I’m not a real estate professional, but thankfully I work with a great one, my longtime friend Hans Wydler of Wydler Brothers! Hans sold our previous home in record time and did so again this time around, with contracts submitted just 1 week after first listing. My husband & I were not “planning” to move from our house below this Fall after 12 happy years here, but the chance to try a different lifestyle (moving from Washington DC suburbs to closer downtown, in Georgetown) kind of fell into our lap & so our move is ON — officially set for 10 days from now (gulp!).
I’ve learned so much from Hans about how to properly stage & present your house for potential buyers — am slightly too exhausted from the frenzy of past 2 wks to do this justice, but here are a few shots from the photo shoot his team did at our house, and some suggestions I learned along the way…I hope they might be helpful to you if you are in the market too!??
1. The front hall: first impressions count. You don’t have to clean out every single closet, but make sure the ones near the entry are fairly tidy. And keep the palette as neutral as you can, as well as clearing all non essentials (the umbrella stand for instance was in the garage by time that potential buyers came through!).
2. Living Room – I’m not a big tchotke person, but even I had to go through it with a fine tooth comb to remove extra knick-knacks that might not appeal to everyone. I collect decorative turtles for instance (my favorite childhood pet!), and have some very special ones – my brother in law brought back a carved one from South America, my mom gave me a sweet little brass one… But poof! They did not make the cut for the Open House.
3. Master bedroom – lose all the personal momentos and family photographs. Apparently no potential buyer wants to really visualize WHO lives in the house — they want to picture themselves in the space, kind of like a hotel – keeping it a blank, but hopefully inviting, slate.
4. Get the exterior shots done on a sunny day, or at least a clear one. Hans’ team purposely timed the brochure shoot for a bright day and the results below (no filter as far as I know!) were great.
5. Take out the screens for increased clarity of window scapes during the shoot and the Open House. It takes some effort but really does yield a clearer view, as you can see in our Family Room/Breakfast area below….(PS, the flowers throughout the house were via Lilac & Page (follow their amazing floral images on Instagram @lilacandpage!).
6. Edit, edit, edit!! My dressing closet below got a good thorough purge (yes, most of my clothes are now in the basement so you will no doubt see me wearing the SAME thing every day for a while. We can’t have it all, can we??:)
MORE RESOURCES — I am indebted to my very talented friend Carol Seitz, who is a partner in Cull and Tend, a concierge home and move management firm in the DC area. Carol is incredibly supportive and gets how stressful moving can be – but gently prods you to make really effective choices and decisive action in the process. Thank you, Carol!!
I also benefited from a consult with staging expert and designer Tyler Whitmore (sample image of her work below). Tyler walked through all my piles in all four floors of our house as I was figuring out how in the world I could get it ready for an Open House in 5 days! She encouraged me to just keep winnowing things down so that potential buyers can really see the space and envision themselves there. I loved her artistic eye combined with good practical sense. Very helpful!
SO there you have it. As my brain cells return later in the process, I’ll try to pass along more tips. I would never have thought we could have made such a big undertaking happen this Fall, but with great advice & support from these kinds of professionals (& good friends!), it really was a pretty straightforward process. I won’t say “easy” because it is definitely a ton of work. But knowing that there’s a clear path – a method to the madness – made it quite doable.
Stay tuned for Part II – the actual moving process! Ayayaya…