Shopping for a home is an emotional and tiring process. After looking at so many homes that aren’t quite right, stepping into a home that engages all the senses in a positive way is like a breath of fresh air. Within the first few moments of entering a listing, potential buyers are virtually flooded with information about that home and its inhabitants. Through sight, hearing, touch, smell, and yes- even taste, they are saturated with impressions. So use that to its best advantage and stage for the senses. Even if you aren’t moving- consider decorating for the five senses to give your own home a lift.
Stand if your foyer or at your front door- what’s the first thing you see? Is it a beautiful focal point? Do you see fresh flowers, a mirror, a nice table, 0r do you see clutter, smudges on the walls, and a trail of toys, leashes, and items that need to be put away? Are paint colors evocative of a serene spa or are they outdated or taste specific? Can anybody live here or just people who like your colors? Neutralize!
It’s kind of creepy to enter a house that’s too quiet and it’s definitely jarring to enter a house with a TV going somewhere in the distance. It makes you wonder if someone is home and doesn’t know you’ve entered the house. Soft music is a nice welcome. If you don’t have a central sound system, a radio tuned to the same station on each level works fine. Make sure the sound guests hear isn’t a faucet dripping, a ceiling fan that is off balance, or a fluorescent light buzzing. All repairs should be done before the house goes on the market. Get rid of that job list that stands in the way of an offer or invites a low ball offer. Buyers always overestimate how much the work will cost them to have done- and they want to take it out of your pocket! A note about barking dogs- as much as possible, remove your pet to a kennel or friends house while your home is being shown. Some people are afraid or allergic to dogs and we don’t want to exclude any potential buyers.
What are the surfaces like in your home? Are the wood floors smooth and polished? Are the carpets sinfully cushy? Is everything squeaky clean? It should be. People notice. When I stage a home for sale, I always include something that people would just love to touch. It may be silk pillows or smooth pebbles in a dish, but one thing I always use is wonderful towels. I know it’s shallow, but there is something about thick fluffy towels that make us feel like we are in the presence of luxury. And that is the message we want to convey.
The most inviting smell in a home is the smell of clean. Be careful not to go overboard with heavy cleaners, a light lemon smell is the most widely well received. I don’t recommend lighted candles or plug in air fresheners, they are too strong and many people are highly sensitive to them. They also make it seem as if you are hiding something. Lots of realtors bake sugar or chocolate chip cookies and this is a great way to introduce the last category.
As said before, house hunting is tiring. A little pick me up can be a good thing. I like to put a candy dish in the living room or on the entry table. Sometimes I put a glass cookie jar in the kitchen filled with biscotti with a little sign inviting buyers to take one. Freshly baked cookies at an open house are a welcome treat and give buyers an excuse to pause, look around a little more and talk to the agent. A bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter, while not for consumption is another appeal to the senses—and—a very inexpensive decorating accessory.
Make your listing “sense” ably inviting!
Commonwealth Staging LLC