e-mail to send in their best tips for sprucing up listings on the
cheap. Here are some of the quick, creative ideas that poured into our
that silk trees work best. Set up a spotlight behind it so it lights up
the leaves and throws an interesting shadow on another wall. It really
makes a difference in a person's perception of the space, especially if
it's a large room without too much natural lighting.
conversation as well as entertainment. Potential buyers should be able
to easily envision sitting in a space where they can easily talk
without having to move a chair or turn completely around.
furniture is moved, I tell my clients to put medium-sized ice cubes in
the imprints. As the ice melts, it causes the compacted carpet to
expand and erase those imprints.
near a fireplace to draw the eye to it or a tall palm or two in place
that directs the buyer toward another part of the home or suggests a
separation of areas. This also ensures that someone often enters the
home to care for it.
home using cuttings, flowers, dried flowers, whatever will work. Simple
things, such as twigs to spell out a word or a small cutting tied with
raffia around a pillow on a bed, draw the eye into the room but don't
overpower it. I have even used a branch cutting to make a 'tree' in an
empty corner. I try to use one piece of nature in each room to create
an ongoing theme throughout the home. It works with any type of decor,
whether it's modern or traditional. One important note: Always check
moving boxes into the shape of a bed, and then I dress it up with nice
bedding. It takes about half an hour and it's really inexpensive.
that has a folding frame off the floor. Once the bedding is on and
staged, it's hard to tell the air mattress from a real bed. After the
home sells, all the client has to do is deflate, fold and pack.
comforter with an over-sized sheet, and then place a nice fabric in the
middle or end of the bed). Or use the fabric to cover TV dinner stands,
to appear as nightstands, entryway pieces, or any other decorated
sellers go out and buy a new luxury comforter set with bed skirt, throw
pillows, matching valances, etc. We have a Burlington Coat Factory here
that sells dramatic sets with rich, embellished material for around
$100. The right set will totally transform a boring master bedroom into
a luxury hotel suite.
fabric or draperies on the wall behind the bed. (I often remove window
treatments from the other windows to allow more light in and then use
these for the fabric backdrop.) It serves as a headboard, visually
raising the ceilings and, particularly in a master suite, adds a sense
of elegance and luxury. It's inexpensive but packs a dramatic punch.
and place them on towel racks in all of the bathrooms. This does
wonders to dress up the bathrooms of your listings. I also put some
dried flowers and candles in complementary colors to add a little more
all the drains, sinks, and tubs; close all the lids on all the toilets;
close all the closet doors; and let all the sun in. You'll get amazing
immediate results and the cost is zero dollars.
was a sunken cultured marble bathtub and matching his and hers marble
vanity tops in swirly 1970's brown. The shower stall tile was gold and
white speckled. The cost to update this bathroom would be a lot. So we
got the tub and shower stall painted with epoxy paint in white and the
marble tops a white with little tan specks. It was a huge improvement
for about $800.
COLOR AND LIGHTING
should be 'wowed' by the rooms on either side of the entry. Paint a
nice neutral khaki color allowing for the painted or stained wood work
to stand out. Make the color bold enough to make a difference, not
just an off white. Tans and khaki’s 'warm' the space.
sterile in photos. We ask sellers to neutralize their wall colors and
carpet, but then we discover all the photos of the interior look
similar and boring. Our best staging tip is to add bright, bold colors
to the kitchen and bathrooms with accessories, towels, and plants. Red
is a call-to-action color. A vase with red flowers can add interest to
the photo when placed on a kitchen island or bar. We like burgundy or
black towels in a neutral bathroom and green silk plants in the living
areas. A colorful picture over the fireplace mantle with a couple of
vases on each side can make a great vignette in the family room.
Buyers like 'light and bright,' and the brighter light bulbs make all
the difference in the world. Inexpensive and easy!
smell. I always put something in the oven like apple pie or fresh
make it more 'cozy'. Go to a thrift or resale shop and get great deals
on glass items. Use a tray (wood, silver, glass, etc.) with two coffee
cups and a small package of Starbucks coffee displayed between the
cups, and pretty paper or cloth napkins. Also, find a large glass—or
pottery bowl—and fill it with individual candies, pre-packaged
crackers, pretzels, etc. It looks nice and each buyer who comes through
can grab a snack from the bowl. It'll help them remember your listing.
generator, double-paned windows, bamboo flooring), continue the theme
with strategically placed soy candles, homemade guest soaps, and green
cleaning products under the sink area. People will notice!
people will unclutter and move boxes out of the closet but forget about
the hanging clothes. I tell my clients to remove the clothes they only
wear once in a while. If the closet still looks stuffed, remove more.
The ideal closet will have significant space (two hangers worth)
between the next hanger.
or in the garage. It neutralizes the home and allows buyers to picture
their family living there. It creates a sense of cleanliness and order
by having clean countertops, sparsely decorated walls and minimal
furniture. I give sellers before and after photos of other staged homes
and remind them that this is how model homes sell.
house on the market, I walk through the home with them and make a
detailed list of all furniture, clothing, and miscellaneous items that
should be packed away. Staging a home requires that each space be
defined, but that personal items and clutter be non-existent.
Potential buyers need to see a neutral pallet: Rooms that they can
envision themselves living. I then pay for the delivery and removal of
a Smartbox portable storage unit as part of my marketing strategy.
listing. Pack them up or put them away. Buyers tend to stop and see who
lives there, which takes them away from seeing the home's attributes!
that it does not block any of the home's features and allows for easy
traffic flow. Sometimes that means removing some furniture—the more
furniture in a room, the smaller the room looks.
bright and cheerful planters filled with plants and flowers. It says
'welcome to your new home!'
can't get people in if they don't like the drive-by): Trim shrubs, fix
peeling paint, and add greens or planters near the entrance.
doors. Paint the trim on floors and ceilings. Also, paint outside trims
and nicks on the house, especially where clients come into the house.
summer. For my fall listings, I purchase a bag of winter rye grass seed
and apply it generously to dried-out lawns of my listings. I advice
sellers to water the grass frequently for a few weeks until it begins
to sprout. Soon the lawn is emerald green, and it stays that way
through the end of April, at which time the regular grass should be
home and surrounding area. Make the DVD run on a loop on the TV and use
it to show potential buyers the area, neighborhood amenities, proximity
to parks museums, etc. It is easy and cost effective.
the home. Look for pictures that reflect nature and themes for the
local area. We don't want buyers to wish they were in Aruba while
looking at a home in snowy Michigan!
and shapes and place them on the shelves in the walk-in closets in the
master bedroom, linen closet as well as other closets. It creates a fun
visual and people think it is unique and clever. Plus, it is basically
free. You just tell the stores that you are staging your seller’s home
and would love to advertise their company with their bags. They love
the idea of getting free publicity. I put crumpled up tissue in the
bag to give them body. I use bags from Neiman Marcus, Coldwater Creek,
Chico’s, Crate & Barrel, Pier 1, St. John, Coach, Victoria Secret,
and Nordstrom. Also, since the bags can lie flat, the storage factor is
the easel, place a mirror or framed art that complements the colors of
the walls or floors. Or, prepare a large poster with photos and
additional information about the house. This is inexpensive, yet
provides a focal point of interest in the room.
indicate upkeep and freshness. Choose one place to house pet beds and
litter boxes; the laundry or utility rooms or garage space may be
marketed home. I have sellers write a one-page letter to the
prospective buyers detailing less evident benefits, such as the annual
Easter egg hunt at the end of the cul-de-sac, the amazing sunrise from
the breakfast nook window, and the fact that the school bus stops at
the corner. I copy these on pretty paper and put them at the front of
the property profile book on the kitchen counter.
the front door (that I make). The wreath stays with the house for the
new owners. Second, I hang a black nightgown on the master bathroom
door. The buyer (husband) always remembers that house!