As the weather warms, it’s the time of year for many people to break out their spring cleaning supplies—and for many others to start cleaning even more earnestly in preparation for a home sale. That’s because of the 40 million people who move each year in the United States, almost 80% move between April and September—with the “peak season” in June, July, and August, when the weather is better and kids are out of school. When taking into account the planning and work that go into a move, spring marks the season to prepare.
Heidi Ross Design’s owner and lead stager, Ms. Heidi Ross, a certified Professional Real Estate Stager, says that “most people think of spring cleaning this time of year, and I’d like to point out and give tips about how to declutter”. Decluttering and paring down can be one of the most important steps when you’re wondering “how can I get started staging my house for sale?” Ms. Ross also says that decluttering can be easily overlooked or undervalued, both of which could make a home sale take longer.
Ms. Heidi Ross points out several common things that can slow a sale. One of these is when a seller keeps unwanted items in their attic, closet, or garage. These corners might seem inconspicuous, but potential buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in the space, something that’s easier with clean and open spaces. This is even more important when staging less-than-spacious areas, such as staging a small kitchen—you can show your space to its best advantage by showing ample storage areas and making it easy for the buyer to see their belongings in available spaces.
But it’s not just items tucked away in drawers. Ms. Ross adds that “the most dangerous place is when [sellers] keep unwanted items in the living room, bedroom, and other places inside the home in plain sight”. That includes “items that are worn out and have seen better days or are no longer on trend or in style”. In home staging with fireplace features, for example, you want your potential buyers to see the beauty that a hearth has to offer—not the tired-looking sofa next to it.
This can be frustrating for sellers, especially if that sofa was expensive years ago—another common move that many homeowners make. But Ms. Ross says that “just because it was expensive in the past does it mean it is adding value to the home today”. Adding that, “I often tell clients if it’s not valuable to you right now, it’s probably not ADDING value to the home and is often de-valuing the home”. This means that items “like furniture, accessories, or decorative items that are intended to be donated, sold, or trashed when the move happens should be eliminated BEFORE the house goes on the market, not after it is sold”.
So when you’re working on that spring cleaning, declutter and clear away the items that you know won’t come with you when you move—and then start to pare down and store some of the pieces that will come with you. Even making lists of items that will stay and that will eventually be stored can help you to envision your space and get a jump start on moving.
Clearing away those items can also help you to see your home through a buyer’s eyes—including which areas need even more attention as you begin a floor-to-ceiling cleaning to get your home sparkling fresh and clean in preparation for staging. Ms. Ross says a thorough cleaning is just as important as any home stage design that you do. Modern kitchen staging—whether with light-colored cabinets or a corner highlighted as a home bar or casual eating spot—isn’t much use if potential buyers come away with the feeling that a space is dirty, worn, tired, or cramped—feelings that can arise if they notice dust, stains, or clutter.
Another step to take in the spring? Find a professional real estate agent and home stager to work with so that they can help you make a plan for the home sale road ahead. While a real estate agent will guide you through the sale of your home, a professional stager will guide you through the process of home staging—from initial decluttering to needed repairs, photo staging, open house staging, and more. A stager can also educate you on what you need to know about staging to help position your home to achieve its best sale opportunities.
At Heidi Ross Design, we help clients in the greater Memphis Metro Area as well as Germantown, Collierville and Collierville stage their luxury homes to achieve their best sale. To help you as you embark on your season of preparation, we offer a free quote—you can find out more about how we’ll work with you, all while being commitment free to help you make the most informed decision possible. Visit our website FAQ page or call Heidi Ross Design (901) 361-7419 today. Additional value added information can be found in our free online article library.
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