When you moved into your house years ago, you transformed it into a home. Your children grew up as you marked their height progression on the door frame, your family gathered in your dining room during the holidays, and your friends spent many nights chatting and laughing in your living room. As any homeowner knows, a house is more than a structure, but a symbol of priceless memories and experiences. All of the memories attached to your home can make for a difficult selling process, especially as you stage the home and prepare for it to be viewed by potential buyers. Although you may not realize it, your personal belongings have stacked up over the years. While these belongings make you feel comfortable and at home, at the same time, this can come off to an onlooker as clutter. Purging your home of the excess will make for an easier, more efficient selling process.
During the staging phase, it is crucial to depersonalize your home, however unnatural that may feel. It is often bittersweet to put away the pictures, furnishings, and décor that made your home feel uniquely yours. But rather than harping on the difficulty of letting go, try to recall how you felt when you were in the buyer’s shoes, struggling to imagine yourself in a stranger’s home. It can be weird to envision yourself in a space covered in someone else’s family photos and knick-knacks. As the seller, you should try to take this burden off of the buyer by making your home feel as neutral as possible. Help them to see the beauty of your home without being distracted by personal touches that may feel off-putting to a guest. So as you paint over your child’s playful wallpaper and feel a wave of nostalgia, try to transform that energy into excitement for the family that will soon get to make your home feel like their own.
However, just because you are neutralizing your home, this doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t look lived in. You want to find that perfect balance between being too cluttered and being too sterile. If you do choose to leave a few personal touches, make these choices deliberate and attractive. Be intentional with what it is that you choose to highlight (or omit) from your home, and be sure to maximize the space to its fullest potential. You can do so by carefully utilizing each of the rooms to showcase both aesthetic and functionality. For instance, transform a junk or a spare room into a room with purpose, like an office or a guest room. You can avoid spending a fortune on this transformation by buying inexpensive furnishings or borrowing from friends. Remember, the whole staging process is about encouraging guests to see possibilities in your home rather than constraints. All you need to provide is a frame, and the buyers’ imaginations will do the rest of the work.
Just as you want to dress clean and professionally for a job interview to make the best possible impression on the recruiter, you should stage your home in a way that makes it look the best it possibly can. In order to do this, you may want to try taking a more objective approach to your home’s appearance. For instance, you may normally think of your antique sofa as something quirky that adds character to your house. However, once you take a step back and view your house as a third-party observer would, you might see that this eclectic piece is not congruent with many peoples’ personal style. Being able to view your home through this critical lens is vital, as it will help you to make the home more palatable to the average buyer.
Since objectivity toward your own life is often hard to master, expect your realtor to provide this much-needed perspective. Some of the suggestions your realtor makes may feel harsh or nitpicky, but remember that he/she is an expert in the industry who knows exactly what buyers tend to look for. If your house is to look the best it can, you should remove most of your personal touches and be prepared to make some minor improvements. Whether this means adding much-needed coat of paint or revamping outdated light fixtures, trust that your realtor wants you to do these things only so that you can sell your house with ease at the highest possible asking price. A few simple touches like tweaking a room’s color palette or rearranging the furniture can help make your home feel more alluring to a buyer who would otherwise be on the fence.
Apart from specific renovations, you should be sure to curate the overall vibe of your home. Encourage visitors to explore the entire house, not just the main living areas. Do this by making the whole space feel airy and open, and let one room flow into the next. Everything should be pleasing to the eye – think neutral colors and open doorways. The whole of the house should feel congruent, like a big picture rather than a fragmented puzzle. Do this and potential buyers will leave with a positive, lasting impression.
Many of the elements of staging your home can feel contradictory – remove the clutter while also maintaining a lived-in feel. Use neutral colors while still maintaining a sense of vibrancy in the home. Opt for simplicity while sprucing up the space with a few thoughtful touches. But as long as you keep the end goal in mind – making your house look as inviting as it can to the most possible viewers – it will all come together beautifully. And remember, this is not a task you have to take on alone. The familiarity and fondness you have for your home plus your realtor’s objectivity and expertise should result in a harmonious blend that takes some of the stress out of the selling and staging process. Lastly, try not to get discouraged! This transitional period may feel overwhelming, but try to focus on how exciting it is to move into a new home and to watch as a new family inhabits what once was yours.