6 Things You Should Always Do When Touring an Empty House, According to Home Stagers

published Sep 10, 2020
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empty house
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The pandemic has done a number on the real estate market, but one unexpected trend that’s emerged has turned traditional home-selling advice on its head. Vacant homes, once seen as a drag on the market, are now more appealing than occupied ones. Why this sudden reversal? Buyers feel their chances of being infected with COVID-19 are slimmer in an empty property.

However, as one expert, Kim Kapellusch, a professional stager with Style My Space in Los Angeles, points out, it can be very difficult for a buyer to gauge the dimensions of a space and envision themselves living there if it’s empty. Contrary to what you’d assume, rooms devoid of furniture actually appear smaller, not larger.

There are plenty of ways to work around this problem. Here, professional stagers offer their tips on what to visualize when touring an empty home.

Talk it out with your agent

If you’re having trouble visualizing how your stuff will fit in an empty home, talk to your real estate agent, suggest Katie Hilbert and Kari George, owners of The Home Sanctuary, a home organizing, styling, and staging company in Louisville, Ky. Most agents have experience in this arena and can “create the room verbally with” you.

Bring the right tools

Want to ensure your couch or bed will fit in a space? Plan ahead and bring the proper tools, says Hanny Jahns, founder and CEO of Stageasily in Las Vegas. She specializes in virtual staging, or creating renderings of a room by digitally furniture and decor.

Bring lengths of blue painters tape cut to size for the dimensions of your furniture. Alternatively, flatten cardboard boxes and cut out rectangles and squares to approximate the size of your furniture.

Then, while touring the home, use these tools to see if and how your pieces will fit. Another option is bringing a tape measure and your furniture dimensions so you can manually measure the space.

Bring photos of your things

It’s pretty difficult to imagine how you’d lay out your belongings if you can’t picture them in the first place. Make sure you take and save photos of your furniture on your phone so you can reference them while touring the home, say George and Hilbert. If you’re a more tactile person, you could print out the images—one per sheet of paper—and lay them on the floor to visualize where everything would go.

Let in light

Try to view the home in the daytime, and make sure any windows, blinds, and/or window treatments are open so you can let in the natural light, say Hilbert and George. A dark room can appear smaller than it really is, but viewing a space in natural light helps you get a better sense of its true dimensions.

Think about function

Are you a social butterfly who always has friends over? Or do you have kids who need room to run around? Keep in mind your lifestyle when viewing a home, and try to envision how well the home would function for your needs, say Hilbert and George.

“Imagine yourself having friends over (at some point!) and how the space accommodates entertaining or hanging out watching a game,” they say.

Gauge the vibes

Last but not least, take a moment to stop and gauge how you feel in the space, say George and Hilbert. Do you feel comfortable there? Does it bring you peace? Do you pick up on good vibes? It may seem a little woo-woo, but tapping into your intuition could make all the difference in choosing the right home for you.