When it comes time to sell your home, first impressions are everything! You want potential buyers to be able to see themselves living there, and this is where staging comes into play. Home staging is a proven and effective sales technique that integrates decorating with marketing to create an experience for potential home buyers. The goal of staging is to eliminate clutter or any distractions that might steal focus from your home’s best-selling features. This process can also involve rearranging furniture and accessorizing or even hiring a professional staging company to execute a staging plan with additional furniture and accessories to maximize each room’s potential.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2017 Staging Stats report, 49% of buyers’ agents believe that home staging has an effect on how a buyer views the home, with 77% saying that it makes it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their own. On the sellers’ agents’ side, 21% report that home staging increases the value of a home between 6% and 10%, and 39% note that it greatly decreases the total amount of time a home is on the market.
With so much potential upside, it’s clear why sellers should put forth the extra effort into staging their homes, and the good news is, most staging strategies don’t require spending a ton of money. Check out the following 10 home staging tips that will have you on your way to selling your home faster and for top dollar!
1. Stage Where It Counts
That same NAR survey mentioned above also states the rooms that hold the most importance for buyers are the living room, master bedroom, and the kitchen. These are the rooms you are going to want to focus your efforts on when it comes to staging. Don’t worry so much about secondary rooms like guest bedrooms and bathrooms.
2. Don’t Make It Personal
One of the top objectives of home staging is for potential buyers to be able to visualize the space as their own. You want to create a blank canvas that will be universally appealing. Just think of model homes…they’re inviting and stylish, yet devoid of personal items that might distract potential buyers. Try adding fresh cut flowers or a bowl of fresh farmer’s market produce on the kitchen countertops. It’s little touches like these that go a long way with buyers.
Remember to remove any personal photos, making sure to take down both famed photos on walls and surfaces and anything that you might have hanging on your fridge. Keep clothes stored away and out of sight, and clear bathroom counters of personal items, like toothbrushes, beauty products, or medicines. Remove anything overtly religious as well. While it’s true that de-personalizing your home makes it a little weird to live in, it is extremely useful for helping buyers better connect with the property.
3. Remove the Clutter
You want your home to feel spacious and open, which means if you have a lot of stuff, it’s time to put it away! Make your home look bigger and more desirable by paring down to just the basics. You don’t have to get rid of things forever, but you should certainly be packing them up and getting them out of the house. Buyers will be opening your closets to look at their storage potential, so take your time there removing as many miscellaneous and non-crucial items as you can. The less clutter you’ve got in the space, the bigger it will look and the more appealing it will be to buyers.
4. Do A Deep Clean
Get your house sparkling clean! You want every square inch to shine, from the baseboards to the corners of your ceilings and everywhere in between. Remember to clean windows, scrub grout, and dust every nook and cranny. You may even want to hire pros to do some of the really tough stuff, especially if you have a large house. A squeaky-clean home suggests to buyers that the current owners took good care of the property. This one is important, so don’t skimp!
5. Patch, Paint, & Repair
Getting your home ready for sale is the perfect time to fix any nicks, scratches, nail holes, or other imperfections that may signal neglect to buyers. An easy way to remove wall scuffs is with a foam eraser. Go from room to room and make note of any areas that could use fixing, then caulk and spackle as necessary. You may need to do some paint touch-ups too if you notice areas where previously applied paint has chipped. Just like with cleaning, the purpose is as much about showing potential buyers that you’ve put effort into maintaining the property as it is about making the place look nice.
6. Keep It Neutral
Choose sophisticated, neutral colors. Staging a home is not the time to try out a bold color palette, but it doesn’t mean you need to go all white, either. Choose rich, mid-tone neutrals like “greige” and taupe to create a modern backdrop that makes everything look pulled together and fresh.
7. Don’t Forget Curb Appeal
This is something you hear all the time, but it’s true, first impressions really do matter, so make your home stand out the instant buyers pull up to the curb. We suggest renting a pressure washer to remove dirt and grime from your siding, roof, fascia and gutters. If needed, paint the front door and/or shutters a fresh coat of paint, and replace old house numbers, lighting, and set out a new welcome mat. Clean up the edging around flowerbeds and lay down fresh mulch. Fill in empty beds with small shrubs, seasonal flowers and greenery. If your porch or stoop has room for furniture, add a couple of chairs to expand your outdoor living space.
8. Amp Up the Lighting
Dark rooms are depressing. Brighten up by letting as much light shine in the house as possible. Open the blinds on all of the windows, which in addition to letting in more light will also make rooms seem bigger.
Another thing that makes staged homes look so warm and welcoming is great indoor lighting. Increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures. Aim for a total of 100 watts for every 50 square feet. Make sure you have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading) and accent (table and wall).
9. Rethink Furniture Placement
You want there to be as much open, walkable space as possible. There’s a misconception that rooms will feel larger if all the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that isn’t the case. Instead, furnish your space by floating furniture away from walls. Reposition sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in a room is obvious. Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, but it will open up the room and make it seem larger.
10. Add Plants
You want your home to feel welcoming and an easy way to do this is with the addition of a few well-placed plants and flowers. This will bring both freshness and a pop of color to your space!
Staging a home to sell doesn’t require spending a lot of money – just making smart decisions. By highlighting your home’s strengths, you’ll appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers. Whether you choose to stage the home yourself or hire a professional, just remember, you are trying to appeal to the masses, which might mean setting aside personal style preferences and ideas. Happy staging!
Article by Katie Rothman, REX