Ever wonder how a living could be made by decorating and fake furnishing empty homes? It’s because home staging works to sell homes more quickly and often for higher price tags than those that have not been staged. But what if you don’t have thousands to spend on a professional stager right before a move? Don’t worry. There are several relatively inexpensive steps you can take to stage your home for a buyer’s imagination. And the good news is, if you’re a super savvy military mover, you could potentially align your PCS with the home sale in a way that aids your staging efforts.
If you’ve moved more than once or twice with the military, you’ve probably made a habit of this “PCS Purge” practice. Get started a little early this time and focus on packing away distinctive decor, mementos, art, and excess clothing to depersonalize your space. A rule of thumb for closets is to make sure they’re only half full to give the appearance of more than enough space for one’s wardrobe. For the rest of the home, decrease your “stuff” by at least 30%. That includes big furniture items, books, dishes, and everything in between.
Pro Tip: If you’re spacing out your PCS with a partial DITY (do-it-yourself move, or Personally Procured Move), you can consider renting storage space for all of your decluttered things. That way you can stage the home with furniture you already own, continue to live in the space while you’re selling it, and make your home generic-looking enough to be someone else’s for the time being.
Make basic repairs and ensure the space is squeaky clean. Replacing blinds, lampshades, and broken switch plates will go a long way by not causing a buyer to pause and ponder what else might be in disrepair. Swap out light bulbs for a higher wattage for added luminance (makes a space seem bigger) and paint the walls a cool, neutral color to cleanse a buyer’s decorative palate. Keep the lawn in check, hang a welcome wreath on the door, and keep those windows open!
Don’t let Uncle Sam take all of your pieces if you can help it, but if you are working with a completely empty house, you have options. First of all, you only want three pieces of furniture (max) for each room. Think: bed, bedside table, dresser; and sofa, ottoman, side table. Don’t go overboard if you don’t have to. Give folks just enough and let their imaginations go from there. Ask friends if you can borrow a piece or two, buy inexpensive antiques or hand-me-downs from your local buy-sell-trade community groups (then sell it once you sell your home), or even consider renting an item or two if needed. Focus on accenting with linens, rugs, and pillows to create warmth.
The Rule of Three
We’ve already mentioned the furniture rule of three—that goes for decor items as well. For some reason, our brains interpret and remember odd-numbered/asymmetrical groups better than even ones, so use that fact to your advantage. Three candles (different sizes) on the mantle, three pieces of art on the wall, three trinkets on the side table, three vases on the dining room table. You’d be hard-pressed to find a styled photo in any design or retail catalogue that doesn’t illustrate this point. So whatever you’re using to decorate, just remember to group it oddly.
PCSing can be a stressful time, and if you add selling a home on top of that, it can be downright daunting. However, the more you do to prepare your home for solid listing photos, impressive showings, and a “move-in ready” vibe, the more time you’ll have to reap the benefits of your labor.