Give Your Home a Hug this Valentine’s Day

houseValentine’s Day is usually spent taking a romantic vacation with your significant other or spending tons of money creating the perfect day.  Like many you can end up spending hundreds of dollars for one day.

If you are like many couples currently experiencing the difficulties of the recession and trying to sell your home you just can not afford to do both this year.  If this is your situation, I have the PERFECT solution: give your home a hug by spending Valentines Day staging your home.  And do it with your lover.

Spend Valentines Day staging your home and reward yourself at the end of the day with a nice bottle of wine and dinner at home. Your house will love it, you’ll like the look once you’re done and with luck you will have increased the value of your home and made it easier to sell

One of the great things about staging your home is that it can be done with little or no money. No matter what your budget is, even if it is zero, you can use staging techniques to increase the appeal of your home.

When it comes to selling your home you want it to really appeal to buyers in a positive way. You want buyers to love your home, to look around and go, “Ooh, look at that,” or “Wow, that’s beautiful.” Your home should have some pizzazz, some sizzle. In other words you want to trick your home out and give it some bling!

Here are my tips for home staging:

  1. Get Rid of the Clutter
    One of the most important things to do when it comes to making the inside of your home look desirable is to get rid of the clutter. After living in our home for a while we tend to accumulate stuff. I have heard professional home stagers recommend that the average home owner clear about 1/3 of their possessions out of the house before putting it on the market. Definitely remove any collections of dolls, spoons, Star Wars figures, or any other dust catchers.
    Some sellers put their stuff into storage, which can be a great idea. You could try Kiwi Self Storage in Constellation Drive, we have used these guys before and I recommend them, or Smartbox. Smartbox is a super service; they deliver a storage box on a trailer, you fill it and lock it and they store it in their warehouse ready for you to pick up when you are ready. It will cost less than you think!
  2. Windows
    Make sure your windows are clean! Sparkling windows show off your view or garden and let the sunlight in.
    It’s a good idea to have window treatments on every window in the house, if they make sense. A combination of blinds with curtains is best. But here’s the catch, you also want to let lots of light into the house. So the blinds should be raised and the curtains fully open. This creates a nice framing effect on each window.
  3. Lighting
    In addition to letting in natural light you want to add plenty of artificial light. The trick that home stagers use is to layer the lighting. They use a blend of light from ceiling fixtures, lamps, wall lights and task lights. You want to make rooms bright, without being too bright and not have any single light source overly stand out.
  4. Doorknobs, Switch Plates and Outlet Covers, Oh Boy!
    If you are going to go to all of the trouble to make the walls and doors look great, you should finish the job by replacing all light switch plates and outlet covers with new ones. I also recommend replacing all of the doorknobs if they look at all worn, because it’s so inexpensive to do it. The reason this is a pet peeve of mine is that freshly painted walls with painted over switches and outlets looks like a cover up job to me. Replacing all of the switch plates and outlet covers in your home should cost you about $100.
  5. Arranging the Furniture
    If you’ve ever seen a professional home stager in action they seem to have this great ability to take the existing furnishings you have and rearrange them, sometimes into different rooms and make your home look completely different–and so much better. Because the furnishings you have and the layout of the rooms in your home will be completely different for each person there aren’t a lot of general tips I can give you for arranging your furniture. Look in home magazines. It doesn’t cost anything to go to the bookstore and look at them. They are full of photos that can give you great ideas. These magazines share tons of useful tips and tricks for making your home look great. If you run out of ideas, try Homebase, they have a service where they will visit your home and give you a plan, for a few hundred dollars. What I don’t recommend doing is going out and buying whole new furniture sets for key rooms in your home just for staging.
    There are a few commonsense tips I can offer that apply, no matter what furnishings you have and how the layout of a room is.
    1. Don’t leave large dead spaces.
    2. Clearing the clutter applies to too much furniture as well.
    3. Don’t have everything pushed up against the walls.
    4. Add some greenery, nice fresh growing plants in the entry or in a strategic spot add drama.
  6. Master Bedroom
    The master bedroom is the ultimate refuge. It is the haven within the home. No matter how large or small your master bedroom is, you want it to appeal to the buyers as a place they WANT to spend their nights. If your master bedroom is cramped, it’s time to move some of the furniture out.
    And please, if your home office and computer are in the bedroom, now is the time to put that office stuff away to help create that restful refuge!
    Also, closets are a big selling point for houses. Clear out your closets out. If your master bedroom closet is jam–packed, buyers will look at it and decide there just isn’t enough room, even if your closets are huge.
  7. Bathrooms
    Your bathrooms should be so clean you can eat off the floor (but no need to test it this way!). There shouldn’t be any mildew, soap scum, toilet rings, body hair or anything else that makes the buyers think they are buying your dirt. Make sure the mirrors sparkle.
  8. Kitchen
    “Kitchens and baths sell homes.” Pretty much any real estate agent in the country will agree with this. Making your kitchen look the absolute best it can is well worth it when you are trying to sell your home. The beautiful thing about staging your kitchen is that you really don’t have to spend any money to do it.
    Clean out any food that is past it’s “use by” date, and sending old plastic and glass jars to the recyclers. Check that your cupboards, refrigerator, and stove are clean, now is the time to spring clean, don’t wait til settlement day!

These tips will help to save you money while trying to sell your home and allow you to still spend time with your loved one on Valentines Day. A well-staged home that is competitively priced consistently outsells non-staged homes, even the do ups. By the way don’t forget the flowers! If you would like more tips for do-it-yourself home staging techniques call Ariel Levin on 021 528 318 or check out  Wendy Patton’s book  Rent-to-Sell by clicking HERE. she has some great ideas that might just help!

Love your house (and your spouse)
Published with thanks to Tony White and