Things I say to my home staging clients

The core of my business is home staging consultations. Most houses have similar issues.

Here is what I find myself saying on a regular basis

  • Let’s hang your artwork lower.  Most people hang too high. The centre of the artwork needs to be the eye level of an average height woman. For more on staging with art click hereScreen shot 2013-11-04 at 2.15.46 PM
  • What have you already tried?  Often my clients have tried placing their furniture in lots of different ways. I work with them to find the best placement. Read living room furniture layouts that help sell your house
  • That wall needs repainting.  Either because its damaged, a dated colour or too personal e.g. pink walls in girl bedrooms
  • Take down those curtains and curtain rod. Either to let in more light or because the curtains are a distracting pattern or dated. Leave bare or replace with a roller blind.
  • Don’t waste your money – it won’t give you return on investment. Some clients see home staging as an excuse to go shopping. I help them see where and where not to spend their money

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  • You need larger bedside lights. Most lamps I see in bedrooms are too small. For Master and guest rooms you need two matching bedside tables and 2 matching bedside lamps with a bit of scale.
  • Who is going to buy your house do you think? One of the first questions I ask. Once you are clear on who is going to buy your house you can stage it to attract them.
  • Its dark in here. Buyers want light and bright. If a room feels dark I offer solutions (take down curtains, repaint, different bedlinen, better lighting etc)
  • It just needs a really good clean. Bathrooms and kitchens particularly but also outside paintwork or grubby fingered walls. Clean it first – you might not need to do anything else.
  • Get yourself some fluffy white towels. They really do make every bathroom look better. Use them just for show to keep them white
  • Let’s move it and see. Sometime you just have to move something then stand back and take a look. You will know if its right or not

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  • What’s that piece of furniture doing there? Furniture gets plonked down in the strangest of places sometimes with no real thought. It needs to be moved or stored when selling
  • We just need to find something for that corner.  Often there is a spare wall or spare corner that needs ‘something’  My clients often come up with the best suggestions. e.g: My mum has a little chair
  • That bookcase needs thinning out. Can I show you how?  A lot of what I do in a consultation is show a client what I mean. So I will style part of a bookcase to show them what to aim for.
  • How motivated are you? I know that if I leave a client motivated they will do whatever it takes to do the work required.
  • I can hire that for you. I mostly work with what my clients have but if they need a few things I can hire it for them. For more on this click here

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  • Invest in a propert vacate clean. It’s money well spent. There’s a big difference between a weekly clean and a ‘I’m moving house’ clean. Skirting boards, walls, tops of fans, down the side of the fridge, cookers, air conditioning units…. the list goes on. Get the professionals in. You will have enough to do.
  • Lets put that on the ‘repair list’  All houses have some repairs outstanding. These need to be fixed come sale time. Buyers want your house not your ‘to do’ list.
  • That needs to go into storage. Most of my clients have too much stuff so boxing items up and putting them into storage is high on my list. If they do the work now it gets them ahead come sale time. Need other solutions for your clutter? Read this
  • Do you have a storage unit? is the next question I ask and no the garage is not a storage unit (but your friend’s garage is) or better still a secure storage unit.

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  • Buy new pillows. I see a lot of what I call pancake pillows. You can’t make a bed look lovely if you’ve got flat pillows. Invest in some new ones
  • Stick to warm neutrals.  This is mainly when talking about wall and floor colour. Pure white is often too stark – a warm white is better.
  • Get yourself some new cushions. Men hate them, women love them. Cushions add colour, interest, texture and cosiness to an interior
  • Push back those blinds. I see a lot of venetian blinds. They are ugly and make rooms look dark. The most cost effective solution is to push them back as far as they go and let the light in. Clean your windows whilst you’re at it.
  • Clear off your kitchen counter. Counter space sells and most clients have too much out on the counter. Aim for  a bowl of fruit, a kettle/coffee canister and a bunch of flowers  or cookbook. You don’t really need much more.
  • Do you want the contact details for.….a handyman, gardener, house washer, painter. I have a list of companies that can help my clients – from flooring, to handymen to bathroom resurfacing.
  • Invest in some wooden hangers. I’m amazed at how many people still use wire hangers. Treat yourself to wooden and your wardrobes will look like a clothes boutique and you will never look back!
  • Take everything off the floor. Particularly in kid rooms and in wardrobes. Instant space and organisation
  • How about the little table from the other room?  Staging a house is like one big jigsaw. Often a piece I have seen in another room provides the perfect solution for the room I’m working on.
  • Can you borrow that from a friend?  If you can borrow something that works, do it. Think laterally. My clients often borrow art or an outside setting. This is about return on investment
  • Its time to invest in new bedlinen. Makes a massive difference every time. Most of my clients have not bought bedlinen for a couple of years and it is fading. Treat yourself to new now not when you move. Here are some ideas of what works and where to buy
  • What you store in your wardrobe needs to relate to the purpose of the room i.e. no golf clubs in the guest room
  • That plant has seen better days – time to get rid of it. Indoor and outdoor plants that are not at their best shouldn’t be in houses when selling. Re-pot or get rid!
  • How are you feeling?  Moving house can be overwhelming especially if other things are going on in your life (divorce, money or health worries or a move interstate) I always ‘check in’ to see how my clients are going. For more read this

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  • I’ll pop some ideas on pinterest to show you what I mean.  When talking about new bedside lamps or bedlinen it is often easiest for my clients if I put some ideas together for them to illustrate what I’m recommending. Here’s an example
  • Pillow talk has a sale on at the moment. I love interiors and love a bargain. If I can help my clients save money that is always a bonus
  • Yes, you can go to IKEA. At some stage during the consultation my client says ‘I think I should go to IKEA’. Yes you can but go with a list and don’t get side tracked. Read this latest post for more information on home staging with IKEA
  • You’ll have more questions – here’s my card, call me.  Most of my clients get on with their list of actions, some have more questions. Some like to send me progress e-mails which I love because it shows their progress and means they are holding themselves accountable.
  • Buy a box with a lid. Useful in so many areas if you are staying in your house when you are on the market.  Buyers will look in cupboards but they won’t look inside a box with a lid. This is where you can hide your everyday and personal stuff
  • Use your boot/trunk. An often overlooked space. Great for those last minute viewings. Just throw everything in and drive away then re-instate when you get back
  • That just needs some new mulch. When sprucing up a yard, new mulch makes all the difference. Plant a bit of colour, make sure nothing’s dying  or weeds are showing and keep watering if you are in a dry area.
  • Hide all your personal stuff that’s in the bathroom. The rule for bathrooms is no personal stuff (toothbrushes, razors, shampoos etc). Hide them all away (in your lidded box)
  • Take down your family photos. Buyers want to imagine themselves living in your house. This is difficult to do when your family is staring down at them

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  • Store away anything that could be offensive or polarising to a buyer – religious icons, sporting jerseys, guns, nudes, political posters.
  • Remove all evidence of your pet. Take them with you during viewings

and finally…

  • Let me know when you list
  • I’ve just seen the pictures on-line. You’ve done an amazing job. You deserve this sale
  • Yes! Well done. Great result. I’m so happy for you

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I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you are planning to sell your property and need someone to show you how to prepare it for sale then give me a call on 0432994056 or contact me through my website

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How to get rid of your clutter before staging your house to sell

The 10 principles of staging your house to sell

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