De-Haunting Houses for Sale
Almost every neighborhood has one or two houses that go all out at Halloween. Their owners suspend sheet ghosts up in the trees, plant cardboard tombstones on the lawn, broadcast loud spooky sounds out into the street — then prepare a surprise or two to jump out at any mini-goblin who’s brave enough to knock on the door!
It’s all great fun — but now imagine actually living in a haunted house. Everywhere you look, you see evidence of the previous owner: little reminders that the spirit of the place remains enthralled by someone other than you and your family.
Believe it or not, some houses for sale wind up conveying just that feeling to prospective buyers! When houses are sold, it isn’t just a matter of closing deals and handing over keys. It’s also a transition from one group of occupants to the next. If prospective buyers can’t visualize themselves living in those houses, firm offers won’t be forthcoming.
Houses filled with personal mementos might as well be haunted houses, with the would-be sellers the ghosts!
Fortunately, the solution to de-haunting an house doesn’t require the services of the Ghostbusters (or an exorcist). Basic home staging does far more than make houses look fresh, clean and attractive – it also deliberately plants cues that tilt toward an ‘unoccupied’ look. Since the majority of houses are still occupied by their (very much alive) owners, that can take a little stagecraft. But it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition: houses that are properly staged are simply furnished without the individual personality in their furnishings that would make them look ‘lived-in.’ Prospective buyers can easily imagine filling them with styles of their own.
How does anyone depersonalize their home? First job is to identify an area (a large area!) where items can be stored out of sight. If that involves renting a temporary storage space, the cost should be minor compared with the value that can result. In it will go that black velvet painting everyone thought was so funny; the gathering of hand-painted ceramic pigs; the hard-fought weekend warrior trophies; the family pictures (remember: this is only temporary)…
For houses built and furnished many years ago, the décor may also need updating. If necessary, repaint in neutral colors — sometimes even when a bolder choice works well (that’s always a judgment call). Last but not least, properly staged houses are those from which signs of everyday habitation have been removed: things like toys, newspapers, mail, magazines, and tonight’s main course thawing on the kitchen counter.
Staging a home succeeds best when the result creates a beautifully blank canvas for the next owner. De-haunting your own house can mean a quick closing at the right price. If you are ready to make this coming winter your own prime selling season, a call to my office will help make that happen!