“Home-staging” is a critical step when it comes to selling or renting a home. Use it when you are thinking of doing a home exchange too!
By Patricia Fernandez
Showing off the best of your home and describing your lifestyle through photographs is not difficult. Importantly, it can help make your home stand out from the rest, which gives you more of a chance of agreeing on a home exchange.
Home-staging is not only about showing your home at its best in terms of visual organization; it also provides extra information about you to anyone who plans on staying in your home. If your home-staging is good (and sincere), whoever sees your home will have a sense of your tastes, hobbies and the nature of life of your community.
Think of it this way: A photo of a messy bed or a blanket with many wrinkles suggests that a homeowner is not very careful or that order is not a priority. It could make potential partners think “If they don’t take care of their own house, how are they going to take care of mine?” They might not accept an exchange, fearing that their house would be left a complete mess. Conversely, when you show an orderly room with a vase of fresh flowers, you are relaying the image of a detailed and organized person.
What you need to do is very similar to what you do when you take a picture of yourself. You don’t dress in your in pajamas, or leave your hair in a tangle that requires a good shower, right? Instead you get ready, put on some nice clothes and take the photo against a nice background. In your house, you should do exactly the same thing; each room should be clean, tidy and have some details that represent you and differentiate your home from the rest.
Put away everything that might distract someone from what you consider to be the most important quality of your kitchen. Make sure you have enough natural light and take several photos. Choose the most representative one.
A large plate of fruit says that healthy food is important; a cake, that you like baking; aromatic plants, that you like to cook. You can explain a lot about yourself in just one photo, so be creative!
Imagine that you are browsing a listing that makes you picture the following situation: You have just returned to your home exchange home and sat down on a very comfy couch; your children have found a notebook and some colored pencils and started drawing; and your partner is browsing a magazine found in a rack next to the couch.
All these inspirational images can be conveyed without any words, all by showing them in the photograph of your living room couch with soft cushions, a small table with a notebook and colored pencils, and the magazine rack.
Just as you did in the kitchen, take lots of pictures from different angles (closeups, wide-angle shots…) and choose the one that best captures your living room.
Apart from being orderly, the most important thing to see in the picture of the main bedroom is the bed. It should look comfortable and clean. When I stay in a hotel, one of the things that I like most is to slip between the soft white sheets. Your home exchange partners should feel the same thing about your home.
Imagine you own the Gilmore Girls’ bed-and-breakfast and prepare the beds with real care. Ready? Put a book on the side table, a tray with breakfast on the bed and a soft blanket on the bed. These will give an idea of how nice your room is.
Your children’s room(s) should show some toys; consider placing some representative ones on the carpet, but avoid the suggestion of headaches to parents and make clear where the shelves are and how easily toys can be stored. No one wants to spend part of a day trying to reorganize hundreds of toy cars and dolls!
As you see, home-staging can definitely also be applied to home exchanges, making it easier for you to swap with other travelers. Follow these ideas and tips, and you will easily create more natural pictures for your listing and convince more partners to exchange with you!
Patricia Fernandez is the engine behind ComparteMiModa.es, a blog in Spanish that shares fashion lifestyle and parenthood tips. She’s been a happy HomeExchanger since 2015. Check our her nice, home-staged apartment in Oviedo, Spain.