Monday, November 1, 2010

Staged Houses Look Good After Dark, Too

Even though it's supposed to be a spooky, freaky, creepy holiday, Halloween in my neighborhood looked pretty darn friendly.

Was it the candy? Was it the kids in their cute disguises?

Guess again.

It was the exterior lighting! What's more welcoming than a porch light? Halloween made me realize the power that illumination has to make people feel good.

Home stagers would do well to make nighttime lighting part of the package, because it's not unusual for people interested in your home to drive by after dark. They want to see what the neighborhood is like when more people are home. Is it noisy? Is it safe? Is there parking? Is there traffic? 

Years ago I lived a few blocks away from a young family who seemed to have the lights on in every room all evening. This kind of extravagance was a novelty to me, and I recall thinking two things:

They must be rich. And, they must be doing interesting things. I know it's dumb, but ... well, I'm just a normal schlep, so these thoughts might be normal. These are the thoughts you want people to have about your house, that people live The Good Life there. Potential buyers want to live The Good Life, too! Subtlely, your home becomes more desirable, not a place where a grinch sits each evening alone in one room illuminated by the glow of a small tv screen.

My advice to you if your home is listed for sale is to make it come alive at night. With Daylight Savings Time ending soon, the lights need to come on earlier and stay on. I know it's not politically correct to recommend wasting energy, but you have a house to sell, a temporary situation that calls for harnessing all kinds of temporary techniques.

Especially if your house on the market is vacant, you want to avoid the haunted look.  Set some timers to have lamps come on and go off at random times.  These timers cost about $10 and could prevent a break-in.  Staging is all about creating a lived-in look, even when no one is home.  

Having outside walkways, steps and even landscaping illuminated makes your house the friendly house. It's a safety issue as well as a decorative one. It's just good staging.

If you want to know more about creating a home that looks desirable, read what five different exterior lighting experts say about the whys and hows of what they do here.

And read other advice in my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips.  I'll leave the light on for you.
Photo: Tanek H. Hook, courtesy Reynolds Landscaping Illumination, NJ

Top Photo: Martha Stewart.

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