As a professional home stylist and stager, I’ve learned it’s about more than de-cluttering and painting the walls to attract the right buyer. It starts with knowing your target buyer, what they want, and how to give it to them within the confines of the space. Home buyers might use logic to decide on their functional needs, such as the number of bedrooms or the home’s square footage, but when it comes to the final decision, the heart always plays a role.
Here are seven ways to tug at homebuyers’ heartstrings, and turn your listing into their new home.
1 / PRACTICE RESTRAINT
Resist the urge to cram every corner with stuff. “Negative space” gives the eye a place to rest and lends a sense of purpose to those items you’ve thoughtfully chosen to display. Furthermore, negative space creates the illusion of more room, good storage and organization, while building the buyer’s anticipation of “what’s next.”
2 / LIGHT IT UP
A well-lit home always looks larger, cleaner. Layer natural, task and ambient lighting into your staging strategy. Windows (and mirrors!) work with floor and table lamps, pendant lights, reading lamps and the like, to illuminate functional workspaces and highlight focal areas in the home. One great resource to check out for stylish lights is Hudson Valley Lighting.
3 / SET THE MOOD
Different colours evoke different emotions. Colour has the power to induce the calmness, excitement or cheer required to connect buyers with your property. And it doesn’t have to be all-encompassing to have an impact. A few thoughtful pops of colour can bring a hint of personality and style. Bonus: Colour makes for eye-catching listing photos, too!
4 / MAKE IT “HOME”
If you have a gas fireplace, turn it on to appeal to home buyers’ nesting urges. Nothing says “welcome home” like the warmth of a crackling fire. To up the ante, crank up the thermostat a couple of notches to encourage home hunters to linger a little longer, as they envision where they’re going to put their favourite chair and set of framed prints from France.
5 / A ROOM AND A REASON
Each area of the home should have a clear purpose. Your staging should be as a real-time instruction manual on how to maximize the space and function of every room. There shouldn’t be a question of where the TV should go, whether a full sofa will fit, or what that back room might be used for.
6 / ACCESSORIZE IT
When you’ve done everything but it feels like something’s still missing, think accessories. These seemingly small details make a big collective difference in a house that feels like “home.” The flowers on the entranceway table, the books in the office, and photos lining the fireplace mantel all contribute to a sense of belonging in the space.
7 / LET YOUR BUYERS MENTALLY MOVE IN
Your personal items, family photos, and pet paraphernalia are distractions that remind buyers that this is not their home, but yours. The easier you make it for them to picture themselves eating at the kitchen table and relaxing on the sofa, the more likely they are to make it their home.
RED BARRINUEVO, is Principal Designer at Redesign4More, and an award-winning property stylist and interior decorator based in Toronto. His design and decor work appears in a number of successful interior projects, ranging from small condos to large-scale luxury homes in Toronto and the GTA.