When guests are coming to your home, you probably go to great pains to prepare for the visit even if they are just popping in for drinks, a bit more if they’re invited to dinner, let alone if they are staying for a whole weekend. Preparations are made to tidy the house, to clean out the bathroom, to remove clutter, and perhaps to add a few touches to make the house look even better that it usually does. In short, you set the stage for a warm welcome.
Fast forward to preparing your home for a sale, where things are just that little bit different. You are not welcoming guests, but rather expecting to open your home to total strangers. Yours will be just one other property on their list of properties to view for the day. They will step in, look around critically, spend a few minutes whispering between themselves and asking questions to you or the estate agent, and then walk back out again. A few minutes and it’s done. If they like it, they will stay longer and show some form of interest. If they don’t, goodbye and carry on.
What does this mean? Basically that in order to make a sale, you need to impress the people who walk in. The quicker you do so, the quicker you sell. Therefore, you need to set the stage for a sale. That is basically what staging is all about.
Staging experts do exist and you might be inclined to ask your Malta estate agent to recommend somebody who is proficient in staging properties, especially if you have very little time to dedicate to this process. However if you can dedicate time to stage your property yourself, there are simple and straightforward steps which you can adopt and carry out regularly to keep the house ship-shape as long as it takes to secure a sale.
- Look at each room and picture a photo of it in a magazine. Would it look right? If the answer is no, start correcting the correctable. People love stepping into a clean and uncluttered home but before you start cleaning you have to clear up. Clearing up is not just about putting things in their place although that is technically the first step in the process.
- Put everything in its assigned place, then proceed by checking damages. Soiled things must be cleaned, replaced or removed. Broken things must be removed whilst they are being repaired, replaced if they are indispensable. Things which look worse for wear, such as frayed carpets, should be removed immediately.
- Try to maximise floor space in each and every room. Remember that clutter also refers to things which are not positioned in the most suitable place in a room. So for instance if you have excessive furnishings around the room, no matter how stylish they are, if they are taking up space uselessly, perhaps you should move them elsewhere or give them away. Give each room space to be appreciated.
- Polish key items in a room. Mirrors, glossy furniture, glass, crystal…. Anything that is supposed to have a high shine, should be just so.
- Air each room for some time every day by opening up those windows and letting fresh air come in. This will give the house a chance become refreshed from stale smells and fumes that build up when a room is not aired on a regular basis.
- Add fresh plants and fresh flowers to the rooms which are most prominent – hallways, living rooms.
- Fix lighting where it does not function. It can be embarrassing to be asked to light up a dim room and find the lights are just not working.
- Freshen up the front door with a new front door mat, polish the brass knocker, clean the door from soiled finger-marks. Add a potted plant.
- Make sure the bathroom is tidy. Prepare some perfumed candles and light them up before the guests arrive.
- Get all the family to collaborate on the staging process. Even small children will join in to help if you turn it into a game – pretend it’s a competition, that the visitors are judges deciding who has the best house of all and that you want to win the competition!
Remember, when you are actually selling your home you have to take an objective look. Look around and try and put yourself in your buyer’s shoes. We totally recommend that you see further advise from a Malta real estate agent.