• Melinda King Christman

House hunting can resemble speed dating

House hunting is a bit like "speed dating." You may have heard of this dating craze, whereby singles meet 20 or more potential mates in one evening by having five-minute dates with each of them. The idea behind the phenomenon is that two people either have chemistry or they don't.

Many of us look for a mate with a logical list of our personal criteria. But when the chemistry and emotional connection are right, who remembers logic? We follow our hearts. If you've ever been house hunting, you can see the similarities. Your agent will take you to six or more houses in a single afternoon. Within minutes, you'll reject most of them, choosing possibly one or two properties to return to for a second look.

According to home staging expert Debra Gould, home staging or real estate staging is all about creating the best first impression, thus paving the way for potential buyers to fall in love. “Creating just the right atmosphere is accomplished in the overall look of your home, but it's also very much in the details,” Gould explains. “Potential buyers start to form an opinion of your house before they even walk in your front door. It's important to maximize curb appeal, but then you must also carry that same attention to detail right through the rest of the house. Your goal is to romance potential buyers. You want them to lose their hearts and say, ‘This is home. We have to have this house!’”

Expensive furnishings don't necessarily help sell your home. But an organized and calm interior can put buyers at ease and help them imagine their own furnishings in the space. The furnishings should also suit the target market of the home. If you're selling a high-end home, it shouldn't look like students are tenants in all your rooms. Rent more appropriate furniture if necessary to project the right image.

Homeowners often have the right “stuff,” but there's just too much of it, and many items can be better used in different rooms. A home stager’s role is to bring an objective eye to the project and look at every room in a new way. Homeowners are often surprised by how much better their homes work for them after staging. Some even decide not to move once their houses have been staged!

Despite what some people claim, you need to be aware that there are no official credentials to become a home stager. This is a completely unregulated field. When you hire a home stager, you trust this person with the "merchandising" of your single biggest financial asset, and how well they decorate your home to sell can mean tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket.

Ask your real estate agent or your other contacts who have worked with professional home stagers to recommend someone. And be sure to ask lots of questions about any portfolio photos the stager shows you. Unfortunately, it has become all too common for training programs to provide before and after photos to their students. This enables stagers to pass off a ready-made portfolio as their own work. Be sure you are hiring someone with the experience needed to do the best job staging your home quickly and effectively.

Contact Anna and Melinda at Olive & Opal Interiors today for information about staging your property. We will take the stress out of selling your home by ensuring that it will sell fast and for top dollar.

Internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould is president of Six Elements and creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program with over 4,000 students worldwide. Gould is the author of four home staging guides and offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help homeowners and real estate agents locate home stagers who will decorate homes to sell quickly and for top dollar. To learn more, visit Written by internationally recognized home staging expert Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®, ©Copyright Six Elements Inc. Used with permission.

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