Does anyone really live here?
It's become almost an expectation that when entering a home or condo on the market, you will see the dining room table set with candlesticks, place mats and wine glasses; and the kitchen set with stylish canisters, dried pasta displayed in glass flasks and a colorful fruit basket. I'm being a bit facetious because, in fact, those are not at all the true elements of current professional home staging, but you get my drift.
Staging starts with an emotional direction or theme. Stagers are not Realtors, and Realtors are not stagers. With that said, there should be a meeting between the real estate professionals before the showings begin to establish the theme and how to best stage each room. They should know in advance who the target buyer is and what any particular buyer's needs are, i.e. sleep, work, play, entertainment or maximum usage of the floor space. There are certain ground rules to work with from the beginning regardless of whether it is a home or a condo geared to appeal to someone young, middle aged or older; to someone single, a couple or a family.
The current trend is Zen-like, minimalist and clutter-free. The goal is to set a soothing and functional vibe. Everyone aspires for a good life: stress-free, calm and without drama. A home that is painless, easy to care for and nondemanding after we plunk down our big down payment is what we crave. We just want to move in and let the good times roll.
Even though life always has its ups and downs, we secretly hope that moving into our new home will start a new chapter of good times, prosperity, friendships, new experiences, financial growth and security. For some people, it might be one of these things, and for others, it might be all of them. The staging needs to remind a buyer of how close he or she is to living the dream.
It all starts with a good plan. Start by thinking "clutter-free." Remove unnecessary stuff; either donate it or toss it. The complete transformation of space includes all your senses. The subtle use of color probably evokes the most emotion over your entire canvas. All the organic colors that come from nature make an area look soothing and comforting. Organic materials, soft colors and avoiding clutter will best enable you to show your beautiful place.
Whether you have a large or small space, it's about opening it up and making it fitting and functional. Concentrate on "less is more." No chatchkes. If you use a prop, it should have significance and offer a lifestyle suggestion. Concentrate on clean lines and simple shapes, and always focus on making your rooms feel welcoming and relaxing. For example, the warmth of real wood under your feet gives an incredible organic tactile feeling.
Lighting is also an important consideration. The best lighting is a combination of natural sunlight, overhead can light and accent lamps. Mood lighting can be adjusted at night, and natural light will make a cheerful statement in the daytime. Installed lighting is a needed backup to sunlight.
In conclusion, think Zen: clean lines, minimalism and soft colors all focused on easy living. Decide in advance the function of each room. Will it be an office or a playroom? A gym or a studio? The rest is about making your home meet potential buyers' expectations and making them say, "I could live here ... quite happily!"
For more information, please call Ron Wynn at 310-963-9944, or email him at Ron@RonWynn.com. To find out more about Ron and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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