Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Living in Your Staged Home and Loving It. Or Not.

Keeping your home on the market show-ready can be tricky.
You want to sell your home quickly at a price that makes you feel great.

So you’ve staged it to impress buyers.  Now you get to live in your beautifully staged home.

How’s that working for you?

Having a hard time keeping clutter under control?

Tired of Swiffering every day?

Wish you could leave dishes soaking in the sink every morning? 

Miss having your collections and family photos on display?

Going crazy keeping the fluffy towels on display in the bathroom?

I’ve lived in staged homes, and I’ve talked to plenty of people who have done the same. I know it can be difficult and stressful. Here are some of the solutions to problems that go along with waiting for that serious buyer.

Remember it’s temporary.

Look at this period of your life as the time you are running your own business.

Prepping a home for the real estate market and maintaining it so buyers swoon is your mission now. Done right, it will be a financial success, so consider it a job. It may feel overwhelming at times (what job doesn’t?) but the unavoidable truth is the better your home looks, the faster it will sell and the more money will go in your pocket.   

Embrace the Simplicity.

House hunters don't expect sterile perfection, but neatness counts. Photo: BHG.
It’s common for homeowners who have staged their homes to say, “Why didn’t we do this sooner? I love how my home looks!”

With all the stress of selling a home and moving, you deserve a serene, uncluttered living environment.   
To get to that point, you’ll need to look at your home with fresh eyes. Re-examine all the items on your kitchen counters and bath vanities and bookshelves and desks and tabletops. Ask yourself how often you use that blender or bread maker. Find places to file your coupons and bills. Stash all your cosmetics in one tote that fits under the sink. Whittle down your wardrobe. Get rid of things you don’t need or like any more. In some cases, you might decide seldom used stuff can be completely eliminated or else packed into storage. 

This kind of pared down living can be habit-forming. If you're like most people, you’ll feel more in control of your life, less overwhelmed by excess and unfinished business.

Choreograph routines.

There’s a reason factories put products together assembly line style. The same steps are repeated at regular intervals by the same people. It’s a method that saves time because there’s no wasted motion or steep learning curve.

What efficient routines can you establish? Making beds, throwing away papers and junk mail, and getting dishes out of sight every day could be three typical routines. Clothes go immediately to the hamper, not the floor. Dishes go to the dishwasher, not the sink. The toilet lid and seat goes down after every use. Front steps and walkways get swept daily. Toys are picked up every evening.

If you can assign each person in your household a specific room or set of tasks, you've made a move towards more efficient household management.Think like a factory manager and streamline as many chores as practical to save time and trouble.    

Call for backup.

A room without lots of small things is easier to clean. Photo:Eric Roseff Design.
Maybe you can’t afford to hire a housecleaning service or lawn maintenance service, but if you have family, everyone should have a daily task to keep the house looking good. After you've deep cleaned and de-cluttered your home, maintenance jobs are doable by the unskilled, and I am not mentioning any age groups or genders here, to be diplomatic.

Have a pre-showing checklist and assign jobs from that. Tell yourself and your children that learning and implementing these simple housekeeping strategies will help develop habits that improve ordinary life long after the house is sold.

Confine Activity.

If you have rooms that get minimal use – a game room, a guest room or bath, a formal dining room, or a bonus room -- consider staging it and then closing the door. In effect, you are placing it off-limits.

With minimal traffic and usage in one area, cleaning there is a breeze and tidying up should be a thing of the past.

This room-quarantine method doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re moving in order to give your family more square footage, I’m guessing that closing off some spaces won’t work in your present house. However there may be smaller versions of the same principal that will work now. Some home sellers switch to a shoeless home when they are selling. Others move their pets to a friend’s house. Are there small changes you can institute that will make living the staged life feel easier?  

While these suggestions may not reflect the way you usually enjoy your home, you’ve made the right decision to stage your property. Soon your efforts will be rewarded with a generous purchase offer.

Reminder: Download my staging eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and for Top Dollar. It's an essential guidebook that will let you save money by staging your own home like a pro!


Top Photo: Andreas Trauttmansdorff Photography

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