Home Staging 101 – Have a Plan!
Do you know someone who is always very busy but never seems to get anything done? Many times they have good intentions, but lack of planning keeps them from being productive. It can be exhausting just watching them go, go, go.
Home Staging 101 is for anyone who is in the beginning stages of preparing their home for sale. You don’t want to be that person I just described, especially when the project is as financially and emotionally important as the sale of your home.
My home staging business, Simply Designed, is quite successful. There is the creative side of the business, of course, that includes my particular style approach to staging a home for sale. But the other, just as critical aspect, is the planning that goes into every project I undertake.
As a do-it-yourself home stager, you want to have a solid plan of action for the process of preparing to list and sell your home. And it doesn’t start with selecting the real estate agent and deciding how much you want to list it for. That will come, but you’re not even close to that point yet.
Home Staging 101 – the plan
What is the timeline for putting your home on the market?
In a perfect world you would plan far enough in advance to make all of the necessary preparations, without skimping or rushing, so that when the time comes to list your home, everything is in good order, your home is staged and ready to go.
That timing can be different for each of us, so there is no absolute right or wrong answer.
But, you have a general idea of the overall condition of the inside and outside of your property. And, the larger the land and or home, the more time it could take to make the needed preparations.
I’ll give you some general guidelines that are based on my experience and Home Staging Made Easy philosophy:
We’re going to assume that you are able to list and sell your home with no legal issues preventing you from doing so…more about that in a minute.
- If your home is in overall good condition, inside and out, and 2,000 sq ft or less in size, plan on 30 to 60 days at a minimum to prepare your home for sale.
- If you home is in overall good condition, inside and out, and larger than 2,000 sq ft, add another 30 days. You most likely have additional rooms to be prepared and staged.
Homes that are in need of repair to the inside and/or outside will need additional time, so add another 30 days to the guidelines above.
So, you can see that the best case scenario for preparing, staging and listing your home will take about 60 days, if you follow the steps in my Home Staging Made Easy action plan.
Once you get to this point, THEN it’s time to call the Realtor. Don’t even let them in the door until your home is ready to go.
Where you are going to go when your home sells?
Deciding on the next place to live is a huge decision. On the one hand, if the sale of your home is necessary in order for you to move to the next location, you don’t want to put too much time and effort into finding the perfect home that you’re not ready to purchase.
On the other hand, you don’t want to wait until the offer on your home is signed by all parties to give the next residence a thought.
First there is the ‘big picture’ decision. Here are some examples:
- downsizing to a smaller residence
- moving from a single family home to a condo, town home, or similar
- moving from a condo, town home, or similar to a single family home
- moving into an assisted or independent living type of community
- blending/combining family members
- relocating to a different area of the country
- relocating to a different country
Then there are the other types of housing details, if appropriate, that you’ll consider:
- the budget – most of us have one
- number of bedrooms/baths
- style of home – 1 story, 2 story, town home, etc
- type of community, if any (55+, gated, golf, etc)
These are considerations that you can ponder and research while you’re preparing your home for sale.
Oh, and one more teeny little detail. Are you making these decisions with a spouse, partner, family member or other significant person in your life? Do you agree on the location and type of the next home? Yes…things could be a bit up in the air for awhile until everyone comes to an agreement as to the plan.
Are there any legal issues that would hamper the listing and sale of this home?
Let me say up front that I am not a lawyer, nor do I give legal advice. So I am not going to tell you what to do here.
But, it is a very important question to consider. Here are some potential scenarios that could impact the ability to sell your home at will:
- the death of one of the owners
- an owner is incapacitated and unable to make a legal decision
- estate or probate uncertainties
- easement issues
- unpaid property taxes/HOA fees
- unsatisfied liens on the property
Most of the time everything is clean and good to go. But, it may be worth the time it takes to do a little bit of research and find out at the beginning of your home sale preparations if there is a stumbling block.
Do you have an investment adviser/tax planner/banker that you should speak with?
Selling your home is a huge decision that could have a significant financial impact.
If you have a financial adviser or tax planner, the time to talk with them is before the sale is happening. If there are tax implications, you want to know what they are so you can make an informed decision to go forward.
Some of the potential issues mentioned in the previous section would certainly prompt you to get a professional opinion.
What are the obvious repairs needed before you can list your home?
Home Staging 101 is all about presenting the most welcoming home to a buyer, to prompt them to start envisioning themselves living there. If they walk in the door and see readily apparent repairs that need to be made (or worse, they noted those issues before they even made it to the front door), that’s what they’ll be thinking about your home instead of living in it. You don’t want that.
So, before you even start planning for the home staging and listing the property, take care of the obvious.
Things that are obviously broken, damaged or missing on the inside or outside of your home…you know what I mean. If I have to give you a list of these we’re in trouble 🙂
Get the repairs done so you can move on to the next step. Enough said.
How do you plan to dispose of unwanted home furnishings and other items?
You know it will happen. That stuff in the closet/attic/basement/garage/you-name-it that’s been sitting there for years…do you really want to take it to the next home? I didn’t think so.
And, my philosophy with Home Staging 101 and beyond will certainly inspire you to do some editing, de-cluttering and rearranging of your home furnishings and accessories. More extra stuff to find a home for, I know.
So what will you do with it? You might:
- check with family members or friends to see if they want or need anything
- have a garage sale
- donate to a charitable organization
- sell on craigs list or similar
- consign to a local shop
Why am I bringing this up now, at the very beginning of the planning process? Because it all takes time, my friend. And even though you may not do it all right now, today, you need to think about the plan of attack.
Usually, the longer you’ve lived in a home, the more of a project the cleaning out process will be. And there will be a process to be sure.
As you work your way through my philosophy and guidelines of Home Staging Made Easy, you’ll realize that ‘less is more’ is absolutely true when staging your home to sell.
So, begin to think about how you’ll handle the furniture and accessories that will find their way to the ‘letting go’ list. Have a plan in mind now.
Home Staging 101 is all about the planning process. You’re equipped to move forward and become another successful do it yourself home stager and home seller!