Stage it, Sell it

Tips from home stager Holly Wayne on how to make your home real estate ready.
  1. Staging should read like a good book. Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. Initially, the cover has to grab your attention (i.e. curb appeal); then the preface must make you want to continue. The first few pages of the book are the deal breaker. You either want to continue or not.
  2. Visual variety is important; everything shouldn’t be the same height.
  3. There are several options for getting rid of broken or dated tile in the kitchen. One of these is to cover it with stainless laminate that can tie in with existing sink, faucet or appliances. Another option is to paint over it with an epoxy paint.
  4. Adding a large framed mirror not only adds more interest and light to a room, but the prospective buyer can see themselves in the space.
  5. Prospective buyers don’t necessarily have the same taste in all your carefully collected knick-knacks. So, box them up and label properly. Your stuff isn’t going to Siberia, it is just in another part of the house.
  6. If the house has no curb appeal, are they going to keep driving? If the budget allows, things can be done outside to enhance and make the house more inviting.
  7. Once inside, the real work begins. If the house has no architectural interest, and your budget allows, you need to add some pizzazz.
  8. If you are not going to leave the furniture, the bones of the house need to be good and we are available to help with that too. People are more aware of floors, walls, surfaces, lighting and storage; flaws show up more when the house is empty. If you decide to stage, sometimes you can get by with minimal staging using plants, lighting, art and rented furniture.
  9. In main areas, to increase the sense of space and visual flow, neutrals are the way to appeal to a broader audience. However, I like to treat the walls differently in at least one room of the house. Too much of the same thing can be boring. Speaking of boring, I really don’t like everything white. Lots of designers do. It’s a great look, especially if you’ve just had your teeth lightened, you make everyone take their shoes off upon entering, you don’t have children or pets and only serve clear drinks.
  10. How fast do you want to sell your house? If it has been on the market for a while you should consider putting in some money for staging. We can even stage in stages; if it doesn’t sell with a low initial investment, we can take it to the next level with a little more money or for free, beyond the initial fee, if you are willing and able to do the work yourself.
  11. Hardwood and tile floors can be great selling points when chosen and installed properly.
  12. Updating a kitchen is essential beyond the obvious requirement of replacing worn appliances and countertops. Finessing details such as installing interesting hardware, adding trim or changing cabinet doors, sanding and staining or painting can transform a kitchen. Changing inserts in doors to grills or glass is more expensive, but a quality touch if you have the budget.
  13. Sometimes, the focal point of a kitchen is the oven hood if you don’t have a great view out of a window.
  14. Storage is a huge issue and is often ignored. Do provide storage or consider building a closet, especially for the master bedroom.
  15. If the outside lends itself to the possibility for seating, provide a small furniture grouping on a hard surface such as brick, decking, flagstone, painted concrete, etc.
  16. I prefer an office to a third bedroom. Many people work from home full time or part time. The desk shouldn’t have your papers showing. It should be a clean slate so the prospective buyer can imagine themselves working there. It could be easily converted into a bedroom if needed.
  17. Window treatments should be neutral. Simple, inexpensive draperies add softness to a room. Other treatments are more expensive, so again, it depends on budget.
  18. It is probably a good idea to buy updated faucets for both kitchen and bathroom sinks and tubs. This is a small fix for a big impact.
  19. Flat-screen Tvs are popular and with good reason. They can even look like art when you are having prospective buyers view the house with an image on pause; it really does pass for art. They also come mirrored when turned off.
  20. If your dining room isn’t large, and you don’t have large dinner parties, you can probably put some of the chairs away in a closet. This will make the room look larger.
  21. After you finish staging, you should feel sorry you’re leaving such a great space. That’s when you know that you were successful.

Written inquiries should be directed to:

Holly Wayne Productions
P.O. Box 81748
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15217
Phone: 412/421-8117