Staging refers to decorating and arranging your home in order to showcase its best features and assets – for a quicker sale at a better price. And, really, staging isn’t optional anymore in the current real estate market. You just can’t leave anything to chance when it comes to a financial transaction as large as the sale of a house. Besides, when you compare the cost of staging with the money it can make you at sale time, the ROI is obviously significant. So to help you get it right, let’s take a look at 7 areas sellers forget to stage when selling their Los Angeles houses.
1. Decluttering and Depersonalizing
This isn’t strictly an area sellers forget to stage (unless we keep in mind closets) but is often a neglected step. Start first with this sound advice from real estate experts: “There are two major problems with clutter. One is that it distracts buyers from your home’s features. The other is that it makes it seem like the home doesn’t have enough storage space. . . . Keep in mind that buyers will be interested in your closet space, so tossing everything into the closet to hide it away may not be the best strategy.”
But decluttering has a more important purpose the just getting all that stuff out of the way. It also serves to depersonalize your house – serving to make it a blank canvas that allows buyers to envision it as their own home with their own possessions in it.
2. Odor Removal
Again, this is not really an area, but it’s often something sellers forget because they’ve grown accustomed to those odors after years of living in the house. But be assured that buyers will notice (and possibly be turned off by) them. It might be a good idea to bring in friends or neighbors to help you identify odors that need to be eliminated.
And here are a couple of cool tips from some staging pros. “It’s also a good idea to grind half a lemon in the garbage disposal to remove sink odors. While you could use a spray to deodorize your home, it might give it a cheap, institutional bathroom smell, which is hardly the image you’re going for. If you’re a smoker and you normally smoke indoors, start limiting your smoking to outside the home and take extra steps to deodorize indoors. Finally, don’t forget to take out the trash.”
3. Defining the Rooms
Another of the areas sellers forget to stage when selling their Los Angeles houses is, well, all the important rooms when it comes to “defining” them. It is critical to ensure that each room has a single, defined, and easily identifiable purpose to allow potential buyers to visualize how your home’s square footage can be maximized.
“If,”as the pros suggest, “you have a finished attic, make it an office. A finished basement can become an entertainment room, and a junk room can be transformed into a guest bedroom. Even if the buyer won’t want to use the room for the same purpose, the important thing is for them to see that every inch of the home is usable space. This includes alcoves, window seats, corners, breakfast nooks and so on.”
An often forgotten aspect is the wallpaper. More often than not, buyers won’t like your wallpaper. So the safest course is to take it down and paint the walls instead. And don’t attempt to paint over the wallpaper – it never looks good and sends a signal to the buyer that you don’t care about the home’s appearance.
And when you do paint walls, don’t use bright, garish colors. Use neutral tones and hues to achieve that blank canvas effect we mentioned above. You don’t want the walls to look bland, but you do want to strive for an inviting, homey feel.
The floor is definitely one of the areas sellers forget to stage when selling their Los Angeles houses. They may remember to clean or replace the stained and stinky carpet. But that’s not so much the case with linoleum and wood flooring. Rest assured, though, that buyers will carefully inspect floors.
The important rooms like the kitchen, dining room, bathrooms, and living room should be your focus with respect to floors. Replace torn linoleum, refinish hardwood floors, and replace (or at least regrout) tiles in the bathrooms.
Lighting is another area within every area that sellers often forget to include in their staging efforts. First, this means using your home’s natural light to the best advantage, and that means making sure that windows are clean and not obscured by heavy drapes or blinds. Next, you should clean all your up-to-date light fixtures, making sure they are free of dust, grime, and dead bugs. And do be sure to replace any broken or outdated fixtures.
7. The Exterior
The exterior is also one of the areas sellers forget to stage when selling their Los Angeles houses for the simple reason that they get so caught up in staging the interior. But the exterior and the curb appeal are absolutely critical – because they create that all-important first impression, which you never get another chance to make.
Consult Your Agent
Really, though, these are just some of the areas sellers forget to stage when selling their Los Angeles houses. And that’s why if you don’t have some experience in this area, you probably shouldn’t try to do it all on your own. You can hire professional stagers, or you can consult your experienced local real estate agent. Your agent will be glad to guide you through the staging process.