Just recently I came across this funny article about home staging….
STEPHEN QUINN (SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE & MAIL)
While that sinks in, I have good news: Home-stagers will save us all.
Staging your home begins at the curb. First impressions count with those drive-by lookie-loos.
Begin by hiring someone to paint your entire house, build you a nice new fence, and redo all of the landscaping. Don’t cut corners! A savvy buyer can tell the difference between a cheap ceramic pot from the Home Depot and a $400 ceramic pot from Hobbs. Go for the Hobbs.
Clean all gutters and windows and consider re-roofing.
Indoors, begin by renting a large storage locker and removing everything inside your home.
This may require moving your family to a furnished basement suite for as long as it takes to close the deal. If you have children, consider putting them in boarding school. Yes, you may miss them, but either you’re serious about selling this dump or you’re not.
Clean the entire home. Not a “your mother’s coming over” sort of clean where you wipe down baseboards and rent a rug shampooer from Safeway. Hire a professional cleaning company that specializes in toxic waste spills, crime scenes and other HAZMAT situations. You want your house Three Mile Island clean! Paint all of your walls and ceilings the colour of mushrooms. Better neutral than you offend a potential buyer with your horrible, horrible taste.
Replace all appliances, lighting fixtures, light switches and bathroom fixtures. Again, don’t skimp! Industrial eight-burner stoves with overhead broilers and full-sized pizza ovens are now standard in many new residential kitchens.
Remember, you are competing against new homes that smell like paint and epoxy and lacquer, which not only have deleterious effects that may cloud a buyer’s judgment and cause them to bid over asking, but also are proven male aphrodisiacs.
Now that you’re working with a clean slate, start putting things back – just not your own things.
This is the home stager’s time to shine! First, the installation of a white sofa that looks like a bench from the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, two chairs, and no fewer than 18 cushions, making it impossible to sit on anything.
Then, a flat-screen TV bolted to the wall in a location where there is no hope of ever running cable to it. Next up, filling out empty built-in bookshelves with indecipherable hunks of polished aluminum that will pass as “sculpture.”
Actual books are acceptable, but no more than five on a shelf and each must be approved by Oprah or Heather.
Keep an endless Bon Iver playlist running on the new Bose sound system you have installed in the main area.
Bedrooms should include only a bed, a side table and lamp.
In the trade, this is laughingly referred to as “Guantanamo Chic.”
It will be up to you to purchase several high-end suits, dresses, shirts or blouses and sweaters, as well as pairs of shoes to fill out the closet space. Never include clothing you would actually wear.
Remember, buyers don’t just buy a house – they buy an aspiration. Lease a luxury car and park it in front of your house. If your neighbours are a problem, pay to send them on holiday.
Follow these simple rules and I promise, even in this market, you will succeed.
I know, you’re thinking: “Can I afford to do all of this?”
I think you know the answer to that. You can’t afford not to.