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The concept of staging a home evokes images of famous designers on HGTV busily setting up expensive furniture in impeccable layouts. However, when it comes time to sell your own home, it can feel a bit overwhelming trying to decide what staging activities should take precedence — and which ones you can afford in the first place.
While there are numerous ways to properly stage a home, one of the more affordable yet effective concepts that should be at the front of your mind as you set things up is to engage and entice all of the senses. Don’t just focus on looks. Hearing, smell, taste, and touch should all be included in the mix as well.
The thought of “hearing” a home may sound a bit odd, but there are actually quite a few different ways that hearing can impact a home buyer’s perspective. For instance, the sound of dripping faucets, creaky steps, or loud neighbors can create a negative impression.
Look for ways to minimize bad sounds while using things like running water or quiet background music to help foster a Zen atmosphere. This will help to relax the buyer and demonstrate the tranquil potential of your home.
One of the oldest home-selling tricks in the book is to bake cookies before guests arrive. The use of the olfactory senses shouldn’t stop with a tray of warm baked goods, though. You can also accentuate the smell of your home by opening windows on a pleasant day, purchasing fresh flowers, or lighting a scented candle or two.
It’s also important to pinpoint bad smells that you may have gotten used to over time, but which might turn off a prospective buyer. Take the time to empty garbage cans, clean pet areas, put an open box of baking soda in the fridge, and give those stinky drains a once over in order to breathe a breath of fresh air into your home.
Taste is probably the most challenging item on the list. After all, no one is going to taste your home. Nor are they going to try out cooking a meal in the kitchen before they put in an offer. Nevertheless, you can certainly utilize taste as part of a walkthrough experience that holistically entices all of the senses.
Most of the sense of taste comes into play via hors d’oeuvres. If you’ve baked some fresh cookies for the smell, make sure to set them out for snacking as well. Also, consider getting fresh fruit, coffee, iced tea, and bottled water. Just remember, in the post-COVID-19 era, it’s important to keep your snacks uncontaminated. Consider choosing food that can come prepackaged, use gloves and a mask to prepare them, and perhaps even station a bottle of hand sanitizer nearby as well.
The feel of your home — quite literally — can make a big difference in how it appears. On the one hand, if visitors feel unaddressed dust, grungy surfaces, or rough, splinter-filled floors, it can quickly sour their opinion of your humble abode.
On the other hand, if you take the time to put up textured wallpaper, use furniture with nice upholstery in the important rooms, and scatter throw rugs and blankets generously, you can quickly cultivate an atmosphere of hominess that is attractive to the touch.
It may be obvious, but sight still remains one of the top senses that you’re going to want to consider as you stage your home. Along with obvious things like color schemes and curb appeal, it’s also important to consider the smaller details.
If it’s gloomy, flip on an extra light before you leave. If your home feels stark, get warmer lightbulbs. If a wall is bare, hang pictures or a mirror. Remember that guests will want to look at the entire house, as well. Consider the visual ambiance of out of the way but important spaces, too. Declutter bedrooms, neaten closets, and clean bathrooms as well.
The Sixth Sense
No, this isn’t referring to seeing dead people. We’re talking about that intangible sixth sense of hygge — the untranslatable Danish word for hominess and comfort. Once you’ve considered what you can do for each individual sense, take a step back and look at the bigger hygge picture. How does everything fit together? Does it flow? Is it warm, comfortable, and inviting?
Look for subtle things that you can accentuate, such as putting eco-friendly appliances or recycled materials on display for environmentally aware homebuyers.
Also, consider any larger investments that may pay you back in your home’s value and help increase its sellability, such as a paved driveway or a built-in swimming pool. Whatever the specifics, strive to use this “sixth sense” to bring all of your staging efforts together into one cohesive decorative masterpiece.
Staging for the Senses
As you go about gussying things up and putting your house on full display, remember to include each and every sense. From baking cookies to fixing leaks, cleaning drains to flipping on an extra light switch, there’s a myriad of staging tactics that can ensure your home is as attractive as possible when that big open house finally arrives.