Staging a vacant home is critical in receiving a top-dollar offer. Some experts say it can increase the value of your home by as much as 20 percent.
Very few people who walk through a vacant house will see its charms. Too often, they'll notice what they don't like instead. With a few simple steps you can stage the home to help them see its strengths. An empty house is neither warm nor inviting. You need both to help a potential buyer connect emotionally with the property you are selling.
One of the first things that must be done is to assess the best architectural features of the home. Do you have a room with more ceiling space than normal? Perhaps a friend has a tall plant you could borrow to place against the wall to help lead people's eyes to the top of the room. Square footage sells, and you'll help a potential buyer see all of the space your place offers. You also could create an arrangement of flowers and set them on a small table, which again helps eyes flow to the ceiling. Fireplaces also sell. Emphasize them if you have them. Some elegant, well-chosen accents on the mantle and a piece of art hanging overhead can help draw attention to any fireplace. Another easy way to help people notice an architectural feature is to paint that wall a different color than the rest of the room, creating an accent wall.
After emphasizing architectural features, add whatever you can borrow or rent in the way of classy furniture. A living room can be made warm with a contemporary sofa and a few chairs staged to create a conversation area around a fireplace or bay window or whatever feature the room offers. Make sure the furniture fits the room and is not oversized so you don't make the square footage look smaller than it is. Cover old couches or chairs with a clean, white bed sheet if necessary. Remember do not place the furniture against a wall. Such staging will make the room look smaller than it is. You don't need dozens of pieces of furniture. Just a few of the right pieces will do the trick. Add a few live plants (fake plants are a turnoff) if you have them. If you have a room that potential buyers might not know what to do with, stage it as an office or second bedroom. It's a great way to reduce confusion on the part of buyers.
A bowl of fresh fruit on a coffee table or on a kitchen counter or table also is a great way to add some warmth. Even better, bake some cookies and fill the home with that attractive aroma. Set a plate of cookies on the kitchen table. Another step in staging is to open any blinds and curtains that you are not taking with you so that light floods into the home, making it look warm and inviting.
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