Staging Secrets for a Quick Sale
According to the National Association of Realtors, staging a home prior to listing it can result in a faster and more profitable sale. (1) The following tips can help you get your home “show ready” prior to hitting the market. These easy and cost-effective ideas will help your house look its best—and help buyers visualize living there. Even if you’re not currently in the market to sell, you can use these tactics to breathe new life into your existing home decor.
1. REMOVE CLUTTER Decluttering is typically the first thing we tell clients to do to prepare their home for sale. Decluttering is the act of removing excess “stuff” from your home to make it appear clean and spacious. Overflowing closets and cluttered countertops can make your house feel small and cramped. In contrast, sparsely-filled closets and clear countertops will make your home appear larger and assure buyers that there will be plenty of room to store their belongings. Don’t neglect drawers, cupboards, and even your refrigerator in your decluttering efforts. Serious buyers will check out every nook and cranny of your home, so pack up anything you don’t use on a daily basis and store it off-site. Make sure any items that remain are clean, tidy, and well organized. The good news is when it comes time to move, a large portion of your packing will be done!
2. DEEP CLEAN AND DEODORIZE From carpets to bathrooms to appliances, having a clean home is a MUST. If you’ve ever checked into a dirty hotel room, you can imagine how buyers can be turned off by a home that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned. If you have a large home or are short on time, you may want to invest in a professional cleaning service. And if you have carpet, we generally recommend you rent a steam cleaner or hire a company to clean your carpets for you. In addition to cleaning, it’s equally important to neutralize odors in your home that can be off-putting to buyers, especially pet smells and cigarette smoke. If the weather allows, open your windows and let in the fresh air. Empty the trash frequently, and especially before a showing. Avoid cooking any strong-smelling food such as fish or heavy spices. You may need to clean (or remove) drapes and upholstery if odors are particularly strong. Try to keep your home in a clean, show-ready condition while it’s on the market. You never know when a potential buyer will want to drop by for a viewing.
3. DEPERSONALIZE Your family photos and personal mementos are often your most treasured possessions. For many of us, they are what make a house a home. However, buyers will have a hard time envisioning themselves living in a place if it feels like YOUR home. Pack up any items that are personal to you and your families, such as photos, books, children’s artwork, travel souvenirs, and religious items. Collectibles and excessive knickknacks can be distracting to buyers. Instead, keep your decor items minimal and generic to appeal to the largest number of buyers.
4. NEUTRALIZE YOUR COLOR PALETTE Along those same lines, bold color choices may not appeal to all buyers. By incorporating a neutral color palette throughout your home, buyers can better visualize the addition of their own furniture and decor, which may contrast with your current color scheme. But don’t limit yourself to white and beige. Incorporating popular fusion mineral colors (blue-gray or muted pewter) can add a touch of modern sophistication to your decor.
If your sofa is worn, stained, or has a bold pattern, consider purchasing a neutral-colored slipcover. Dated or overly busy window coverings should be taken down or replaced. Instead, bring in tasteful pops of color with throw pillows and accessories.
5. INCREASE YOUR CURB APPEAL You only get one chance to make a first impression. Walk around your home and look for any neglected areas that might seem like “red flags” to buyers, such as missing roof shingles or rotted siding. Trim trees and shrubs if needed, and make sure your lawn and flower beds are well maintained. Add some colorful flowers to your front beds and/or flower boxes to brighten up your landscaping. Make sure the exterior of your home is as clean as the interior. This can often be accomplished with a simple garden hose. But if your siding, walkway, or driveway is stained or dingy, you may want to rent a pressure washer.
Thoroughly wash windows and screens, and remove and store dark solar screens if you have them. Open shutters, curtains, and blinds, which will not only make your house look more inviting from the outside, it will brighten the inside. Consider a fresh coat of paint on your front door, trim, and shutters. And small, cosmetic improvements like new house numbers, a colorful wreath, and a clean front doormat can have a big impact.
6. FRESHEN KITCHENS AND BATHS Kitchens and bathrooms will show better and appear larger if all items are cleared from the countertops, except for one or two decorative pieces. You should have already packed up non-essentials during your decluttering process, and the remaining items should be neatly stored in pantries and cupboards. If your cabinets are dingy or outdated, adding a fresh coat of paint and new hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to make them modern and bright. Consider purchasing new shower curtains, bath mats, and towels for the bathrooms and new dish towels for the kitchen.
7. SET THE TABLE Buyers often imagine hosting family gatherings in their new home, and the dining room plays a large role in that vision. If your dining room chairs are stained or outdated, you may want to recover them or use slipcovers. In most cases, an imperfect table can be camouflaged with a neutral and stylish tablecloth. Be sure the table is centered underneath the chandelier and on the area rug if you’re using one. If your dining room is small, remove all other furniture and leave only four chairs. Dress up the table using nice tableware and cloth napkins or a table runner and centerpiece. For a long table, try lining up a series of small vessels down the middle.
8. REARRANGE FURNITURE Start in your living room and think about what you want to emphasize (and de-emphasize) about the space. For example, do you have a beautiful fireplace or a stunning view? If so, arrange the furniture with that focal point in mind. Use a symmetrical seating arrangement to create a cozy conversation area adjacent to the focal point. If the room is small, consider removing some of the furniture to make it feel larger, especially oversized pieces. That includes oversized television sets unless it’s a designated media room. Pulling furniture away from the wall can make the room feel more spacious, and placing your largest furniture piece in the far-left corner (as opposed to near the entry) can create the illusion of a larger space. For small bedrooms, remove all the furniture except the bed, bedside tables, and a dresser.
If it’s a large room, add one or two chairs and a table to create a seating area. Place lamps on the bedside tables and seating area if you have one. Make sure each space in your home has a clearly defined purpose. For example, if you’ve been using an extra bedroom as a catch-all storage space, stage it as a guest room or office instead. Turn an awkward alcove into a workstation or a reading corner. Help buyers imagine how they could use the space themselves.
9. LIGHTEN UP Lighting can have a drastic impact on the look and feel of a home. Few buyers seek out a dark house; most prefer one that’s light and bright. Make sure windows are clean and open curtains and blinds to let in the maximum amount of daylight.
10. HIGHLIGHT YOUR BACKYARD’S BEST FEATURES While your home’s interior often takes center stage, don’t forget about staging your home’s outdoor areas to help buyers imagine how they could utilize the space. Even a small patio can become a selling feature with the addition of a cafe table and chairs. Add a tray of plates and coffee cups to help buyers envision a peaceful breakfast on the back porch. Place chairs and wine glasses around an outdoor fire pit or include colorful beach towels on chairs by the pool.
1. National Association of Realtors –