If you can smell it, you can’t sell it, writes Barb Schwarz in her book, “Home Staging: The winning way to sell your house for more money.”
Other home-selling tips: Homes need to be Q-tip clean, not just clean. Wash all windows and make sure they open freely. Clean out the fireplace. Keep curtains and blinds open to let in light when showing a home. And keep soft music playing.
But home staging takes more insight than just playing music and baking cookies. Schwarz provided these “simple steps” for staging a room:
- Stand in the doorway: This is where buyers stand before deciding to go into a room. If they don’t go in, they won’t buy your house.
- Pick a staging point: Stage the round around a focal point. If it’s a bedroom, the staging point usually is the bed. In a music room, it could be the piano. In a living room, it could be the fireplace.
- Make a plan: Design the room around the focal point, but change it if the feeling of the room isn’t right.
- Clear the clutter: Remove pictures, accessories, mirrors to reveal the room’s bones.
- Divide things into piles: Some things go back into the room, others are packed – or tossed.
- Get rid of some of the furniture: Keep the basics, get rid of the extras. Remove furnishings that crowd a room.
- Arrange the furniture: Find an arrangement that works. Use less furniture and create more space for a room that looks open, balanced and bigger.
- Rebuild with accessories: Find new uses for things, such as making a curtain rod out of a golf club or an oar. Be creative. But don’t over-accessorize. Less is more.
- Fine-tune: Stand in the doorway again to see if anything needs to be removed or added. Scan for overlooked details, like tags on pillows or crooked blinds.