16 Simple Home Staging Tips For Fall

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From first days of school and football games to apple orchard trips and pumpkin-spiced everything, fall is one of the most anticipated and beloved seasons of the year. And now it’s arrived.

There is more to love about the season than tailgating, apple picking and flooding social media with pictures of kids heading off to class. As a seller, fall could be the perfect time to sell your home. For one, there may be less competition in the market as the peak selling season is over. And with all the ways autumn appeals to the senses, you can stage your home in a way that makes it even more marketable. Wondering how?Try these 16 home staging tips for fall, and you could be closing before the holidays.

Brighten Up

Not only do well-lit rooms look larger, they look more inviting. Days get shorter in the fall, meaning there is a smaller window of opportunity for using natural light in your home. Sure, you still want to use as much of it as possible, so open all your blinds and pull back the curtains to let in all the available natural light. On cloudy days or during showings that are later in the day, rely on artificial lighting to showcase each room. Just make sure it ties in with the room’s decor. You want lighting to look natural, so find lamps that double as room accessories. Before a showing, turn on all the lights so buyers never have to walk into a dark room or struggle to find the light switch.

Provide A Space For Outerwear

If you live in an area that experiences true fall weather – wet and cold – then potential buyers will more than likely be wearing coats, scarves and boots or carrying umbrellas when they enter your home. Having a space to hang outerwear will take away the burden of carrying those items throughout the home and will also prevent water, dirt, leaves and other fall debris from being transferred from one room to another.

Turn On The Heat

A home is many things, including a shelter from the cold. Nothing is more inviting on a frigid day than a warm home, so turn the heat up to a comfortable temperature – around 70 to 72 degrees. You don’t want your guests sweating as they walk through your house, but you don’t want them to have to wear their coats, either. Find a reasonable temperature and make sure it’s even throughout the house. If there’s a part of the house that doesn’t heat well, turn on a space heater to warm the room before the showing begins. If it’s too hot or cold in any given space, it could be distracting. And if it’s really cold, they may think something is wrong with the heating system, which brings us to our next tip.

Have Your HVAC Inspected

Before you schedule showings, get your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system inspected by a professional. Your HVAC system is an expensive piece of equipment that is sold with the home, and if it’s running rough – or not at all – that could turn off potential buyers. You’ll also want to change the air filter on the unit to ensure clean, fresh air is circulating as people are walking through. As a bonus, your system will run more efficiently, saving energy and cutting down on your utility bills.

Emphasize Coziness

One of the best parts about fall is curling up with a good book in the warmth and comfort of your home on a cold day. And if someone can picture themselves doing just that in your house, it will be hard for them to walk away from it. So how do you emphasize coziness? Consider what you’re wearing.

Flannel shirts, oversized knit sweaters, fleece-lined leggings, cashmere scarves – see a trend in these fall fashion staples? They’re soft, warm and, most importantly, cozy. You can easily borrow ideas from the runway by implementing these same fabrics into your home décor. Drape your furniture in cashmere or flannel throw blankets and toss a few knit pillows on your chairs. Don’t forget the floor. If you have hard, cold, wood or tiled floors, try laying down soft, fluffy rugs to add warmth. These touches will make potential buyers want to stay a while longer instead of going out into the cold.

Light Your Buyer’s Fire (With Fire)

Another way to bring about the coziness is to light a fire in the fireplace. Not only does a fire provide warmth, but it also appeals to other senses. Guests will see a warm glow, smell that magic aroma and hear the crackling of wood burning – all sensory experiences that promote comfort and spark cherished memories. If you’re hosting a walkthrough on a chilly evening, have a fire in your backyard fire pit, if you have one. You could make it even more unforgettable by offering to roast marshmallows or make s’mores. You’ll have potential buyers making memories in the home before they even move in.

If you decide to light a fire, make sure you’re creating the right ambiance and not creating a fire hazard. Only host a fire if it’s cold out. Adding heat to an already warm day will only take away comfort, not add to it. Before using the fireplace, have your chimney cleaned and inspected and make sure the flue is open. This will ensure proper ventilation and keep the room from filling up with smoke. Burn only wood in the fireplace and use a mesh screen to keep embers from flying out. Never leave the fire unattended.

Use Seasonal Scents

A general rule when showing a home is to stick to unscented candles – you never want to alienate a potential buyer who has an aversion to a certain scent. However, if you’re showing your home in the fall, you may want to break that rule and light a few autumnal-scented candles. Because smell is so intricately tied to emotion, harnessing the aroma of fall will evoke memories of apple picking, pumpkin carving, leaf raking and other family-friendly activities.

Provide Seasonal Snacks

A subtle way to play up the season is through the taste buds. Instead of water, cookies and chips, provide a sampling of popular fall foods like apple slices, cider and donuts, hot chocolate or pumpkin pie. Give visitors a parting gift of individually wrapped caramel apples to leave a lasting memory without leaving sticky fingerprints throughout the home.

Keep Your Curb Appealing

“A prospective buyer’s first impression of a home is the exterior,” says Rhianna Miller, garden and landscape design expert for Rubber Mulch, manufacturer of rubber surfacing material like what you might see on a playground. “Curb appeal is as important as the interior. It’s the first thing that your potential buyers will see.”

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean the yard work is done for the year. To make sure your curb appeal stays appealing, Miller suggests routinely raking any fallen leaves, keeping bushes trimmed and cleaning the gutters.

“Put care into the landscaping of the home by removing dead or dying plants and replacing the mulch,” adds Candice Williams, a REALTOR® at RE/MAX Space Center in League City, Texas. “Bring new life into your yard by planting fresh flowers that will withstand the chillier weather.”

Plant Fall Flowers

Adding fall-hued foliage and flowers to your outdoor landscape will help bring out the natural hues of the season. And by planting flowers that thrive in fall weather, you’ll also prevent droopy or dead flowers from spoiling the aesthetic. Mums, goldenrods, Aster, smoke bush, Heleniums, burning bush, Virginia Sweetspire, witch hazels and Viburnum are all plants that grow well in colder temperatures and produce gorgeous, seasonal color.

Add Subtle Touches To Your Porch

The porch is the perfect spot to make an impression, and subtle hints of autumn can be inviting while adding a bit of seasonal decor.

“Hang up a fall wreath on your front door to welcome prospective home buyers,” suggests Miller. “Place a couple of pumpkins on either side of the entry and include a welcome mat to show buyers that they are entering a warm and inviting space.”

Don’t Be Rotten

If you plan on using fresh pumpkins, gourds or anything else that has a shelf life, keep an eye on it and replace it when it starts to show signs of going bad. A smelly, rotting pumpkin with swarms of flies can be off-putting to potential buyers and may make them wonder if there are other parts of the home you’re not maintaining.

Decorate For The Season, Not The Holiday

Home buyers want to picture themselves living in the home they are going to buy. And nothing excludes a buyer more than a home decked out in decorations for a holiday they don’t celebrate. Not only that; many holiday embellishments border on being tacky or even offensive. This is especially true for Halloween decorations, which could be seen as creepy, gory or just plain gross. Stick to decorating for the season, which is more inclusive, and skip the holiday-specific accents.

Remember: A Little Goes A Long Way

As with any seasonal decor, it’s important to make sure you don’t overdo your efforts.This can be hard if you love the season, the upcoming holidays, or decorating in general. But you have to remember the point of staging for fall.

“Staging a house is all about being neutral and highlighting the positive aspects a home has to offer,” says Karen Gray Plaisted, owner of Design Solutions KGP, a professional home staging and decorating company servicing New York and New Jersey. “Being objective is hard for many homeowners because it’s still their home. The tendency for most is to pull out theme decor that relates to events and holidays. This is not what buyers need to see.”

For those who can’t resist the urge, she recommends using a light hand and provides the following examples:

“Vases with tall branches [and fall leaves] are always dramatic but simple,” she says. “A tray on a coffee table with an arrangement of gourds and a potted mum is a seasonal understatement. And warmer-toned pillows and throws on neutral-toned furniture can make a room feel cozy on a chilly day.”

A few examples of staging that goes overboard include a home cluttered with Halloween knick-knacks or a pumpkin-patch-themed front yard complete with hay bales and a scarecrow.

Remember that when it comes to decorating your home for a showing or open house, it’s always better to scale it back and keep in mind the purpose of staging your home.

“The goal is to highlight the product being sold. In this case, it’s the house, not the stuff,” says Gray Plaisted.

Avoid Clutter

Another way to keep it simple is to avoid adding unnecessary clutter to your space. Clutter can make a home look unkempt and make a room look smaller than it is. Having things littered all over the room could also give the impression that there is not enough storage space to keep it all contained.

Keep The Season Out Of Listing Photos

Keep your decor in mind when you’re taking pictures for your home listing, too.

“When taking the property photos, never stage the home with anything that’s overtly seasonal or focused on a holiday,” says Williams. “For example, if you’re taking property photos around Halloween, put away the pumpkins and haunted house decor. This is important because if the home is still on the market after the holiday or season passes, the photos will look outdated,” she says, adding, “it will also draw attention to the buyers that the home has been on the market for a long time.”

Staging your home for fall will appeal to your buyer’s senses, trigger an emotional connection and help them envision themselves living in your home. Figuring out the best way to stage your house is an important step toward selling it. But there’s more to selling a home than making it the place potential buyers want to live. For more help, check out our ultimate guide for selling your house for sale by owner.