Expert Advice: Stage Your House and Sell for More

By: Bruno Feb 13, 2007

If your toilet paper is laced with gold, you’re probably not the type who needs to worry about getting your home ready to sell. But if you’re like most Americans, you don’t have golden T-P, and you don’t have a ridiculous amount of money to spend on prepping your home for a sale.Staging by Staged4More can help sell your home faster, and for a better price.

Cindy Lin, owner of Staged4More, believes staging can sell homes faster and at higher prices. And she doesn’t think it should cost you an arm a leg (or precious-metals).

Curbly asked Cindy for advice on getting a house into sellable shape, and she gave us some tips that make a lot of sense even if you’re not selling anything. Here’s what she had to say:

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(Have your own question for Cindy? Check out her Curbly Pro profile and ask her!)

 

[Curbly]
What are the three best things people can do to get a home ready to sell?

[Cindy]
De-Clutter!
When you are selling your house, you are really in the business of selling space. Buyers want space, they want countertops, they want bigger closets, and they want square footage. So you want to make your house to appear as large as possible. Clutter eats up floor space, distracts the buyers and it will eat up your equity.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was your clutter. If it seems overwhelming to de-clutter, take baby steps. One 30-minute clean up session at a time. And by the time you are done de-cluttering, you also have made moving a lot easier.

No more clutter! Clutter = bad!

Cleaning: I’m not talking about "I swept my floor today" clean, I’m talking about the "mother-in-law is coming to visit" clean. Cleaning is really the other great thing that you can do to renew your home without spending any money. Power wash your exterior & windows will help to "freshen up" the exterior. In the interior, vacuum the floor and carpet thoroughly (including corners!), wash the drapes and window treatments if they are dusty, wax the floor if you can to give your floor a facelift, wipe down all the countertops. Cleaning gives buyers the idea that this home is well-maintained, which is really important since most of us prefer to buy a turn-key home.

Paint: Painting is the cheapest investment that will give you the best return when you sell a home. A fresh coat of paint will really make the room feels bigger, lighter and brighter. If you have out of date wallpaper, get rid of it!

Here is an example of de-wallpapering and re-painting:

 No one wants 30-year old wallpaper, especially not the new owners.


[Curbly]
What's the hardest thing about selling a house?

[Cindy]
Pricing. Unfortunately, staging is not a silver bullet. It won’t fix the tragedy of sitting on the market for several months if your listing is priced too high. There are many factors that can make or break a deal, and it often comes down to pricing. When you interview for real estate agents (I high recommend it!), don’t pick the agent that gives you the highest listing price. Look at each agent’s comp and how they come to that number. Also if you can, get out there on weekends and look at open houses yourself. Get a better idea what you are competing against in terms of price point, lot size, and how well your competitions’ listings show, etc.

[Curbly]
Why does Staged4More exist? How did it get started?

[Cindy]
The idea of Staged4more was based on me wanting the sellers to get more out of staging their homes.

Staged4more exists because I believe that staging should be affordable. Oprah recently did a segment on staging and she expressed how cheap it was to do it for $10,000. Um, yeah, cheap for Oprah, whose toilet paper is probably laced with gold. Not cheap for regular American who makes $36,000 a year.

I also believe that staging is an investment and will give you nice returns on your money. It will help to move inventory off the market faster in any market, fast or slow, because staging is a market differentiator. It makes your listings to stand out in the crowd because it shows well.

[Curbly]
What do you like best about your job?

[Cindy]
I LOVE hearing success stories from clients. I LOVE the instant gratifications seeing my work after it’s staged. It makes me feel like I am a creative genius!

How about you? What are YOUR tips for getting a house in tip-top shape for a sale? Let us know in the comments below! 

Some more examples of Cindy's work:

 Now that's better (and more sellable!)

Another great example of what a difference staging can make.

 

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