Home Staging Sells Homes

Home Staging Sells Homes
By: Wes Wallace

Whether it's some fresh paint on the walls or renting furniture to fill an empty home, the concept of staging is slowly catching on here in the Heartland.

Of course when it comes time to sell, every homeowner wants to get the most money for their home sweet home.

With a competitive housing market that's not so easy and that's why some homeowners turn to the relatively new concept called staging, to give their house a fresh look.

It's something interior decorators and realtors say can make a difference between selling your home quickly or sitting on the market and costing you money.

"You want to take away anything that would be distracting to the eye of the buyer," explains Sandy Helwege, an accredited certified staging professional.

It's the old adage you need to remember when it comes to staging and selling your home, as Helwege, who's also a real estate broker and sales agent, insists *less is more*.

"You want to access the space you have, de-accessorize and depersonalize are the most important things," says Helwege, "Starting in the kitchen includes keeping a clean, clutter free space. You want everything off the counters, you don't want the coffee pot out, the toaster out, and no soap and scouring pads, all those off the counter tops."

For the bedroom, magazines, books, newspapers, must be out of sight. The trick is you want your home to appear livable, not lived in.

Helwege also says, "Medicines is a killer, and it suggests sick, so you don't want meds lying out either." "Quilts or throws in the family room suggests a draft, so if you have one, it's gotta be pretty and compliment the room."

Another trick to remember, arrange things in groups of three...and use a high, medium, low method.

"We are the dream makers, we're the ones who see things with a critical eye," states Michael Rust, owner of Michael Tanner Furniture," Adding color, changing the obvious things to my eye in the house that the average consumer would take a look at as they walk through the home, and taking away hopefully the negatives that would keep the home from selling."

Rust is an interior designer who says new paint on the walls can make a world of difference, "We don't want it to look like 1991, or 1986. They might have loved that plum painted bedroom, but most people see that as a negative, and it's that overall feel they get about a house that matters. They can't see beyond that room with the odd paint color. I always say let's take it to a plain paper bag, they may not love it or get excited about it, but they don't object to it."

Sandy Helwege agrees, and says neutral colors tend to work best, "Painting is the cheapest thing you can do for the highest rate of return, a 25 gallon can of paint can change the whole look of the room and cost you nothing."

On the outside, make sure you have all the cobwebs gone and some nice flowers and plants and landscaping.

A final piece of advice from Helwege, "For little things you can do before hand, before you can list the house it can save you thousands of dollars when it comes to negotiations with the buyer."

Some other quick tips you may not have thought of…

Only use lemon scented candles, other fragrances imply you're masking smells.

Every room must have a purpose, don't have your computer, treadmill, and sewing machine all in one area.

Keep family pictures off the walls, only put a few on a table or counter.

Have your carpets professionally cleaned and everything else polished and spotless.

Stage your home early on... before you put the house on the market...

Experts say a few hundred dollars or even more on improvements will cost less than your first price reduction.