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Westchester Realtor, Stager Show Sellers How To Market

SOMERS, N.Y. - How do you sell your house for a price that’s right? Teresa Chang, a real estate broker with Houlihan Lawrence Real Estate in Somers, and local home stager Susan Atwell show sellers how to highlight their homes’ best features on a budget.

Here are four of their top tips for staging your home.

CLEAN UP

Atwell said that cleaning is the most important thing a seller can do. That is especially true for homes that are not up to date. “Even if the seller’s bathrooms or kitchen are not current, the buyer knows that they can still move in and update them later. At a minimum, you want the house to be move-in ready, and keeping it clean is a big part of that," Atwell said.

Chang agreed, and reflected on a home she recently staged. The master bathroom was original to the home but had dated wallpaper and matching blue fixtures. There wasn't time to update it, so Chang instead cleaned it thoroughly, removed the wallpaper and painted it neutrally. She then added fresh towels and accessories. Chang said that made all the difference because this house sold on its first listing day and had two more offers after.

HIRE A PROFESSIONAL

The advantage of hiring a home stager is that they are walking into a home for the first time, just like a potential buyer, Atwell explained. They experience the same feelings the buyer would, which is important because it can be difficult for clients to view their own homes objectively. For example, even though she is a professional home stager, Atwell said she would recruit an objective third party to help stage her own home.

Chang also added, “When the suggestions come from a stager like Susan, it’s from an objective source. We always joke that I’m the bad cop and she’s the good cop."

Atwell also stressed that each space has at least one great feature to be highlighted. It is the stager's job to make sure that feature is the first thing a potential buyer sees upon entering the room.

DON'T OVERLY DE-CLUTTER

The first lesson in home staging is to de-clutter, but knowing how much and what to remove is difficult for many home sellers. Atwell has noticed a trend lately where owners are actually overly de-cluttering their homes.

"Removing too many items can leave a room cold. It’s hard to fall in love with an empty room," Atwell said. "Renting furniture, adding accessories like art, flowers and rugs will define spaces and quickly evoke positive emotions. Plus, people buy on emotion.”  Atwell also added that rooms often look smaller without furniture. 

DON'T SPEND A FORTUNE

Neither Atwell or Chang believe it's necessary to spend a lot of money on the home you are selling. Using what you already have – also known as re-designing – is a big part of home staging. But if you do have to spend money, invest it wisely. If your couch is faded or old, for example, inexpensive slip covers can be purchased for less than $100. Atwell also suggested adding some fresh throw pillows from one of the local discount stores, which often cost between $10 to $20 and can give you a whole new look that’s very budget friendly. 

For more information, contact Susan Atwell by phone at (914) 525-0454 or by e-mail at susan@atwellstagedhome.com. And to list your home with Teresa Chang, call her at (914) 907-0881 or e-mail her at tchang@houlihanlawrence.com