STAGING YOUR HOME-STEP ONE10/16/2014
We all know a staged home sells faster, for more money, than one that's not. But you don't need to spend a fortune to stage your home. Often you can use items you have on hand. Acutally, staging relies more on what you remove than what you add. Painting also goes a long way too. It's the most bang for your buck. As a certified home stager and experienced "fix n' flipper", I've refined the process to a few basic "must do" things that any homeowner can do. The first step is the front entrance. It's all about curb appeal.
Start with the front door. You know the old saying "You never get a second chance to make a first impression"
If your front door is covered by a storm door, remove it. This will automatically give your home a higher end look. Want proof? Drive through any high end subdivision and try to find a front door with a storm door that covers it. You don't see any? Of course not. They paid a lot of money for that door, and they don't want to cover it up. And you don't really need it anyway. Since most homes have central air these days, opening the front door to to cool off isn't really necessary. And it's no longer necessary to "protect" your front door with a storm door, since most new exterior doors are energy efficent and weatherproof.
Next, examine the door itself. If it's seen better days, replace it. If it's still in decent shape, paint it. (Historic homes with original front doors shoud be left intact). Be sure to use a color that isn't used anywhere else on the exterior of the home. But make sure it contrasts nicely with the trim. If you're not sure, take a sample of the exterior paint colors to your local home improvement store and let them show you some options. Next, replace the porch light. Most are too small for the door. A slightly oversized light fixture also gives your home a high end look.
Make sure the porch and steps are in excellent shape. If not, make the necessary repairs. Place two large planter pots on either side of the door, or if space doesn't allow, place them on either side of the front porch steps. Hang a wreath on the door. Replace the house number with brushed nickel and the door handle with brushed nickel. Use a curved handle, not a door knob. This will also give your home a higher end look. If you have a covered porch large enough to hold furniture, stage it as you would the interior. Create an "outside living room" with a couple of chairs, a table, and possibly an area rug. If you have an outdoor electric wall plug, add a table lamp to the setting. Wooden rockers are very popular. Add a pot of flowers and colorful throw pillows. It provides a splash of color. If you can hang a porch swing, by all means do it! Porch swings are a huge hit!
And last but not least, cut the lawn and weed the yard! Weeds are the kiss of death for curb appeal. Trim back all shrubs and mulch. mulch, mulch! It gives your home a tidy, well dressed look.