Home Staging Tips From the Pros

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We were lucky enough to be asked to participate in the Re/Max of New Jersey Blog featuring some great home staging advice!


We have featured some excellent guest bloggers in our Home Staging Series over the past few months, and each has offered their own unique home staging advice. All of our guest bloggers have returned for one last post to provide you with their top home staging tips. Check out their answers to some of the most important home staging questions.

Q: What are some simple ways a seller can spruce up their home before staging and putting it on the market?

“Clean your house inside and out until it is spotless. Consider a professional cleaning service that offers a one-time deep cleaning, including carpets,” Cindy Bryant, Redesign Etc Home Staging

“Keep a couple of laundry baskets empty and handy. Use these to tidy the house for those showings when you have short notice. Put the loaded baskets in your car and away you go!” Barbara Pilcher, DIY Home Staging Tips

Q: What are the best recommendations in terms of paint color when staging a home?

“Paint using a neutral color, not white. It depends on the overall color of your floors and counters, but stick to neutrals in the beige and gray families,” Cindy Bryant, Redesign Etc. Home Staging

“This is not the time to get creative with your paint colors. Strong colors should be toned down. I stick with warm neutrals. Unless a home is modern, I steer clear of white walls. Painting walls a color will bring out the beauty of any architectural features such as moldings. This is a selling feature and should be highlighted,” Angela Gagauf, NJ Home Decorating and Staging

Q: Should homeowners focus on outdoor space when staging a home?

“Absolutely! Staging an area outdoors as a sitting or entertaining area is the next best thing to adding square footage to a house. Some possibilities: Make a patio from pavers or flagstone or pay to have a cement slab poured. Turn a side yard into a shade garden with plants and a bench. Make sure any porch looks like a destination spot. Set a picnic table under a tree. Add a fire pit surrounded by outdoor chairs. Place a bistro set on a small balcony. You get the idea,” Barbara Pilcher, DIY Home Staging Tips

“Absolutely! The outdoor space, called “curb appeal” is the first impression of the house. It sets the stage for what a prospective buyer will see inside the home. If the property is immaculate on the outside it sends the message that the house has been well-cared for and will be easy to maintain. Some potential buyers will decline to view the interior of the house because of it’s exterior condition. It’s a fact, a home with good curb appeal will generate more interest than a home that does not have curb appeal,” Angela Gagauf, NJ Home Decorating and Staging

Q: How can homeowners enhance square footage when staging a home?

“Create as much visual square footage as possible! Even if a potential buyer is downsizing, they’re still looking for space. No one is ever really in the market for ‘cozy.’ To achieve this, remove as much unnecessary furniture as possible, edit excess and accessories, float major furnishings 8”- 12” off the wall and de-clutter everything from built-in’s to glass cupboards, even if they aren’t being sold with the house. This creates a sense of openness throughout and leaves the buyer with the feeling that the home has plenty of space,” Lori Matzke, Home Staging Expert

“By eliminating oversized furniture, not blocking entrances, de-cluttering and putting away items not in use. I find that most sellers have too much furniture. A professional stager will determine what should stay and how to arrange the furniture to create good traffic flow and appeal,” Angela Gagauf, NJ Home Decorating and Staging

Q: How can homeowners stage a home if they are on a budget?

“Implement as many cosmetic updates as you can within your budget. Of course changing your hardware, light fixtures, flooring and counters will make a huge difference, but if you have to choose, pick the one with the greatest impact and R.O.I.,” Cindy Bryant, Redesign Etc. Home Staging

“Avoid offering a buyer’s allowance like the plague! Most buyers today are looking for ‘move-in ready’, may not want to put in the time and effort, typically over-estimate the cost and are more likely to make an even lower offer if they make an offer at all! It’s also difficult for buyers to imagine the house looking any other way than what they are currently seeing, so a seller will be ahead if they make the changes beforehand. Many home improvement and appliance stores offer zero-down financing, no interest/payments for a certain time period, etc., so the seller can take advantage and make the improvements without paying anything out-of-pocket and can pay it off at closing,” Lori Matzke, Home Staging Expert

Q: What is the most unique or important piece of advice you can offer a homeowner when staging a home?

“Stage rooms from the view point of the entry into the room! The entire purpose of staging is to draw the potential buyer into the space. By staging rooms from this perspective, buyers have a chance to immediately see the allure of the space, and once their interest is piqued, they are more apt to walk in for a closer look rather than just pass through,” Lori Matzke, Home Staging Expert

“Pretend you are a tourist in your town to decide what’s unusual about your locale. Include touches in your staging that emphasize what’s special about your state, city, small town, or neighborhood. It could be a landscape painting, a book about the area, a posted schedule of community concerts, or just the flavor of your décor, because some buyers are relocating and are attracted to what’s unique,” Barbara Pilcher, DIY Home Staging Tips

“Home sellers can’t control 28 % of the home’s interior impressions (number of rooms and floor plan). But they are in control of the remaining 72%. And considering that home equity makes up approximately 60% of a home owner’s wealth, home sellers should do whatever is in their control to preserve that equity by eliminating the need for price reductions. Frankly, their real estate agents can only do so much. An agent can’t get a good price if the seller is not committed to presenting the property in the best condition possible. The pre-market preparations that will help preserve the home’s equity include de-cluttering, cleaning, repairing, neutralizing and updating décor and last, but certainly not least, showcasing the property,” Angela Gagauf, NJ Home Decorating and Staging

“We live in a visual society, regardless of what people tell you. Many, if not all, will form an impression of what they immediately see. Corporations spend millions of dollars on marketing and packaging to make their products stand out from their competitors to successfully strike a chord with your emotions. When it comes to staging a home, it all comes down to appealing to a buyer visually and emotionally connecting. You want to have the home that buyers connect with, grabbing their attention, making an impression and then ultimately buying it. This can be created by using unique decorative items, wall art, throw pillows and colors by appealing to and knowing the market of potential buyers for your home. If you live near the water, add classy beach decor without making it a beach themed house. Don’t be afraid to bring some industrial and urban pieces into a family home to add interest. Use metal barstools or skyline cityscape wall art. You never know where potential buyers are moving from. Be creative. Your house will stand out from the competition and buyers will definitely connect!” Cindy Bryant, Redesign Etc. Home Staging

We hope that our guest bloggers have given you a little more insight into the world of home staging. Which tip was your favorite? Let us know by leaving a comment! And of course, don’t forget to check out all the awesome homes for sale in New Jersey at www.remax-nj.com.

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