As a Realtor with a background in Professional Home Staging, my main job is to get your home looking fabulous before it hits the market, giving it its best chance to make the most money for you right out the gate. This is a GOOD thing! But over the many years of staging people’s homes, I have repeatedly encountered fear and trepidation from the clients upon my initial visit to the property. Everything always works out fabulously in the end, but no one seems to know that up front. So I thought if I wrote an article about the process, it would alleviate those unwarranted bouts of apprehension before my appointment with you. Here’s my list of “5 Things to Expect From Your Stager When Preparing Your Home For Sale”.
1. Home Stager = Friend (not Foe)
Your stager is there to help you… period! If you remember this one fact above all else you will sail through the process with ease and even come out feeling amazing at the other end. The stager’s sole purpose is to make your home as appealing to as many people as possible. Trust in that skill in lieu of doubting every request, and you will get to the end results faster and happier… and with a new friend.
2. Everyone needs to get rid of half their belongings… EVERYONE!
I recently listed my own home of 13 years and even I had to get rid of half my things before I listed my home. It’s just a fact that we have to clear away enough of you to show a buyer a little of them in the home. Everyone can relate to a family picture here or there, but a victory wall of 38 school photos from kindergarten through high school of all 3 kids leaves no room in a hallway for the buyer to even imagine themselves in the space. It can be homey, it’s just not your home any longer. Making space in your home allows your buyer to move in mentally.
3. Make your home into a house.
The best mindset to have when getting ready to sell, is to see your property as an asset and no longer your personal home! You are going to sell this property for as much money as you can in order to move on to another wonderful place to live. Though the property holds many memories in every corner, keep remembering you will make many new memories as you move forward. Once you make the decision to sell, you must switch your thinking about this being YOUR home, it is a house and your greatest asset to getting you into your next home. It has become your greatest money-maker, and your stager will make this process easier for you.
4. Decluttering is more than sorting stuff.
Any stager worth their salt will know that getting rid of half your personal possessions from your home is 10x harder than just packing things up in boxes. There is an emotional tie to every item you’ve gathered into your home, and when you touch each one as it gets sorted out, memories and feelings are always brought up. Your stager is there to tell you what should be removed and what should stay to make the house look it’s brightest on picture day. You don’t have to throw it in a box the second she points at it. Take your time after that first visit and savor those memories as you relive them and store them away for later. Or maybe even share them with a friend or family member that is helping you pack. The letting go is a cleansing process that always feels better at the end when it sets you free.
5. It’s not personal… really.
Please don’t prep and pack before the stager arrives! When someone is coming to your home to judge its beauty and value, of course it will always be your first response to get it looking its best beforehand. I always tell people not to do anything, just let me see it as it is. There will be plenty for you to do once I leave. If you prepare it to what you think is perfection, it only sets it up to fail. If half the stuff has to go, your feelings are going to get hurt no matter which half I point to. If I look at your place before you’ve put in any effort or work and then tell you what needs to happen, you are still full of energy to take on the task. Trust your stager and let her tell you what you need to remove and repair. At this point, your personal taste should no longer be involved. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business – the business of making you money. Preparing yourself mentally to sell is the biggest gift you can give yourself.
Lastly, I like to remind people that during the selling process, living in your property is kind of like camping out. You’ve reduced and packed away half of your belongings, so you are now operating with the household items that take care of your basic needs. Enjoy the simplicity and remember, you are part-way packed and this will make it much easier when the escrow period starts. Congratulations!
Tina Kitchens came to real estate sales with a background in custom home construction and remodels. She partnered in a design firm business as an Interior Designer & Materials Specifier with her husband, an architect, and still enjoys a heavy hand in the design aspect of homes to this day.