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    Learn the Secrets Home Stagers Use to Draw Buyers In

    You’ve been house hunting online for weeks now. Now, it's time to stop by in person and check out the properties you’re most interested in. Do you think you can see past the tricks professional home stagers employ to earn their clients big contracts? Maybe so, but if the staging is done well, you’ll leave the open house with a connection to the property, which makes it memorable—and, most importantly, sellable. 

    Or if you’re a home seller, learning home staging secrets can also help you prep your house for listing. Read these tips and tricks to show off your home’s potential to buyers.

    Learn the Secrets of Home StagersUsually, there are three major categories home buyers are looking to fulfill in their next purchase: 

    • Natural light: one of the most requested features.
    • Space: great flow and ample square footage.  
    • Storage: especially in kitchens and bathrooms.  

    Not every house has all of these qualities to show off, but home stagers know how to make the available space, storage, and light even more prominent.

    Space Invaders

    First, any professional stager will adamantly instruct clients to clean out unnecessary items in every room. This includes not only trashable clutter but oversized furniture and redundant items.

    No, they won’t recommend emptying the room to resemble a bowling alley, but they will strategically place carefully chosen furniture to maximize and accentuate the floor space. A home seller might need to rent temporary storage to free up valuable square footage. 

    Installing laminate flooring in your home can help with home sellingPhoto from Shutterstock

    Speaking of floors, if the presale budget includes new wood or luxury laminate flooring, the stager, and many interior designers, will pay close attention to the direction of the plank installation. Depending on the dimensions of the room, the plank layout could enhance the room size. The planks’ placement, whether horizontal or vertical, can enlarge or minimize the appearance of the dimensions of a room. 

    Houses with choppy layouts or small rooms benefit from a monochromatic paint scheme to keep the flow of the space united and appear larger. Stagers often advise clients to use a cohesive color to avoid distracting the eye with distinct boundaries. If each room is painted differently, it resembles a child’s board game, with separate and distinct colored squares.

    Natural Light Shines

    It's essential to show off the natural light throughout the property. Very few buyers will ask for dark rooms, so home stagers recommend replacing heavy window curtains with sheers or other light fabrics to boost the sunlight. Sometimes, they suggest removing them all together.

    Another common trick to fool the eye is to raise the height of the treatment rods over the window. Mounted treatments several feet above and beyond the window frames give the illusion of higher ceilings and bigger windows because the focus is on the curtains, not the windows themselves. 

    Home stagers often raise curtain height to allow more natural light inPhoto from Canva

    More Window Tricks

    • Mounted high draperies emphasize in-demand architectural features like crown moulding. They also detract interest from less-than-lovely flooring.
    • Take a seat and look out the windows. Check to see if the sight lines lead directly into a neighbor’s yard or, worse, into their bathroom. The owners might have deliberately used  window coverings to hide low levels of privacy.

    Unfortunately, natural light is a homeowner’s double-edged sword. Once the light streams in,  you’ll have to rise to the challenge of removing every bit of dirt and grime throughout the house. During the day, the light will shift and showcase fingerprints and cobwebs in previously unnoticed places. Keep in mind plenty of natural light also highlights lousy paint jobs. Brush marks and mistakes are even more apparent in the sun’s rays. 

    Storage Wars

    A home without adequate storage is sometimes labeled cozy or quaint, which translates to “creative storage solutions needed.” Have you ever noticed prettily skirted bathrooms or kitchen sinks? This means there isn’t enough cabinet storage space, and the owner has attempted to hide the everyday essentials behind fabric panels.

    Another example of potential kitchen storage problems is if you notice a showcase of open shelving or a hanging system for pots and pans. These solutions could mean there isn’t enough pantry or cabinet space. 

    Ample closet storage is highlighted by home stagersPhoto from iStock.com/Mariakray

    Hidden Storage Solutions

    • In children’s rooms, it's common to see elaborate and expensive structures to hide toys, likely because the closet spaces are too small to house toys and clothing. Bursting closets and maxed-out under-bed storage space are also indicators.
    • Look closely at the furniture. If the pieces pull double duty as storage containers, such as ottomans and bedframes, then overall storage capacity is probably lacking.
    • A portable kitchen island is a trick used to showcase alternatives to counter and storage surfaces.
    • Newly installed pocket doors are sometimes remedies for doors that take up too much real estate when opened.

    In any room, take note of the exact placement of rugs or other decorative items. They’re not only there to complete the style. They direct your vision to either concentrate on something beneficial, like a wood-burning fireplace, or to show off the shiny new kitchen appliances. Of course, appliances have a great ROI but could distract you from noticing the old and dated kitchen countertops.

    Whether you’re a buyer or seller, hiring a seasoned real estate professional is an excellent way to unlock home staging secrets. They’ll point out the clever tactics stagers use. Even if you can’t see past the custom bench seat reading nook that is probably freezing in the winter because the windows are old, they’ll discuss the potential for wintertime drafts. 

    Home staging is certainly an advantage to a home seller. As a home buyer, it's always a good idea to know about the sleight-of-hand strategies that home staging professionals use to make the most of the property’s features for their clients.

    Want more help for your househunting? Grab our free resource below!

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    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

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