The Basics of Staging

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One of the most important things you can do before you list your home for sale is to stage it. Home staging refers to arranging the home’s furnishings and decor so it looks as good as possible. In other words, you use the decor and furnishings to make the home look like a showroom, so buyers walk in and feel instantly at home. This can help your house sell more quickly and for a better price. If you’re interested in starting the home staging process, here’s how to do it.

1. Tackle the Clutter

Clutter is the enemy of a fast home sale. It makes a home look crowded and unkempt. Purge and clean until your home looks as empty as possible. This may mean sending some items to storage while the home’s on the market, but the more you can get out of the house, the better.

2. Arrange the Furniture Well

Next, change the arrangement of your furniture. Often you will need to remove some pieces to make the home look larger.

In the living areas, pull couches, chairs and tables away from walls to allow them to float in the room. This actually makes the room look larger and inviting. Use an area rug to create a chatting area.

In bedrooms, make sure there is plenty of space on the floor showing. Get rid of a nightstand or dresser if you need to temporarily, so the home looks larger.

3. De-Personalize the Home

As you go through your home to stage it, look for things that are highly personal to your family. Family pictures, children’s artwork, or an heirloom item that has meaning to you, but does not add to the home’s look, can all be removed. You want the home to look and feel like a perfectly staged model home, not your personal, comfortable space.

4. Keep it Neutral

If you need to paint a room or add a piece of decor, make it as neutral as possible. Again, this will help buyers feel at home, no matter what their personal tastes may be. Bright colors are best avoided when staging a home.

5. Clean and Repair

Cleaning your home as you stage it is unlike any other cleaning you have done. You need to clean it as deeply as you can so that it shines from top to bottom. This shows that you take care of your home, and makes buyers feel more confident that they won’t be purchasing a lemon. In addition, patch and repair anything you find, including holes and scratches in the paint.

Staging a home is a bit time consuming, but the rewards are worth the effort. About half of all buyers’ agents report that home staging changes how a buyer views a home. You want the buyer to have a positive experience in your home, so stage it well!

How to Create a Beautiful Garden with Half the Effort

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If you’re like many homeowners who are busy with work and family obligations, you love the thought of your outdoor living space serving as a personal sanctuary during the occasional moments when you manage to get some downtime. However, it may also be true that the time you spend in your yard and garden area is more about chores than anything else, with very little room for relaxing with a book and a beverage, enjoying a cookout with family and friends, or simply sitting quietly on a garden bench while listening to the birds sing. Following are several suggestions for how you can exchange some of that outdoor task time for outdoor leisure time. 

Rethink Your Lawn

You can save yourself hours of mowing, weeding, feeding, and other lawn chores every week by seriously downsizing your lawn. If you’ve got active children in the home and want them to have a soft surface to play on, consider creating a play space with playground mulch instead of lawn. Leave a small patch of lawn so that you can still enjoy the occasional gratification of bare feet on velvety green grass.

Go Native

Ask your local garden retailer for recommendations on flowers, shrubs, and trees that are native to your geographical area. These plants thrive in local soils and climate conditions, and they’ve developed natural resistance to regional pests and pathogens. You won’t have to spend time babying them along with special fertilizers and pesticides — at most, they’ll need an extra drink of water during drought conditions and routine clipping and mulching.

Use Plenty of Mulch

Which brings us to mulch. Mulch provides multiple benefits in the yard and garden area. Organic mulch slowly releases nutrients into the soil, and any type of mulch acts as an insulator for plant roots, protecting them from temperature extremes on both ends of the scale. It also acts as a deterrent for the germination of weed seeds, as well as, helps provide your outdoor living space with a pulled-together appearance. 

Build a Rock Garden 

Rock gardens provide an almost maintenance-free way to maximize the aesthetics of your outdoor living space. Most rock garden plants don’t require extra water and fertilizer once established. Rock gardens are also ideal for placing on slopes because they significantly decrease soil erosion from precipitation runoff. 

Install a Smart Irrigation System

Smart irrigation systems save homeowners money as well as time. They’re equipped with sensors that determine the amount of moisture in the soil, for instance, and the water won’t come on unless the soil is dry, and they can also be set to shut off if it begins to rain.