Setting the Stage

The Standard (St. Catharines)
Saturday, August 9, 2003

“There are five phases of home staging,” Karyn Elliott says. “The  first one is repair,” and it’s important to get the fix-ups done as perfectly as possible. “The next thing is to unclutter and organize,”  says Elliott. Rethink the positioning of traffic paths, highlight  saleable features, open up spaces. Minimize the furniture so rooms  don’t feel cramped. Rent a storage locker, if necessary, to store excess furniture and possessions in general. And cull those closets. “You’re selling space when you sell a house. Everyone’s looking  for storage. That’s usually why they’re moving.” Clean every inch of space and every item in it, she advises. She also strongly advises sellers to “neutralize” their homes. Buyers tend to overestimate the cost of repainting. If a house has a too-vibrant colour scheme, buyers will cross it off their list or discount their offer. “They’re looking for reasons to say no,” so they can quickly narrow down to one or two choices. “Select warm, neutral colours for paint or floor coverings,” Elliott says. Offer prospective buyers the convenience of moving in without spending on the basics or having to do any more work. Further neutralize the home by depersonalization. Hide away personal hygiene items, put away the family photos that label the house as somebody else’s home, pack away awards. Pack up anything that’s potentially offensive – swords, guns, religious icons. “Neutralize as much as possible so you target to the greatest market segment,”  says Elliott. The final step in the Crazy House method is to dramatize the home. Create positive emotions by stimulating the senses and setting a mood. Elliot includes texture, smells, sounds, visuals in this category. Elliott might include delicate wind chimes at the front door, fragrant flowers and a soft chenille throw.


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