16 Things We Did for a Fast Staged-House Sale - Part 1

Some homes sit on the market for days, some for weeks, and some for several months or even years in a worst case scenario. If you’re like most homeowners, you’re hoping that you’ll land a contract quickly.

We personally learned this lesson years ago in The Woodlands, Texas.  First of all, please know that we understand how difficult it is to stage and sell a house with a family living in it.  

We've sold several houses over the years with that exact scenario - 5 kids, sports equipment, video gaming, lots of toys, lots of dirty clothes - you get the message.  When we turned down the company buyout on the house, we decided to set it up as an upscale corporate rental.  The market showed a need for it and we felt it was a great way to not sell at a lower price.

We hired a decorator friend for a week and followed her directions to a tee, outfitting the house inch by inch to show nicely and to rent quickly.  It worked!  In fact, it worked so well that it sold off the market during our first renter's term.  Agents talk, especially when they are excited about a house.  Note - this house had been on the market, shown a zillion times.  The only difference: Staging!  Lesson learned!

Fast forward 10 years to our most recent move.  When it was evident that a house sale was in the cards, we decided to play hard-ball and hire a stager from the beginning.  Luckily, a friend from church was a home stager and was available for consultation.  I loved Brenda's (Red Door Staging)  approach.  She came to the house and walked through each room with the main purpose of decluttering and repurposing instead of purchasing or renting staging furniture.  

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Master Bedroom Staged &
What it Took

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The whole idea of staging is to create a feeling for the new home buyer.  That feeling of "I love this place!" and "Wow, I can see myself living here!"

There is a way that you can make that happen so that your home moves off the market fast. It might surprise you to know that this strategy really doesn’t involve a total renovation, either.

You can sell your home fast by staging it. Some people aren’t aware of how their home appears to others because they have a sentimental value woven into the mix when they think about the value of their home. Staging helps you see through your prospect’s eyes.

Staging Can Make or Break Your Home Selling Success

There are people who are prepared to sell their home and it shows. These are people who have put the home’s best impression center stage. When prospective buyers walk into the house, they can imagine themselves living there.

Our own personal experience proved that homeowners who don’t stage their home often look at their house through their own eyes rather than the eyes of a buyer. They think that because they love the home, a buyer will, too - even with any quirky issues or crowded rooms.

They believe that others can look past the lived in atmosphere to see the true gem underneath it all. It doesn’t work that way. If a buyer is turned off by what he or she sees when they walk into your house, they don’t look past that to see what the home could be like if they lived in it.

I'll never forget the feedback from one group of agents (after viewing our unstaged family house for sale) - the agents were saying "Why are there 2 TVs upstairs?" "Why wasn't the kitchen sink cleaner? (long story there)" and so forth and so on.

Bottom line, you need to treat your house for sale like a builder's showcase home.  Every item back in place, every time.  You will become neurotic, but it's worth it.

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What they see is a homeowner who didn’t care enough to make the house as presentable as possible. When you stage a home, it makes it look inviting. Potential buyers walk into the house and they’re immediately comfortable.

The home looks like it would fit them rather than you. They look around the room that’s obviously been well prepared to show its best features and they don’t see your sofa in that space.

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Staged Kitchen &
What it Took

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The potential buyers picture theirs and how great it would look in the room when they invite guests over or host a family holiday. They feel like the home is one that’s been loved and taken care of - and this is what you want them to feel.

Buyers won’t balk at paying more to get your house if they feel like it’s been well taken care of, but if it looks too well worn, they might question its upkeep.  When a buyer goes through a house that hasn’t been taken care of and isn’t presented nicely on the inside, they start deducting zeroes from your asking price.

Our most recent staged house had 2 very qualified offers in the first 2 weeks. I have a dear friend who staged her own house, listed her house as owner-agent, and has sat on it for 1 year.  It's a beautiful house, but I have to think that having a third-party stager involved might have helped bring in buyers early on.

Staging your home can help you enjoy faster selling success because a home that’s been staged to look its best can come out on top among all the other homes that are listed in your area.

Not only can staging a home for a buyer make it more appealing, but when an appraiser comes to your home, he can clearly see that the home has been taken care of, too.

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Though he’ll check thoroughly, your home will make a good first impression. And that can lead the appraiser to mark your home’s value higher than he might naturally if the home looked too worn.

Here's the list of 16 updates we did:

  1. Tore out old deck and replaced with updated deck and hand rails
  2. Replaced 12 windows that were fogged up
  3. Replaced wood ballistas on staircase with rod iron
  4. Painted dining room a neutral color
  5. Painted all the trim in the entire house (!) a bright white (we had previously updated wall colors)
  6. Replaced old carpeting throughout house
  7. Refinished and repaired wood floors
  8. Replaced built in oven/microwave (thank you home warranty for covering this!) 
  9. Added mini white subway tile backsplash in the kitchen for an updated look.
  10. Changed kitchen cabinet handles
  11. Updated bathrooms with granite tops and fashion mirrors.
  12. Updated bathroom faucets in sinks and showers
  13. Unified windows with simple curtains (linen-type, tab top)
  14. Updated light fixtures
  15. Updated ceiling fans
  16. Hired a home stager!

Sheesh!  That's a long list, now that I look back at it.  It was painful, but it was worth it.

Check out the rest of our staging story here.

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