Selling a high-end or luxury home is about so much more than a transaction, it’s a transference of lifestyle values, the marketing of an image of prosperity and taste as much as a roof and walls, and the presentation of your home should be treated accordingly. Staging your home attracts buyers, creates bidding wars, differentiates your home from others for sale, and ultimately will put dollars in your pocket. A recent study by the Real Estate Staging Association tracked 174 homes for sale in 2011. Those that were staged sold in an average of 42 days, while those who were left unfurnished lingered on the market for 154 days! We recommend enlisting the services of a staging specialist or designer, which we can help you find. You may have to spend a little money to make money but if done correctly, the results always work in your favor.
1. Clutter free.
The cardinal rule of staging your home to sell is to clear the space of as many of your personal effects and items as possible, leaving the area open and flowing when viewed. Buyers who walk through will love this because they can instantly envision themselves living there and their own personal affects in the house. Remove absolutely everything that isn’t essential to decorating the property or a highly personal nature (they don’t need to see framed photos of your family but they do need to see some artwork on the walls.)
2. Paint in neutral colors.
One of the biggest mistakes sellers make is keeping bright or noticeable paint colors on the walls. The aim is to keep everything as neutral as possible so no matter what the buyer’s tastes, they’ll feel at home. Dark, brooding, colors or accent walls are a no-no, too. Stick to an off white or light tan color and white moldings and you can’t go wrong. Once you declutter and paint with neutral colors you’ll be amazed how much bigger and airy your home feels.
3. Don’t forget to stage outside.
Remember that people will drive onto your property, up the driveway, and walk to your front door first, so that’s when the first impression should start. De-clutter the outside of your home, hire a professional landscaper to make everything look tip top, and consider a tasteful signature piece like outdoor sitting area, fountain, or other decoration.
4. Original artwork.
If you really want to convey the image that your high-end listing is unique and valuable, consider hanging original art as you stage. Everyone’s seen prints by famous artists so decorating with those comes off as a little cheap and unsophisticated. Instead, track down some original artwork that will add a dynamic visual detail and lead the buyer to take notice. Your professional stager will probably have some great original artwork or you can contact nearby galleries and ask for a loan to help promote their work (the buyer might even want to buy it if they like it!)
5. Designs that tell stories.
When you walk into your favorite gourmet restaurant, you go to enjoy an experience, not just good food. Same thing when you go to the nicest golf course or to a luxury hotel. It’s the same thing with your listing; you want the buyer to have an experience as they walk through and the way you do that is by telling stories. Incorporate local and historical items that have some history, antiques like old books, and other rare or interesting finds that are easy on the eyes but will spark conversation and contribute to the buyer’s perceived experience that your home is something special.
6. Mix it up.
We’ve talked about your listing being neutral and free of clutter, but that doesn’t mean we want it institutional or lacking personality. Now that we have the “canvas” ready, we’re going to bring in stimulating and diverse elements that will really pop and catch the buyer’s eye. A well-orchestrated symphony of fabrics, curtains, finishes, area rugs, textures, pillows, candles, and flowers will turn your home into something special. This is a good time to reassess your fixtures and lighting, too because it’s usually easy and not pricey to modernize, simplify, those elements.
7. Get it out of there.
To be clear, when we told you to declutter we didn’t mean to move everything from your house to your garage. Buyers look for cues of quality as they’re walking through a listing – the little details that convey who you are or what the quality of the property. One of the best ways to show how you live is to have the garage 100% clean and spotless. I’m serious – boxes, bikes, skis, bins – it all needs to go and you should clean it exceedingly well. People expect a dark, dusty, packed garage, so when they walk in and see it’s been as well treated as the rest of the property, that will make a statement. This goes for all of your closets, too. The best thing you can do is rent a storage unit and keep everything in there in boxes but DON’T fill up closets to the brim or pack your garage with the clutter.
8. Don’t match!
Good stagers and interior designers understand the elegance of utilizing cohesion without uniformity. Rarely in a luxury home or high-end listing will you see furniture set that all matches. Instead, you want elements - from the couch to the tables to the lamps – that complement each other but each have their own contribution to the je ne sais quoi, as the French say.
9. Culture sells.
One of the best ways to convey a feeling of class and quality in your home is to exhibit a few cultural or artistic items. No one cares about your huge big screen TV, but having a baby grand piano, stand up bass, rare books, or telescope in your home shows an affinity for culture that is consistent with buyer’s perception of luxury.
10. Paint and plant.
If in doubt, or pressed for time or on a limited staging budget, the best thing you can do outside of decluttering is to focus on painting your interior walls a neutral color, your front door, (and shutters if you have them,) and plant colorful flowers, small trees, and soothing potted plants.
I'f you'd like a complimentary analysis of your home's market value or some tips on staging before you list, feel free to contact the Alfano Group Real Estate.