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by Georgina Callan
If it’s a true statement that we never see ourselves the way others see us, then we should
consider that the statement may apply to our homes. Most people want to realize the
maximum amount of money from the sale of their home, and, more often than not,
would like to pay the least to achieve this goal, but our homes look one way to us
and another way to a potential buyer, never more so than in a photograph online
which is how potential purchasers first experience a residence.

According to Cliff Ellman of Spiffi Décor, a home staging company based in Dallas,
“staging is an investment that helps achieve the asking price for the house”.  While
it may seem counter-intuitive to invest money in a home you plan to vacate,
according to Cliff, “homes, particularly modern homes, often need an explanation
for a buyer. The house needs to feel accessible and relatable to everyone. Once
someone has decided to sell their house, the emphasis must move from the
personal to the business, the business of getting the most for the house.”
Buyers are not always able to see the potential furniture placement or use of rooms and
furniture, rugs, art, and accessories help translate the home into the kind of space that
someone would like to move into.

An empty house is often not a good solution. Buyers are unable to envision a room
without any furniture in it at all which is why Cliff suggests placing furniture in empty
rooms, which always look larger with furniture defining the purpose of the room.
Here are some helpful ideas for getting your home “sale ready”.

1. The most important thing to remember is curb appeal. The promise of the interior
must be reflected on the exterior, which may involve sprucing up the front entrance
with planters, new house numbers, and a bright freshly painted front door.

2. The more “gender-neutral” the house, the better, explains Cliff. Buyers may
be deterred by whimsical pastels or strong dark colors and unable to relate their
possessions to rooms painted in such a defined way. Painting rooms in neutral
colors will create a wider potential audience of buyers who may feel the house
is ready to occupy. “Keep things light and bright and fresh,” suggests Cliff.

3. Declutter the space which means packing away extra accessories in
boxes, and removing excess furniture items that take up too much floor space.
Kitchen counter tops should be as clear as possible with minimal objects to make
the kitchen look larger. Closets need to be thinned out also, as buyers will be
unable to envisage their clothes in a closet that is stuffed and overflowing
with someone else’s possessions.

4. Remove as many personal objects as possible, particularly on bathroom
countertops and in the kitchen. Limit family photos so that the buyer is not
distracted by images of someone else’s life.

5. Add a bed to an empty bedroom even if that bed is a queen size blown
up mattress fully made up with sheets and bedding that would appeal to a
house guest.

6. Freshen up the house. Patch up any holes, clean carpets and rugs, polish
floors, and counter tops.

7. Make sure each room is well-lit and there are no burnt out light bulbs, or
noisy ceiling fans, or damaged electrical outlets. Electrical extension cords tell
prospective buyers that the house may lack sufficient outlets.  Trailing
computer wires need to be contained in a home office environment.

8. Consider moving artwork around the house to tell a color story, from room
to room, using the art as color rather than the walls.

9. Remove anything in the house that’s fragile and delicate that could be
knocked over, also pick up dog bowls and dog beds as the new owners may
not have pets.

10. Add fun accessory pillows to bedrooms and living rooms, and if necessary,
a few new clean and simple lamps.

People are naturally drawn to light spaces and natural light. A home that is edited and
de-cluttered is a home that will feel more expansive and one in which people may well
imagine themselves occupying soon.

Maybe you fell in love, unexpectedly, on a home tour and decided in a flash to sell your own house and
move into the sparkling modern jewel you saw last Sunday? Or maybe you have outgrown your current
home and need more, or less, space? Downsizing is also a form of outgrowing one’s space.