You know that when you put your house on the market you need to stage it so that it will be it’s most attractive and appealing to buyers. Ideally, this will happen when you’re in your new home and out of the old one. But the ideal seldom materializes in real life. It is possible, though, to stage a home while you’re still living in it, even when you have kids and pets. So for you Baltimorehomeowners, here’s how to stage a house you live in.
Clean It and Keep It That Way
The first and second-most important step to stage a house you live in is cleaning it. The second and most important step is keeping it clean. All the rest of the staging is built on that.
So the real job, especially if you have kids, is the keeping it clean. After the initial deep cleaning, all you have to do is map out, schedule, and assign smaller daily cleaning tasks. Start by determining which areas of your house get the dirtiest the quickest and give those the most attention. You can also use these cleaning hacks to stay ahead in the cleaning game:
- Try to cook mostly with a slow cooker or in the oven. This will eliminate the need to clean a messy, greasy stovetop every day.
- To keep eating areas clean when you have small children, use bibs and placemats.
- Combine cleaning activities by, for example, cleaning the shower while you’re in it and before you get out.
Once you have the cleaning well in hand, you can begin staging and keeping it ready for showings by replacing kids’ brightly colored or cartoon-character bedspreads with neutral-colored blankets that match and complement curtains. You can also store larger kids’ toys and keep out only the smaller favorite ones.
Move Out Both Physically and Mentally
To stage a house you live in, you also have to move out physically as much as possible, as well as “moving out” mentally and emotionally. With respect to moving out physically, you’ll begin by decluttering and emptying cabinets and drawers where feasible. Experts recommend putting at least half of your belongings in storage.
You also need to move out mentally to stage a house you live in. That means changing your mindset – thinking of your house as already sold, as no longer your home. A good way to accomplish this shift in thinking is to make your house look as if someone else (other than you and your family) is living there by putting away everything that marks it as uniquely yours.
Get Out as Much as Possible
If you’ve thoroughly cleaned and done a large portion of the staging, you have to keep your house ready for showings. And that means getting out of the house as much as possible. You could, for example, plan outside activities or visit friends and relatives more often, especially during scheduled showings. You could also eat out a little more often, and, although it will cost more than eating in, it will be more than worth it in terms of time and effort saved on cleaning chores.
Don’t Try Staging Alone
Perhaps the best thing you can do as a Baltimore homeowner to stage a house you live in is simply to get some expert help. Sure, you can do all the prep work and some of the staging yourself. But for the rest, you should use a professional stager or get some expert guidance from your agent. On average, professionally staged home sell for at least 6% above the asking price, and their time on the market is cut by about half. In addition, a well-staged home keeps buyers’ attention on the staged spaces so that they don’t focus on flaws.
Now if the cost is making you hesitate to professionally stage a house you live in, just remember that you will more than likely make that money back at sale time. Another option is to use a reputable real estate agent. Many realtors offer to stage as part of their total package, so it’s not really an extra expense. Either way, staging is essential for getting top dollar for your home.