The key to selling a property is making sure potential buyers are able to envision themselves living in the home. This principle makes sense, but as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) seller, you’re probably wondering how you can ensure buyers connect with your property.
According to a 2019 survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®, 83% of buyer’s agents believe that staging a home makes it easier for a buyer to imagine owning it. But, if you’re not an interior designer, you may not know where to begin. That’s why we’ve come up with home staging tips to help you through the process.
As important as home staging is, we know the costs can add up. Therefore, we’ve organized our home staging tips around the most important rooms in your house. This way, you can figure out how to make the most of your marketing budget.
What Are The Most Important Rooms In Your House To Stage?
Staging a home can lead FSBO sellers to receive higher offers, but the process isn’t cheap. If your home is vacant, consider staging your entire house. However, if it’s not, you may want to focus your efforts.
The NAR’s report provided insight into the home staging process from two perspectives: listing agents and buyer’s agents. When surveying listing agents, the report found that sellers most commonly stage the living room (93%), kitchen (84%), master bedroom (78%) and the dining room (72%).
Although those rooms are most commonly staged, they’re not necessarily the most important rooms in your house to stage. According to buyer’s agents, it’s more important to stage the master bedroom (83%) than the kitchen (62%).
Here are the five rooms buyer’s agents believe are most important for buyers to see staged:
1. Living room
2. Master bedroom
4. Dining room
5. Outdoor space
If you only have the funds to stage two rooms, you may want to go with the living room and master bedroom, as they are most likely to sway potential buyers. However, as you choose what to stage, you should consider your needs as well.
How To Identify A Room That Needs To Be Staged
Before you begin the staging process, clean and declutter your home from top to bottom. Once you’ve finished, take a tour through your home to determine which rooms need additional attention. As you do so, try to examine each room objectively. Look out for rooms that:
– Feel shabby
– Appear dated
– Possess a bold interior design
– Have bulky furniture
– Are filled with knickknacks, souvenirs and family photos
These rooms will need sprucing. Since the purpose of staging is to enable buyers to visualize themselves living in your home, the goal is to neutralize and depersonalize your rooms.
General Home Staging Tips
There are some home staging tips that should be applied to every room in your house. These tips will help you neutralize and depersonalize your home so that buyers can picture the space as theirs.
– Clutter from surfaces, including mail and trinkets.
– All personal items, including family photos and mementos.
– Items that don’t fit neatly in your storage spaces.
– Anything that you will not be needing before you move.
– Oversized furniture with slimmer pieces that open up the space.
– Bright colored walls with neutral hues, like beige, white and light grey.
– Busy designs with clean lines
– Hefty window treatments with airier options that let natural light in.
“Less is more,” says Matthew Digati, professional real estate photographer and founder of BuffaloHomes.co. “Think about the basics that you need to fill a room and work to make sure they look presentable and clean. Allow enough open space for the possible buyer to imagine their own belongings.”
Staging A Living Room
There’s a reason that the living room is the most commonly staged room: It’s where everyone tends to congregate. Buyers will be looking to ensure that it’s a space where they’ll want to both relax and entertain.
Your staging efforts should work to open up the space and let in more natural light. Yet, they should also get buyers’ eyes to travel around the room. To do so, you should incorporate some minor props that insert pops of color to an otherwise neutral colored room.
“Depersonalize, but leave some degree of personality and life,” says Michael Shapot, associate real estate broker and head of the Shapot Team at Compass. “Fresh flowers and live plants are good. Books are great props, and quality art pieces providing pops of color create interest.”
Staging with the right props can make your living room feel lived in without the clutter of real life. It can also help you manipulate how the buyer views the space.
“A property should have the warmth of a home,” Shapot adds. “Furthermore, strategic placement of items can draw attention away from the less desirable features of a property.”
Staging A Master Bedroom
The master bedroom may not be staged as often, but staging it makes a difference for buyers. Remember, whomever purchases your house will be spending about a third of their day in the room, so it’s important that you make it seem inviting.
When staging the master, focus on furnishing the room with a luxurious yet cozy vibe. Think soft bedding, fluffy pillows and warm blankets. You want any buyer who enters to have to resist the urge to jump into bed and make themselves at home.
“In master bedrooms, the most important things to look for are the personal items of the people living there. Make sure to unplug or hide all wires and chargers,” says Digati. “Don’t underestimate how much a properly made bed can help either. Unwrinkled sheets and properly fluffed pillows will have a possible buyer thinking about how comfortable the room feels.”
It’s crucial to create the right atmosphere. However, it’s perhaps even more necessary to ensure that the bedroom – as well as every other room – appears crisp and clean.
“Open the windows for fresh air, even in cold weather,” says Dianne Rechel, REALTOR® with Realty Executives. “Clean your curtains, wash the window blinds and keep them open. Make sure to dust off all surfaces. Empty the dresser tops. Remove half the stuff from your closets. Dirty laundry goes in a closed hamper.”
Staging A Kitchen
As the heart of the home, the kitchen will be scrutinized regardless of whether your potential buyers are avid chefs. You want them to walk away thinking that the kitchen was spotless, spacious and well-organized. Therefore, you must begin with a good scrubbing.
“Go over the kitchen as if you were a health inspector,” says Nora Crosthwaite, REALTOR® and founder of Stagerie, an online staging consultation company. “Clean the oven, range (new drip pans) and the seal of the dishwasher door. Remove all magnets, notes, pictures, etc. from the front and sides of the refrigerator. Stow the trash can in the pantry.”
To make your kitchen feel roomier, Crosthwaite recommends: “Keep all flat surfaces (countertops, appliance tops and furniture) cleared off as much as possible. Kitchen counters should have very little on them to show that there is plenty of available workspace.”
Although you may typically leave some of your appliances on your countertops, you should be sure to remove them before shooting listing photos or showing the house. It may seem strange, but appliances can make your countertops appear cluttered.
Staging A Dining Room
Whether your home has a formal dining room or a casual dining nook, the size of your furniture will make a considerable difference in how buyers view the space. Therefore, if you choose to stage your dining room, you must make sure that the fit of your dining table and chairs is just right.
“Don’t overload the dining room table. Attempt instead to highlight the space itself,” says Digati. “Don’t attempt to squeeze eight chairs at a table that only fits six. It will make the possible buyer feel like the room is cramped. Instead, leave enough room so everything feels open and easy to move around.”
You certainly don’t want the dining room furniture to be so large that it makes the room feel tiny, but you also don’t want it to be too small for the space. If you choose a dining table that’s too small, the dining room will look empty. So, pay attention to dimensions, and add a rug to give the room a bit more personality.
Staging Outdoor Space
Your outdoor space may not technically be a room in your house but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it some attention before you start showing your property. Since it’s the first thing buyers see, the curb appeal of your home will play a significant role in their overall impression of your property.
“Stand at the street and take a hard look at your house,” says Rechel. “Does it look like something you might see in a magazine? Now is the time to paint, power-wash, re-attach that gutter, fix the broken windows, mow, clean up leaves.”
The front of your house should appear neat and inviting, so trim and prune as necessary. To further enhance your curb appeal, consider planting flowers. In the backyard, you should use your staging to highlight how the space can be used.
“If weather permits, set up an outdoor patio set to showcase your yard,” Rechel adds. “Outdoor firepits are trendy these days and easy to create.”
Staging Your Home Maximizes Its Potential
Staging brings out the best in your property and entices buyers to picture themselves living in your home. Whether you choose to hire a stager or do the work yourself, the cost can add up fairly quickly, which is why you may not want to stage your entire house.
That being said, staging is almost always worth it. Homes that are staged typically receive higher offers and sell faster than homes that aren’t. As Shapot explains, “We are selling aspirational living. And buyers are willing to pay a premium for that.”
Once you’ve staged your home, you’ll be ready to market it. For tips on how to enhance your marketing efforts, check out our guide for how to sell a FSBO house.