Staging Your Home to Sell – Part 2 – Living Room or the First Room You See When You Walk In

In our first blog about ‘Staging Your Home to Sell’ we talked about the importance of seeing your space through fresh eyes, and also understanding that this process is in fact a stage production. You can use a variety of tools and tips to tell a story and to create a vision that captures your potential buyers’ hearts and minds. We also discussed that some of the things you can do to stage your home are cheap and/or free, other things cost some money and a few things might be quite expensive. I also warned you that almost all of these tips involve elbow grease and hard work, but that all that hard work can pay big dividends when the offers come in. Our first blog covered your front yard, front door, front patio/porch/deck and the parking area. This blog will cover the first big room in the interior of your home that you see after you’ve walked in the door.

Go outside the house, take a deep breath and enter through the front door as though you’ve never been in your home before. Really take a moment to slowly look around. If the front yard and front door are a handshake then stepping through the front door is the first eye to eye greeting your house will make. Here’s what we want it to say “Hello friend, welcome”. We also want it say “Can you imagine living here, relaxing, entertaining and being safe?” So….how do we get your house to say all that?

The first rule is DECLUTTER! Yes you’ve been collecting penguin figurines for ten years, I DON’T CARE! Put them in a box in storage. All personal type items get packed away, this includes the 30 family photos hanging on the walls and standing on the mantel. If you are very religious and or very political I recommend taking down the giant poster of your favorite politician or cause and also taking down the big picture of any religious leaders. I would also recommend removing taxidermy animal heads and weaponry you might have on display. Remember, this is theater and you want your house to tell a story that welcomes everyone. You aren’t trying to make friends you are trying to sell your home.

How does it smell when you walk in the door? You’ll want to stay away from chemical products that attempt to cover up smells. It might be worth your while to invest in an air filter especially if you are a smoker or have pets. Stick to natural scents like essential oils in a diffuser, they make electric and candle diffusers. Even with the natural scents don’t make it to strong.

No piles of shoes by the door, no 12 coats hanging on the hooks. Keep whatever is in season neatly in the coat closet and PACK THE REST AWAY. No stacks and piles of kids’ toys, dog beds, or handicraft projects. If it can’t be stored neatly then pack it away.

CLEAN, clean, clean. Scrub and clean the trim, baseboards, walls, light fixtures, light switches, everything. No cobwebs in the corner and no dog fur rolling across the floor. Yes it’s a pain but this is how it has to be.

The way you have your furniture arranged may suit your needs but does it show off your room to its best advantage? If your furniture is oversized take a few pieces out and put them in storage. If your furniture really doesn’t fit and you’re willing to spend a little money think about renting some furniture that fits your space better. Try not to have furniture blocking the windows or creating an obstacle course for walking through the house.

This next tip might be tough to hear but painting the walls can create a huge character shift for your room. It’s relatively inexpensive but it does take some work. If you are going to paint, take your time to do the job right. Keep the edges looking good and clean up any drips you may have left behind. There are some very popular colors recommended for selling your home. Google to see what colors they are suggesting.

Here’s a big one. Your living room floor, how does it really look? If you have carpet is it clean or is it stained and worn? If you don’t want to take on the work and expense of replacing your carpet with hardwood or laminate flooring, I would suggest at least getting it steam cleaned and offer a carpet allowance in the selling terms. Carpet is not very popular right now so spending money on new carpet is rarely worth the cost unless you know someone and can get a good deal. You could spend money to get all new carpet and the buyers could absolutely hate the color/texture/style and want to rip it out anyway. If you are lucky enough to have hardwood flooring hiding underneath your carpet I suggest loosening up a corner somewhere it isn’t too noticeable and making sure that information is available on your home description. If you want to spend the money and time take out the carpet and get that hardwood looking good. It’s up to you.

Once you’ve decluttered, organized, rearranged the furniture, painted, cleaned, and done what you’re going to do with the floor, walk out the door turn around and walk back in with those fresh eyes and see what you think. Again, I recommend taking some before and after photos I really think you will be pleasantly surprised. Also it doesn’t hurt to get feedback from other people.

Good luck!!!

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