10 Tips for Staging Your Home
What’s the state of the housing market? What condition is your home in? And, most importantly, what can you do to induce the best offers? Well, if you have the time to spare, staging your home could make a world of difference in how much you’re likely to get in a sale.
Many people try to stage their home before they put it up for sale, but it’s important to remember that “staging” a home and “decorating” it are two different things. When you decorate a home, you’re trying to add your personal style. Staging your home is all about taking your personality out of the space to make it more appealing to a mass audience.
Follow these tips for staging your home to help your house put its best foot forward.
You’ve heard it said by thousands of realtors for the last few decades: don’t forget about curb appeal!
It sounds trite, but it’s true. Whether buyers first see your house in an online search or when they pull up with the realtor, the exterior is the first thing they will see. So make sure it presents a pretty “face” by refreshing paint (on the exterior as well as the front door), updating your landscaping, pressure washing any stained areas (on the house or driveway), and even creating a welcoming entrance with new house numbers and a fresh pot of flowers on the porch.
Potential buyers don’t have the information (or imagination) to know what your home has been through…or how well it will stand up to continued use. They might see just one or two broken items and assume the whole house is falling apart.
Take the time now to fix any broken appliances, hardware, or structural issues that could create doubt in the buyers’ minds. Remember, now is not the time for costly renovations. Just focus on making your home look well-constructed and livable.
It’s one of the best things you can do to stage your home, but also one of the most exhausting: keeping your house perfectly clean.
Whether you love to clean or not, there’s no denying that homes simply look nicer, bigger, and better maintained when they’re clean, so get the entire household on board with getting it clean and keeping it that way.
Hire a professional cleaning company to take care of the areas you likely ignore and consider bringing them in every couple of months while your house is on the market (if it even takes that long). Have your carpets professionally steam cleaned to refresh the fibers and get out any stains and keep the place looking clean at all times. This means emptying garbage cans at least once a day (or at least right before a showing), cleaning up messes as soon as you make them, and doing a thorough wipe-down and vacuuming every day.
The process is tiresome, but the results are well worth it.
Lay Out the Red Carpet
When bringing potential buyers in your home, make sure you put out a welcome mat…literally. Make buyers feel special by setting out a pretty welcome mat at the front door, and filling your home with inviting scents, sights, and other treats.
Fill your vases with fresh flowers (seasonal blooms are usually relatively cheap and widely available). Bring out a set of fancy towels that are only for showings (your family can put them to use after you move, or you can keep them solely for entertaining). Don’t forget about the old trick of baking a batch of cookies when people come to see your home. If it’s a certain season, you can bank on the warm feelings of the season by offering cider, cocoa, or other holiday treats during an open house or (tastefully) decorating for the holiday.
Making buyers feel like a million bucks could entice them to offer a million bucks…or, you know, at least your asking price.
Remove Your Personal Touch
You love your family, friends, and pets. You cheer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers every football season. You collect and decorate with vintage comic books. These kind of personal details are great info for a dating profile, but your buyers won’t be as swayed by who or what you love.
Removing personal items (like family photos) and replacing anything that’s too “you” will make your home seem less like “your” home and more like the buyers’ home. So now is the chance to imitate those magazine spreads you love. The buyers will feel like they’re purchasing a showcase.
Another part of making your home look clean and well-decorated is making sure it looks organized. A messy, cluttered home could signal to buyers that there isn’t enough storage, so leave plenty of empty space.
Pack up lesser-used items (you’re moving anyway, right?) and stick them in a storage unit. Keep counters clear and leave plenty of space in each room for walking around. If you have young children, place boxes in (hidden) strategic spots, like under the bed, to quickly “clean up” before a showing.
Buyers may not peek under the bed, but they certainly will take a look at what storage space you have, so organize all the closets and pantries. Just as with the rest of the house, leaving plenty of empty space (or even an empty shelf, if you can afford it) will make your closets seem bigger than they really are.
Creating a more comfortable furniture arrangement can make a room feel bigger as well as more inviting.
Start by removing at least one piece of furniture from every room and stick them in storage, get rid of them, or keep them at your new house (if you can). Having less furniture will automatically make any room seem bigger.
Next, pull the remaining pieces away from the wall and arrange them in cozy groups that encourage conversation. Pushing everything against the wall won’t make the room look any bigger; in fact, the awkward positioning will turn buyers off. You can always rent smaller “place holder” chairs or end tables if you need to.
Feel free to move artwork and furniture to different rooms in order to show everything to its best advantage. It’s fairly likely that your realtor will have some experience with this, so ask his/her advice when rearranging, or enlist the help of a friend with a good eye for design.
Include All Rooms
When staging your house to sell, it can be tempting to “clean up” as if you’re having a party and focus only on the major living spaces. But remember, buyers will want to examine the whole house before they feel ready to make an offer, so don’t forget to about your bedrooms, bathrooms, dining room tables, garage, and outdoor spaces.
Set the table with a set of pretty dishes and an attractive centerpiece. Light some candles in the bathroom and bring out some decorative soaps. Clean out or organize the garage. Keep everyone’s bed made and the bedrooms picked up.
Even if you’re continuing to live in the house you’re trying to sell, consider the house as if it’s already sold and don’t allow yourselves to “move back in.”
Timing is Everything
Make sure your home is beautifully and properly staged before your realtor takes any photos of your house for the listing. Buyers will likely see the photos before they see the house, and they won’t want to come for an up-close look if the photos are nothing to brag about. If you have the time and money, you may even want to stage your house after you’ve moved out, to ensure that everything stays as pretty as the picture.
Tips & Tricks
But what happens if you have a really small, awkward, dark, or empty room that you don’t know what to do with? A few simple tricks can turn a “liability” into an asset.
To make dark rooms more inviting, scatter different light sources around the room at different heights. A good rule of thumb is 100 watts for every 50 square feet. Buy some inexpensive floor or table lamps if you don’t already have them.
You can make small spaces seem bigger by carrying the paint color into an adjacent room. (The continuous color makes it seem like one big space.)
If you have an empty room (but no money to furnish it), use the “excess” items you removed from your other rooms to turn that unused space into an impromptu guest room, office, or playroom. Any awkward spaces can be similarly transformed to show buyers a potential purpose. For example, a recessed space in the living room can be staged with throw pillows and a stack of books to create a cozy “reading nook.” A breakfast tray with cups and a small bud vase can turn a previously unusable patio into a cute spot for morning coffee.
Staging your home is easy one you have a few tips at your disposal. When it comes time for your next move, this list should come in handy, but so can we! Cento Family Moving is always ready to take you on your next relocation adventure. Call us today for a free quote.