Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Get an A+ if you D-Clutter!

No matter what you are doing or where you are going on the road of life, you have to start somewhere, right?  The same simple statement can be applied to any home project, especially moving.  One of the major hurdles I have to overcome with clients when preparing their homes for the market is to remind them who the buyer is...NOT THEM!  If I had a dollar for every homeowner who was initially offended when I suggested removing family photos, religious memorabilia or moving furniture, well, I'd be an incredibly wealthy man!  Emotional attachments to homes are almost as big as the structures themselves, but picture yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer and then, well, HIDE YOUR SHOES!  The cheat sheet for staging 101 is to remove any religious and/or political items from your home first...Ms. Manners suggests never to discuss religion or politics at a party, and Mr. Design says the same thing about your interior decor.  Edit.  Edit.  Then edit again.  Take the charming upstate New York bungalow above, if you will.  Upon walking into the living room I saw potential everywhere...moldings, archways, french windows and doors, beautiful wood floors and comfortable spaces.  The only problem, I also saw 25 years of collectibles getting in the way.  While the collection of fans above the archway tell an incredible story about where this family has been (some were found in China, the Bahamas, South America and France) they don't allow the house to tell its story.  When I worked for a Television production company in Hollywood, a Producer once said you only have thirty seconds to grab the audiences attention as their flipping through the channels, and the same can be said for potential home buyers.  The edits above took me an hour, do you think they were worth it?
QUICK TIP: To get a better idea of what potential buyers might be looking for in your home, pop onto any real estate site (I love www.realtor.com) and study the descriptions written by realtors about a particular home.  What are they focusing on?  Do you ever read, "fabulous painting in the living room and lovely dishes in the kitchen?" NO!  Realtors focus on key elements like moldings, arches, wood floors, etc. and you should too, if you want to sell!  If a realtor says the three keys in real estate are location, location, location, your focus on staging should be edit, edit, edit!
**A year later I had to revisit this staging project from last year.  After I spent a week in this house it went on the market and sold in less than a month.  I'm not saying it was only my tweaks, but they sure helped and it's easier than you think to clean up your act!**