Q: I am in the process of bringing my home to market and I would like to offer the large, open, unfinished attic for possible completion and use. Currently it is equipped with an unpainted plywood floor. Do you have any suggestions on how to best stage this space with minimal cost and effort?
A: Resist the urge to toss time and money in an unfinished attic. Instead, focus your energy on the rooms where you spend most of your time: living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. You want a buyer to walk through your front door and immediately imagine living in your home. When you get to the attic, make plans for how to decorate the living room and master bedroom.
"The whole point of the staging is for a buyer to come in and fall absolutely in love with the room and feel like I'm trading what I have now for something better," said Donna Dazzo, owner of Designed to Appeal. a home staging and redesign company serving New York and the Hamptons. "This is where your dollars should go because you need to create this feeling."
When you've fully invested in the main living areas and still have some nickel in your budget (and energy in your tank), turn to the unfinished attic. Assuming the attic is up a flight of stairs rather than a retractable ladder, a simple staging could give buyers a visual sense of its potential.
You could design the room as an exercise room with a yoga mat, exercise ball, and weights. Or create an artificial bedroom with an air mattress on a couple of cardboard boxes hidden under a duvet. "It gives the buyer a sense of how to use the space," said Ms. Dazzo.
When you're feeling inspired, paint the floors, walls, and ceiling white, and add a splash of color with a framed poster or rug. Or give the room a bohemian atmosphere with lush plants, a rattan chair and a floor lamp. "If you can use the staging to distract from the fact that there is so much to do, it helps people get excited about the property," said Kirsten Jordan, associate broker at Douglas Elliman. Another option: ask a contractor for an estimate of the cost of a renovation and include this detail in the listing.
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