Turn Your House into a Show Home!
Home Staging (also called Real Estate Staging, House Enhancement and Property Styling) is the art of visually preparing a home to sell quickly and for top dollar.
Home Staging = Higher Price, Quicker Sale
These low-cost home staging tips will get you started on turning your house into a show home. This is critical because if you want to get the most money for your home and sell more quickly, you need potential buyers (and their agents) to feel it’s a “hot property”.
1. Consider the curb appeal.
Landscaping is nice, but not in everyone’s budget. At minimum, lawns should be freshly mowed, leaves raked, or snow shoveled. Consider a hanging or potted plant for the entrance.
Sweep the porch, deck and all walkways, and ensure garbage and recycling are tucked neatly away from the front of the house, your front door, porch, outside railings and steps.
This is cheaper than repainting and makes a world of difference.
Once the outside entrance is clean, decide if the paint really needs a touch up. Do you need a new welcome mat, mailbox, house numbers or porch light? All of these will go a long way to enhancing the impression visitors have when they arrive at your home for the first time.
2. Get rid of clutter!
Pick one closet or area at a time so the task isn’t as daunting. Look at every item with a very critical eye and ask yourself why you’re keeping it. Remember that how you live in your home and how you sell your house are two entirely different things. You’re going for a “show home” look, even if you have a modest home and furnishings as seen here!
Forget about hanging onto items for a garage sale after your house sells. Pick your favorite charity and donate what you don’t love or what you no longer need/use. You paid for these things long ago, why not just give them away to others who REALLY need them?
You’ll probably have to edit the same closets a few times to really whittle them down to the “essentials.” If rooms and closets still look cramped, rent a storage unit.
3. Watch where the eye goes.
If your eye is drawn to the chipped white paint on the door frame, take some “white out” and fill it in. If it’s those old nail holes in the wall, see if you can hang a picture to cover them.
Glue any peeling wallpaper. If you can’t afford the time or money to fix it properly, hang pictures and strategically place baskets.
You won’t cover the problem entirely (which would be wrong anyway), but you will draw your audience’s attention away from the problem and onto something more visually pleasing to focus on.
Removing clutter is an important starting point. A home staging professional will also know how to draw attention to the room’s best features and create a focal point.
4. Fix it or Find a Fix-It Person.
Ensure cupboards open and shut and that no taps are dripping. Look in all rooms for things you never got around to fixing and decide which ones might be distracting to potential buyers.
No, it’s not OK for door handles to fall off, even if you have learned to ignore it! Potential buyers will fixate on these annoyances.
A Staging Professional identifies which problems should be fixed and can often recommend someone to do the work.
5. Clean and clean again.
Most people can’t live in a spotless environment all the time. This can be one of the more stressful aspects of having your home on the market— but it’s worth the effort to sell your home for top dollar. You can hire a professional service to come in and deep clean everything; then take 30-45 minutes each day to maintain it.
Appliances should sparkle even if you’re not including them with the house. After all, you might throw them in later as a negotiating tool.
Counter tops, taps, sinks and bathtubs should be shiny and free of water spots. If you have a pedestal sink, don’t forget the dust that collects on top of the plumbing where it attaches to the wall. If the whole sink is spotless and the taps aren’t dripping, it will look new!
Dust shelves and vacuum or “Swiffer” the floors. Naturally, all beds should be made. Remember clean windows let in more light and look newer. Hire a service if you need to— it’s worth the investment.
This attention to detail seems over the top, remember that a very clean home leaves the impression that the house is well cared for. This helps put buyers at ease— especially a first-time buyer who may be worried about the responsibilities of owning a house.
6. Let in some air.
Open some windows for at least 10 minutes. There is nothing worse than walking into a stuffy house or one that smells of smoke and pet odors.
7. Let in some light.
It might be mood lighting to you, but if you’re trying to sell your home, keep it bright! Dimly lit rooms tend to look small and dingy— especially during the day. Make the most of your home’s natural light wherever you can. It lifts people’s spirits.
8. Don’t forget fresh flowers.
9. Pictures are important!
These days, 98% of buyers go online to “shop” before they actually go look at homes. Pictures are one of the first reasons they often select a home to view…sometimes that is the only reason they call your agent or have their agent take them to see your property.
Without great photos, you are taking your home out of the picture (pun intended!) for many buyers. Using your phone to take pictures of a home you wish to sell is less than ideal.
Invest some time in getting your home “photo ready” and have a professional take your pictures. This will greatly increase the likelihood of more showings, quicker sale and a higher sales price.
10. Carefully consider music.
Soft background music can help create a soothing environment and camouflage neighbor and traffic noise. But make sure the volume is very low.
Blaring TVs are definitely a no-no, but you’d be surprised how many people leave them on for showings!
Does Your House Look Like a Show Home Yet?
Step back and look at your home with the eye of a highly critical buyer.
Sometimes it helps to take a bunch of photos from different angles in each room. Looking at the images critically you’ll notice distracting details you might have overlooked in the room itself.
For example, why is that tiny picture hanging on such a big wall? Why are you bumping into the back of a couch when you enter the family room? Why is there so much stuff sitting on the fireplace mantle? Why can’t we see the fridge behind all those school notices?
Staged homes historically sell more quickly and at a higher price, so staging your home is worth the cost and the effort!