Staging a Vacant Home

Written by Diane Keyes

To get the best price for your home, it is important to make your buyers feel comfortable. Every scary movie takes place in a cold, dark, and silent house. Your buyers have seen those movies too.

Raise their comfort level with these ideas…

  • Buyers want to live in comfortable homes, not meat lockers or ovens. Set the thermostat comfortably at 70 degrees, leaving the heat on in winter and the air conditioning on in summer.
  • If realtors can’t see to open the lock box they can’t show the house. Use timers to reduce electricity costs but make certain the lights are on (inside and out) for showings—focus on warm, inviting lighting.
  • The echo of an empty home makes people uncomfortable and stifles conversation. Leave a radio playing on a classical music station—it dispels the emptiness and diminishes the echo.
  • The longer buyers stay the more likely they are to make an offer so provide a place for buyers to sit and discuss a purchase agreement.

Even if you decide not to do anything else, these four suggestions will increase potential buyers’ physical and psychological comfort—and the chance of selling your property.

You can add to your buyers’ feeling of well being by

  1. Making sure all walls, floors and ceilings are in pristine condition.
  2. Cleaning regularly.
  3. Washing windows.
  4. Keeping up the yard work in the summer.
  5. Shoveling, snowblowing, and salting driveways and sidewalks to keep them free of ice in the winter.
  6. Airing out the house frequently.
  7. Maximizing focal points. For example, hang artwork over a fireplace.
  8. Creating opportunities to linger with vignettes in the rooms that require accessories rather than furniture to look interesting i.e. the kitchen, laundry, and bathrooms.

Offering hospitality with:

  • a basket of booties by the entry door so buyers feel a little pampered and so do your floors.
  • a bowl of candy on the kitchen counter (chocolate increases serotonin which sets off the buying impulse.
  • a refrigerator stocked with beverages and a note on the counter telling buyers to help themselves.
  • a pad of notepaper and a pen.

It’s not necessary to fill your vacant home with furniture. However, furniture, without accessories, looks uninviting.
By adding accessories and creating vignettes, you put the focus on the future rather than the past. Little touches such as a pasta bowl, wooden spoon, bag of pasta and recipe book in the kitchen, or a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses in the dining room, show an attention to detail that says the house has been prepared for their visit and is waiting for the buyers to live their best life in this wonderful home.

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