lot by location, but our relator when we last sold told us 2.5% was perfectly fine.  We didn't push it, but in retrospect, I kind of which we had tried to go a bit lower--2.25 or 2.

Go to every open house in the neighborhood.  Look at the listings online and check out the photos.  How updated are your baths and kitchen compared to theirs?  How does your flooring compare? 

This is the part where you need to be really, really honest with yourself.  That can be difficult.  It might be good to ask a friend to look at any listing you can find.  (Your realtor can likely give you MLS access if you can't find it online.)  Have them look at your place and those others and simply tell you if they think yours would be worth more than theirs per square foot, or less, based on condition and finishes. 


It the realtors said $250k, she prbably had good reason.  Ask her how she arrived at that number and why she thinks it is worth less than comp A, B and C, which you've chosen because you think they are similar in condition and finishes.  See what she says.

If you haven't already listed, I'd hold off another week or two until you settle the price issue.  Yes, you can always change the price, but getting it right when your place is fresh on the market is always best. 

pbkmaine

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #41 on: April 11, 2015, 02:17:03 PM »
Have a stager come in and do your house. Negotiate with the realtor to get them to pay at least part of the cost. It made a difference of night and day in my house, which sold very quickly for asking price.

Melody

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #42 on: April 12, 2015, 07:52:53 AM »
Have a look at other listings on the real estate website. I can always tell which have been staged and which haven't.
Given staging in generally minimalist look with some trendy linens, rugs, plants and prints to stop it looking to sparse.
This $14 Kmart print is in every freaking staged house in my hometown...
http://www.kmart.com.au/product/homemaker-zebra-printed-canvas/133317
So stuff to stage with doesn't have to be expensive.
Kmart is gold for trendy linens and nice fluffy towels.
Plants can be borrowed from friends.
Look at lots of examples and you'll get the idea.
And put high wattage "warm white" toned light globes in everywhere... nothing is worse than a dimly lit house or "cool white" tones in lighting.

MsPeacock

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Re: I need help staging my house to sell.
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2015, 10:23:34 AM »
I never had professional staging for the houses I've sold. However, I clean and declutter and organize like a fiend and make sure the listing photos are awesome (e.g. moved furniture for the pictures - basically staging specifically for the photos).

Did a lot of research online - one tip - turn on every single light in the house when you are showing it, and open all the blinds. It does help a lot to have the house well lit and looking bright and cheerful. I put cheap new white towels in every bathroom too (they were about $4 each at Kohls). If you have any pets make sure that there is absolutely no pet odor and use some sort of air freshener/scented something or other too (but nothing overwhelming). Make sure your closets are neat, organized, take out 1/2 the stuff so they look more spacious.

Staging seems to be the norm now in my area - but it wasn't 7 years ago when I lasted moved. Every house in my neighborhood (500k ish houses - about 1200 sq ft - this is a relatively inexpensive neighborhood for this HCOL area) that is currently listed has been staged or is empty. I think if the houses in your area aren't professionally staged there is no reason to do it. I would also go to open houses in your area and make note of what works and what doesn't and arrange your own house accordingly.

When I was last house hunting the clean organized houses were notable. Many were dirty, or smelled strongly of animal urine (which makes me stop at the front door and leave - no way will I purchase a house w/ urine smell). Many were cluttered - e.g. every inch of the mantle filled with stuff, things on every table surface. Yes, the seller will take all that stuff away, but it does distract/detract from the overall impression of the house.