Five Rules: Designing to Sell with Ann Schooler

Expert staging tips for turning a top-dollar profit on the sale of your home

By Lisa Petty
|  Monday, Feb 22, 2010  |  Updated 1:42 PM CDT
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Five Rules:  Designing to Sell with Ann Schooler

Lisa Petty

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“Staging homes pays for itself fives times over.”

Six years ago, interior designer Ann Schooler of Schooler, Kellogg & Company was hired to redecorate an historic home in preparation for its sale.  With Schooler’s magic touch, that property was snapped up within 24 hours for the highest price ever in the Park Cities at that time.  Talk about an auspicious start.  Since then, she’s become a go-to guru in the world of home staging.

No-nonsense, with a keen eye for detail, Schooler has plenty of tricks up her sleeve to attract and captivate potential buyers.  While her clients include multi-million dollar homes and luxury high-rise apartments, these tips translate beautifully for anyone looking to turn a top-dollar profit on the sale of their home.

Five Rules for Staging Your Home

1.  De-personalize.
First and foremost, our expert recommends clearing out all photos, trophies, art projects and the like before opening your home for viewing.  It’s not easy, but this strategy will allow potential buyers to envision themselves in the space.  “It’s difficult to remove yourself from a home,” Schooler explains. “But once you put a house on the market, it is a commodity.”

2.   De-clutter.
Many hold a garage sale just prior to moving, but in Schooler’s experience, “You’ll make more money if you have [that] sale before you put the house on the market.”  And she’s not talkin’ 25-cent paperbacks, either.  Getting rid of all that junk will set a better stage for selling your home.

3.  Know your target audience.
A realtor or appraiser can clue you in to the target demographic for homes in your area.  Whether it’s young families, empty nesters or single professionals, Schooler recommends playing to their needs.  For example, staging a home office as a child’s room can go a long way toward appealing to a specific buyer.

4.  Clean and repair.
It’s no surprise that our expert believes a deep cleaning is “essential.”  Pay close attention, in particular, to carpets and rugs.  Bathrooms should also sparkle, and Schooler points out that hiring a contractor to re-grout if necessary is definitely “money well spent”.

5.  Paint and plants.
Finally, according to Schooler, these two details give big “bang for the buck”.  Choose neutral tones for interior walls and avoid statement colors.  Outside, however, a little punch is a good thing.  Adding seasonal flowers to year-round greenery is a great way to enhance curb appeal.

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