Sunday, August 17, 2008

Adventures in Home Sales - Part 1: Staging

We are packrats. We love to get stuff. People love to give us stuff: so much so, that prior to my 40th birthday, I asked scrubbed my wish list and replaced it with "A House." I figured if I said, "Matches and gasoline" and something happeneded, I would be in serious trouble.
So, step 1 of the prep work is the stager. Staging: two things are staged. Crime scenes and house sales. So, you need to stage so that people see your place. Because so many places are staged you fall behind by honestly showing your home as it normally looks. It's like being the one Playboy bunny who doesn't have breast enhancements. You don't want to do that what bunny does: make up for it by being cheap.
Our realtor (great guy), sent in his stager. She gave us a long and painful assessment of our situation.
If you don't have money for a stager, here is a cheap and less annoying way to achieve the same:
  1. Book a night at a nice hotel. If you are in the thick of home selling, you will need the getaway.
  2. Bring a digital camera.
  3. Take LOTS of photos when you first come in-- even before you bring in your bags. Cupboards, bedroom, etc.
  4. Take the pictures home and go over them with a fine-tooth comb. You want to make your home look like the hotel.
    • Devoid of character.
    • Neutral colors.
    • Calm and uncluttered.
    • Ironically, you make your place looking liveable by making it look like no one lives in it. It's the burger concept: if someone else takes a bite out of your burger (proving it's fit to eat), it becomes much less appetizing.
  5. Hide everything you can until your home looks like those hotel photos. Our solution: use a U-Pak. It's a combo-move: we will load items into a shipping container. The container gets stored for a few months at their warehouse. Then it gets delivered to your new home. It's like a moving truck, with a terrific pause button feature.

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