Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Staging a house for a quick PCS Sale

Have you wondered how to stage your house so you can sell it quickly when you have to PCS on short notice? I am here to show you how I did it and received a full price offer within 48 hours of listing.

We had been slowly working on remodeling the house over the last few years but when we got Scott's training date for OTS about 3 weeks before he had to leave things really got bumped up! I had fractured the bones in my toes in lots of crazy places and was just really getting mobile by the time he left for training and I had to get a lot of the painting and things done without him around. Then we found out that we were moving overseas and Scott was supposed to report to Germany just 5 days after graduation without even coming home! (Things didn't go exactly like that, but that's a story for another post!)  It made for a crazy summer! BUT, we were able to get it all done with a lot of help from neighbors and our family who lived a few hours away and made lots of trips down to help us.

We rented a storage unit for some of the big things and de-cluttered like crazy before putting the house on the market. We took down almost all personal decoration on the walls and replaced them with generic decorations so that anyone would be able to picture the house as theirs. I know for me I have a hard time looking at someone's house and picturing it as mine when pictures of the family are looking down at me from every wall!

I stalked Tai Pan Trading, Hobby Lobby, Walmart and a few other local home decor places and bought almost everything on clearance. Most of the pictures for the walls I was able to get for less than $10 a piece, some for just $1. Do I love all of them with all my heart? Not necessarily but they are fairly generic and made the house look finished and decorated without distracting from the house itself. The one thing I splurged on was the large mirror in the living room over the fireplace since the fireplace was the big focal point in the room and the mirror needed to be a specific shape and color to tie in in with the sconces above the fireplace.

When painting I chose very generic colors, sands and dark creams that wouldn't turn off a potential buyer and I used the same color in multiple rooms so that things would flow nicely. I left all the extra paint in the basement for the new owners.

When I was choosing a realtor I interviewed several on the phone. I ended up choosing our realtor because I got a good vibe from him, he worked locally, had great recommendations from people I know, he wasn't intimidated by needing to sell in 5 weeks and he used a professional photographer. The photographer part was really important to me since I didn't want cell phone pictures used in our listing!

This is what our lovely historic home looked like after I stripped wallpaper for weeks and painted like there was no tomorrow (cause there really wasn't, we had a deadline). Borrowing a carpet cleaner from our neighbor and doing all the carpets myself saved us a ton of money and made a world of difference with our old carpets.

The view from the street

The Backyard/garage
(it's hard to see but there are 3 fruit trees growing back there). I bought a zillion mums to plant in the backyard and in the pots on the front porch. Flowers are an easy way to fill in empty areas, add color and interest to your yard and make it look finished.

The Entry Way 
Notice the very generic picture over the chair? Cost me only $7, it's huge and it tied in all the living room colors from the other side of the room.

 Living Room
We kept the mantle very simple and used the rule of odd numbers to be visually appealing.

Master Bedroom, just off of the living room
This room had the weirdest carpet (not quite as weird as it looks in the photo though!) and wallpaper but replacing carpet wasn't in the budget nor did we have the time. And there was no time to paint this room. So, we replaced the bedding with a solid color that appeals to a wide range of people and made that the focus along with a few black and white prints of Venice to tie in to the black and cream pillows on the bed.  The framed prints of Venice came from Tai Pan Trading at $3.50 each. There is another one on the wall to the right of the camera.

 The Girl's Room 
I do wish the photographer had let me move the items from under the bed before the photos but he was a speedy photographer! This is the same creamy sand paint from the living room with simple white curtains and solid colored bedding. There are cute, generic girls room pictures on the two walls that you cant see.

We had already finished the bathroom a few months before all of this craziness, thank goodness. When we bought it the bathroom had the original pink tile and floral wallpaper and the tiniest bathtub. This was the biggest project as it had to be gutted and totally redone. All of the finishings are very neutral. This is the only bathroom so we had to make it look good.

The Kitchen
This was the other room that we didn't do as much to. I did paint all the trim and doors white since they were a strange almond color and very dingy looking. Did you know they sell wallpaper glue in little tubes so you can reseal wallpaper that is beginning to peel along the seams? Pretty cheap and it makes a huge difference. We cleaned and sealed the wallpaper, painted the trim and doors and just made sure everything else was squeaky clean and uncluttered.

Downstairs Bedroom 
We always used it as a playroom but staged it as a bedroom for the listing. Aside from the solid colored bedding and the pictures on the walls everything else we already owned and just re-purposed.

Downstairs Storage Area 
The basement is only half finished and this is the unfinished storage area. The laundry area is in the other half of the open space in the basement but wasn't really photo worthy. All the shelves are the same type and we tried to just made everything look neat and organized.

 No pictures were taken of the other massive bedroom in the basement. It was the final project that I finished the night before the house went on the market. It is twice the size of the other downstairs bedroom and we used it as a craft room/office. There is also a very large pantry in the basement that didn't get pictured along with an under the stairs storage area where Scott kept his tools. Not every room has to be pictured in the listing. It can create a desire to go see the house and see what else there is that wasn't in the pictures.

With a tight deadline we had to be selective about what things we were able to get done. I couldn't get it all done so I picked the things that I thought would have the biggest impact and made those my priority.  For example: I really wanted to take down the wallpaper in the kitchen but then I discovered that the ceiling had white wallpaper on it (who wallpapers the ceiling!?!?) that overlapped the wallpaper on the walls and I knew that was just too big of a project for our time frame. Would I have loved to have the whole house perfect? Yes, but if just wasn't possible with our time frame.

It was a super crazy process but getting that full priced offer within 48 hours made all the sleepless nights, paint splattered clothes, trips to the storage unit and fast food worth it.