If you’re selling your home yourself and want to get the maximum selling price as quickly as possible, consider staging your home so that it looks its very best for real estate photos and home tours.
Why Should You Stage Your House?
Staging your home is a fantastic way to help your home sell without investing in expensive remodels or updates.
If you’ve ever seen real estate photos of an unstaged home, you may have wondered why the sellers didn’t bother cleaning up their house. Buyers then might wonder what else the homeowner hasn’t bothered to keep up with in the home.
Home staging is all about revealing the potential of your home.
The Basics Of Staging Your House
The basic idea of home staging is that you want a potential buyer to be able to imagine their family living in your home. You don’t want too many personal effects that make them feel like they’re walking through a stranger’s home.
At the same time, you don’t want the space to be so empty that they can’t imagine where they would put a couch or if a bed would fit in the space. It’s all about striking the perfect balance between the two.
For that reason, the first step of staging is to declutter. Ben Soreff, professional organizer at House to Home Organizing, suggests that you “start in the basement, attic or garage to make space to store items you aren’t using but are taking with you when you move, like keepsakes and, possibly, extra furniture.”
As a bonus, all of this decluttering will help make your future move easier and quicker.
Another thing to keep in mind when staging your home is that you want to create a light and bright space. Soreff says, “People want to see the light. Make sure to remove anything blocking the light. New curtains and a rug can make a room seem bigger.”
Be sure to fix anything that is visibly damaged or broken in your home. It might help to have a friend walk the space and make notes for you. Living somewhere every day makes you start to forget things that need to be fixed, but buyers will notice them right away. Having a friend provide fresh eyes and a new perspective is a big help.
Your home might have a lot of rooms to stage. It could seem overwhelming in the beginning, but the goal of staging each space is to highlight the selling point of each room. Here are some do-it-yourself staging tips, room by room.
Staging Tips By Room
For many potential buyers, the curb appeal of the home is the most important view. After all, only their closest friends and family will see inside the home. The whole neighborhood sees the facade. For this reason, it’s very important to clean up the front of your home.
Take some time to step back and assess your yard’s landscaping. Clean up any trees or bushes that need trimming, cut the grass and tidy up the flower beds. You might consider power-washing the exterior or the driveway for a fresh look.
Sacha Ferrandi, a real estate expert from Texas, really emphasizes the importance of staging a home’s front entry. “Curb appeal is everything. A few pots of fresh flowers can increase curb appeal while creating a warm welcome for prospective buyers,” suggests Ferrandi.
If your front door is damaged or scuffed, you might want to consider painting it. This is a simple, quick project that can brighten your whole facade.
Be sure to sweep off your porch and replace your door mat if it’s looking worn. You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Jenna Haefelin, owner of the home organizing business Spiff, knows that staging and decluttering your entryway is crucial. “Simple is the key! Don’t overcrowd with coats and shoes. It’s fine to leave a few – one coat per hook for staging.”
Families often bring multiple people to a showing. If they can’t get through the entryway, it’s going to be an automatic turn off. Make this space as open as possible.
The living room is one of the most important rooms in your home. Buyers want to be able to imagine their family enjoying the space regularly, so the staging is very important.
Think about where the photographer will stand to take the listing picture of this room and try to arrange the furniture to work that angle.
Assess your bookshelves and tabletops and see where you can pare down. Haefelin says, “Don’t overdo it. Little collections of tchotchkes create a cluttered look, and that’s the opposite of what you’re going for.” Plus, these are very personalized collections, and you want to remove those touches.
Be sure to open any blinds or curtains so the living room feels as bright and welcoming as possible.
Always keep the scale of your space in mind when deciding what furniture to leave and what pieces to store. Ferrandi recommends, “If the living room is not very large, try using smaller pieces of furniture to help the room appear larger.”
Kitchens can easily look cluttered and messy. Whether potential buyers love to cook or not, they’re still going to be concerned with counter space. Clean up as much as you can. According to Haefelin, “Keeping appliances out is fine as long as it doesn’t overcrowd the counter space. Choose the better-looking ones.”
Make sure your bathrooms are totally clean. It often looks best with the countertops cleared. Don’t have toiletries or toothbrushes sitting out. Replacing linens is ideal. But if that’s not in the budget, it’s better to do without than to display towels and bathmats that look dingy or worn.
Jody Wallace of Greylyn Wayne Interior Design and Home Staging suggests breaking up matching bedroom furniture sets. “Mix the old with the new, metallics with the matte jewel tones, or shaggy blanket textures with soft pillows. Make it interesting by adding multiple layers of textures and colors,” says Wallace.
In addition to decluttering your bedroom, declutter your closets, too. You want it to look like it can store a lot but not like it’s overflowing, crowded or messy.
According to Fibha Ahmed of Bayut Properties, too many people forget to stage their laundry rooms. “A dirty, messy laundry room can be as big a turn-off as any other untended room in the house. You should treat the laundry room like a selling feature, as it might not get you a sale, but it can certainly lose you one,” according to Ahmed.
Clean up your dirty laundry, put away the cleaning supplies and really just try to have an organized space during your real estate tours.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed thinking about cleaning your garage, but you don’t need to extreme clean the space to make a big impact. Haefelin says, “Garages should be cleared out but they don’t need to be pristine. Of course, bike racks and finished shelving can make all the difference, but as long as there isn’t junk and garbage piled up and a potential buyer can see the space, that’s good enough!”
Just like in your garage, if your basement is used as a storage space, clean it up as much as possible. You don’t need fancy storage systems but want the space to feel open enough that potential buyers can see its potential.
Also beware of any smells in the basement. Run a dehumidifier if necessary to have the space in top shape.
Ferrandi always recommends staging backyards in a way that suggests a party is about to happen. “This way, when showing the home, you can spark a conversation with buyers in order for them to visualize themselves throwing a family function or hosting summer BBQs.”
Also be sure to clean any pet waste out of your lawn. This could be a big turn off to any buyers, especially those who don’t like pets.
Staging your home is a great, budget-friendly way to attract more buyers and potentially increase the selling price of your home. Following these tips should make staging your home a doable do-it-yourself project.