Get easy home staging tips to help you sell your house for top dollar. Staging your home can help your sell your house faster and for more money.
You might also be interested in this post on getting your home ready to sell.
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Home Staging Tips
Staging your home is a great way to help it sell faster and for more money.
Most likely you’re in the process of selling your home to buy another one. Think about the houses that you’ve seen so far.
Which ones are the most attractive? It’s probably the ones that have been staged, either professionally or by the homeowners.
Staged homes give a good impression because they indicate a level of care and attention from the homeowner.
Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do. We staged our home and we were under contract after only 4 days. You can do it too! Here’s what we did.
You know what I’m about to say if you’ve read any of my other posts on moving and selling. But I really believe that decluttering is the most important thing that you can do to sell your house.
People need to be able to see your house, not your stuff. Don’t believe me? Look through the listings on Realtor.com. Which listings are the hardest to look at? It’s the houses that are over-decorated and have stuff everywhere.
Most likely, the buyers’ first impression of your home will be through the photos online. The buyers need to be able to see your house.
A decluttered home looks cleaner and gives a feeling of a well-maintained home. A messy, cluttered home says that if you can’t be bothered to pick up before the photos, you probably weren’t bothered to properly maintain your home either.
If you want to get top dollar when selling your home, declutter like your life depends on it.
Remove decor from walls and shelves. Remove excess furniture from rooms. Make your home feel as big as possible.
Every single countertop should be as empty as possible. Put away all small appliances.
The same goes for bathroom toiletries. Put them all away. You want your home to feel like an Airbnb or a high-end hotel.
Closets are another place to declutter. Pack away clothing that isn’t in season. It will just be less to pack when it’s time to move.
A house that is full of stuff looks like it’s too small and may turn away buyers.
If you have time, neutral walls and decor will help you sell your house faster. Neutral walls help the buyer envision their own furniture and decor in the space.
Plus, after the stress of moving and buying a home, who wants to paint right away?
I tried to neutralize my home as much as possible but ran out of time for a few spots. In those rooms, I added neutral bedding instead. It gives your eye a place to rest.
Remove all personal decor like photos, name signs, diplomas, etc. Also, consider removing taste-specific decor.
You want people to see your home, not wonder who you are. It also makes it easier for the buyers to envision themselves in your home.
Cleaning is another important thing to do.
A clean house feels like it’s well cared for. It feels like you can move right in and not have to spend hours scouring the tub before you would want to shower.
Your house can have flaws and defects, but if it’s clean, it’s going to look a lot more attractive to buyers.
Make sure that your house looks amazing when people drive up to see it. Repaint your front door if needed and make sure that the grass is freshly mowed. Weed any flower beds.
If your doorknob is old, now is a good time to change it out. They’re pretty inexpensive and most doorknobs can be changed out in less than 10 minutes.
We also added pretty flowers to the front entry and a cute doormat.
Let the Light In
Remove all drapery where possible. If needed for privacy, be sure to open the curtains as wide as possible. No one wants a dark, dreary home. Natural light makes people feel happy and hopeful.
I’m looking at homes in Florida (the sunshine state) and I’m always shocked at how many places have the curtains drawn shut. Simply opening the curtains would do wonders for these homes.
Adding more lighting was cost-prohibitive in our basement, so we added a few lamps, opened the blinds, and added a light-colored rug. It made a huge difference.
We also added motion-sensor lights to the dark stairway to make it feel safer.
Make sure that every room has adequate lighting and that all of the bulbs match in temperature.
If you’re not sure what that means, most light bulbs are either warm or cool. Warm lights give off a slightly yellow light and cool bulbs give off a blue light.
Most rooms benefit the most from warm lights because they feel warm and cozy. Cool lighting can feel too cold and industrial.
When choosing warm light bulbs, look for soft white. (Cool bulbs are called daylight.)
However, I actually like cool lighting in spaces like garages and laundry rooms. My craft room has cool bulbs, which just give an overall clean, bright look. It’s not a room that needs to be cozy, though.
Don’t use cool light bulbs in small spaces like hallways, closets, or bathrooms. The lighting feels too harsh.
Every Room Needs a Purpose
Does anyone else have a room without a purpose? Our room happened to be one of the prettiest. It was a nice room, but it just ended up accumulating junk all the time since it was next to the garage.
We made it into a sitting room by bringing in chairs from our living room.
Another idea was to make it into an office space. With so many people working from home now, showing a room as an office is a great idea.
You don’t want buyers wondering what to do with a weird room. Give them some kind of an idea for how they could use the space.
Add Life to Every Room
If you pay attention to magazine photos, you will notice that there’s always some sign of life in every photo. It can be plants, shoes by a seat, an open book, food in the kitchen, etc.
You want the same feeling, but a bit more subtle. Too much “life” will just look messy.
Add plants to every room. Fake is okay.
Before the showing, I went to the grocery store and grabbed a colorful bouquet to sit on the dining room table. We also added a bowl of lemons to the kitchen island.
We also bought several potted plants to place around the outdoor areas.
Tell a Story
People buy homes because they fall in love. Help them fall in love with your home by showing them how they will use it.
You don’t have to go overboard. It used to be the thing to set your table with your fanciest dishes, but that would just look weird in most homes.
We went a bit simpler.
We added wood in the firepit and smores sticks on a nearby bench to let them envision evenings by the firepit.
Towels on the chaise lounges made the pool look like you could just jump right in.
A picnic table on an outdoor table made it look ready for dinners outside.
Inside, I kept it more subtle. Crisp white towels made our small bathrooms look luxurious.
Nice bedding helps you imagine crawling into bed. (This must have worked a bit too well, because every time we came to check on the house, I could tell that people had been sitting on the beds…)
Smells are one of the most powerful senses that we have. We make strong connections with smells based on our experiences.
I recently stayed at an Airbnb and the smell reminded me of being pregnant with my son and having morning sickness. It was such a strong feeling that my stomach actually hurt. By the way, my son is 17 years old and that smell still made me feel sick years later.
While your house is on the market, it’s very important to minimize smells as much as possible. Avoid cooking stinky food, make sure that your house doesn’t smell like your pets, and keep up with your laundry.
Most advice tells you to not use the plugin air fresheners, but I did. We chose a scent that smells like fresh laundry throughout the house. Who doesn’t love fresh laundry?
If you clean before a showing, make sure that your cleaning products aren’t overwhelming. Use Method cleaning supplies if you have them. They smell nice and are gentle.
Tips for the Day Photos Are Taken
We had photos taken about a week before the house went on the market. This gave us a good chance to finish any repairs and see what we still needed to work on.
- Only concentrate on what will show up on photos. Your house should be clean, but it doesn’t need to be spotless.
- When you think it’s ready, go around and take photos of everything with your cell phone. (Be sure to take them in landscape orientation.) This is a great way to see what needs to be tweaked. Sometimes seeing a 2D version can point out what you eyes can’t see on their own.
- Unless you have amazing closets and tilework, stuff can be stashed in there for the photos. (Ask your realtor first though.) This gave us extra time to get rid of stuff between the photos and the first showing.
- Plan to be out of the house for several hours. I ended up taking my kids and the dog to a park for some fun.
- Keep it simple. We added a lot of the details for the showings, but not for the photos.
Good luck selling your house!
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