Home Staging: Giving your house a competitive edge

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So, you’ve decided it’s time to sell your home. You find a real estate agent and put your house on the market. One week goes by…nothing happens. Then, two weeks go by… you host one showing, but no offers. You start to wonder, “What’s wrong with my house? Why won’t anyone come look at it? How come the people that came to look at it didn’t make an offer?” This is quite a common scenario.

The good news is there is something you can do! You can stage your home to sell. Most people have never heard of home staging, so if you have not heard of it either, don’t worry. Home staging is a new marketing technique that started about thirty years ago on the west coast and has been slowly making its way towards New England. In an attempt to make homes stand out in a competitive market, independent consultants have become experts in staging techniques and they can perform unique analyses of residential properties and recommend different strategies to sellers and agents.

Some of the basic principles of home staging include de-cluttering and de-personalizing your home so potential buyers can picture themselves living in it. Usually sellers are immune to the impression their home is giving to potential buyers, in other words, they aren’t able to notice the “vibe” of their own home. Home staging consultants can help sellers change that “vibe” to something more neutral, more buyer-friendly.

How will this generate showings and offers on your listing? It’s true that there are no guarantees, but according to HomeGain.com national survey in January 2011, spending just $550 to stage your home can boost your selling price by $2,194. That’s a 299% return on your investment! Home staging means investing only a little and getting a big return when you sell. Staging can save you time and money in the long run, especially if you are serious about selling your home in a competitive market like our market here in Southern Maine.

Top three tips for staging your home:

-De-clutter! Take time to remove all the “stuff” from countertops and common areas. It is worth the quick pick up before the open house.

-De-personalize! Remove photos and family things from common areas too. These things say, “We live here!” NOT “You should move in!”

-Call a local home stager for help if you’re stuck! They specialize in helping people sell their homes and can bring a fresh pair of eyes to the property.

Dani Bernier is a Home Staging Consultant in Cape Elizabeth. She may be reached at 201-799-7600 or www.danibernier.com