Monday, January 12, 2015

Week 3: Home Staging Challenge

Here we are, week 3 in our challenge! At this point you may find your head spinning with a million things that you know need to be done however, let's take a little breather here and simplify as possible. 

Our houses didn't get this "lived in" in a week, 
so let's take small steps that pack a big punch.

Most of the home staging tips you'll find on the web are about staging do's and don'ts, re-arranging, and making things pretty. At this stage of our process, we are focused on cleaning, eliminating, cleaning, packing up, cleaning and improving the structural features or the "condition"of the house. Did I mention cleaning??

{If you think you finished your packing & cleaning, your closets better look like this}

WEEK 3 BENCHMARK: {Making a MASTER To-Do list}
If you spent the last week editing out old clothing and packing up unnecessary items, you were likely reminded of every "I need to..." that has been uttered from your mouth in the past year(s). Well, many of those things may get done as a bonus to preparing to sell however, what's important to note is not to get distracted by off-list tasks. Making a list with timelines will ease that urge and keep you on track.

Here is this week's task: This week we are going to organize a MASTER list of staging prep. This will take a couple of hours to do. {Try to keep moving without getting stuck when things come up.}

You'll need: 
  • A measuring tape
  • Notebook & Pencil
  • You can make this list into a pretty spreadsheet if you want however, as a tip, you want to be able to take this list with you and make edits/notes etc. so keep it simple and accessible. {Styling an Instagram shot of your perfect spreadsheet is a waste of valuable time- just sayin' :) }
We are going to take a very thorough tour of the house, making notes of each room and what needs to be addressed, focused on the CONDITION of the home. We'll get to the additional packing, re-arranging furniture, and staging at a later time. We want to start our house tour on the exterior of the home. With that said, it's about 10 degrees outside here with snow on the ground, so the exterior may be saved for a warmer day if needed. 

So grab your tape measure and your notebook and let's get started.
Make 3 columns on your paper.
AREA                TASK               FOLLOW UP


  • Inspect the trim and any parts of the home that need repair or paint. Look for rotting trim, mossy spots or cracks in the siding. Do your house numbers need to be updated? Take a good look at the front door and trim. Give special attention to this because while the Realtor is opening the lockbox, this is where buyers will get their first opportunity to make a close inspection of your home. 
  • Check for broken gutters.
  • Look for foliage that is touching the house or trees that need to come down. 
Make a note of things that need action like "get rid of swingset" or "clean out the shed", but don't get caught up in actually cleaning the shed at this moment. Keep moving forward. 

Your list might look like this:

The "Follow Up" column is to make note of who will do the task. If YOU are the one doing the task, I leave that one blank or put in parentheses where I'll get something I need. For example: (HD) means Home Depot.I like making a note of where to get the item because later, when I'm out getting my supplies at Home Depot, I can just look down the list for anything marked (HD)

  • In every room, start at the door and inspect along the trim, the wall and look at the ceiling. Note any holes in the walls or areas that need painting. Check each door for open/close functionality.
  • Check the light switch plates for dirt spots, check the doors for cleanliness and condition. 
  • Carpets need to be cleaned. Is the carpet out of date or a color?  { Badly worn, out of date or bright colored carpets should be replaced before coming on the market. Offering a buyer a credit to pick their own new carpet or a discount off the price is far less effective and will always end up costing you more money and slow the selling process.}
  • Check drapes, mini-blinds or shades. Do they function properly? If not, measure the windows for replacement. { Basic drapes can be inexpensive to purchase. Check here for ideas if you need new ones. Swags and valances should probably be removed}

Via Micheal Hampton. Hang rods high and drapes should "kiss" the floor.  More ideas here
  • Check the fireplace. 
  • Check tile grout, sink and plumbing function.
  • Check for loose cabinet doors. 

Make notes of things you may need, like "New dresser" or "New rug" however, don't worry about re-arranging the furniture at this point. You'll notice more things that need to be packed or removed and you can certainly continue that process on a daily basis. 

For areas or rooms that need a renovation, make a special section for that space and make notes of each thing to be done. For example: "Find a contractor" or specify what needs work and who.
Continue this process throughout the entire house. When finished, you may actually feel relieved that it's not as bad as you thought or you may want to jump off the nearest bridge but either way, 

Our task for this week takes some serious thought and planning. Start making calls to contractors. Get pricing for things you need and make notes of how long it will take to get installation etc. Select paint colors and finishes or get help scheduled to do so. Don't wait to start making selections because some items (like cabinetry, flooring, tile or even a sofa) could take weeks to receive. Get the details on each and every task until you have a solution for each one. We will organize these timing details in a new column next week.
I especially recommend that you hire a professional home stager to help you with this process however, if you insist on going it alone, remember...keep it neutral!
When should you ABSOLUTELY call a professional home stager to help?

  • If you plan to repaint a room a new color.
  • If you are selecting any new finishes for carpet, flooring, tile, counters, cabinets.
  • If you are changing your lighting.
  • If you are purchasing new furniture for staging purposes.

The cleaning and organizing should continue ongoing. Take away a bag a day. Pack and store. 
If you have any questions, feel free to ask here or on Facebook.

Keep that momentum going!

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