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First impressions key to selling your house – Times Union

Home staging makes the most of a prospective buyer’s visit to your home

When it comes to selling your home, it’s all about first impressions. You have to put your home in the best light possible and the best way to do that is by home staging. If you’re willing to spend money, you can get a home stager, if not, there are simple things you can do to make your home more presentable.

Bill Allen of Wm. F. Allen Design Consultant said he walks through the house for about two hours and writes an outline of the things the client should change, then reviews that with them and sees if they agree.


Allen said it takes some decluttering and simplifying, but some of the character of the home should remain. Keeping that personality while making it attractive to as many clients as possible is critical.

Dona Frank, a Sotheby’s real estate agent, said there are so many online buyers now that the “first showing” happens online.

The way the home is presented and photographed could be the reason a buyer chooses to click next or remain on that page, said Frank.

Patricia Green of Hudson Valley Design agrees that good photographs are essential for your online listing. The photographs should do justice to the home.

Steven Girvin, owner of Steven Girvin Properties, said home staging helps the buyers visualize the property. It also helps them focus in on the great details of the house.

Annie Schwarz, owner of Interior Harmony said home staging is attending to what needs to be rearranged, repaired, removed and repainted. No buyer will be attracted to a poorly maintained home, so home staging can be a deal-breaker.

“When you come to sell your property you want to minimize distractions. You want the buyer to see that something special that sticks out,” said Girvin.

Green said homeowners should clean up and eliminate everything that isn’t essential. She says since the entrance is the first thing a buyer sees, it should be immaculately clean.

In order for a buyer to consider looking inside the home, it’s best to focus on the outside appearance, especially since a lot of people do drive-bys, said Schwarz.

Schwarz said to make sure the bushes are trimmed and the lawn is mowed, clean the windows, pressure wash the house, paint old mailboxes and get some flowers, potted plants or a wreath for the outside.

Leah Margolis of Leah Margolis Design said staging makes it easier for buyers to envision themselves in the house and see how it can flow, which then makes for an easier sale.

Keeping everything organized is important, said Girvin. Neutralizing wall colors, re-creating the living space, dressing the dining table and adding accessories to enhance the features of a particular room or the property itself are all things you can do to stage your home, he said.

Removing personal pictures is an essential thing to do, so that people feel like it could be their home, not like they’re in someone else’s home, said Schwarz.

Allen suggests eliminating some furniture and simplifying the kitchen and bathroom from appliances.

Green said fresh air is better, so avoid using artificial fragrances and make sure the light bulbs are bright so that they really light up the room.

Closets, cabinets and cupboards should be organized and decluttered, since buyers will be looking inside them, said Frank. She also said to get rid of heavy drapery to increase the light in the room, because having a well-lit home is very important.

Schwarz said when things are neat, clean, organized and pretty, buyers equate that with high value.

It’s good to stick with neutral colors, because people have different taste, said Margolis. A little pop of color is OK, but leave that for the pillows rather than the furniture itself, she said.


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