Home staging is the process of preparing your home for listing. The goal of any seller is to sell their home quickly and for the highest possible price. A staged home will appeal to many buyers and will therefore lead to a quicker, higher priced sale more often than an un-staged home. Home staging can be as simple as rearranging and refreshing existing furnishings and décor in a way that will highlight your homes best features. Some home staging projects include major home renovations. No matter the extent of the work, or the size of the budget, the intent of home staging is to create a home that most buyers can see themselves living in.
Our Expert Stager, Michele Ketcham, has compiled a list of DIY staging tips. Here are 10 tips to get you started.
Do-It-Yourself Staging Tips
1. Declutter, declutter, declutter:
Let’s face it, we all have too much stuff. Decluttering, downsizing, and organizing each room in your home, including closets and storage spaces, is always the first step in preparing a home for listing. Make a plan, tackling one room at a time. Decide what items you will take with you to your new home. Designate a staging area for unwanted items to be donated, sold, or discarded. Remember, the more stuff you move, the more costly your move will be.
2. Sell the storage space:
Efficient and well-planned storage space is at a premium when it comes to prospective buyers. Removing excess from storage spaces will make those spaces appear more spacious and appealing. Pack and store out-of-season clothing. Clean out what you don’t need from under sinks. Go through your kitchen pantry and toss expired food. Donate kitchen gadgets and items that you never use. The added space from all this decluttering will show off the ample storage space and make your home more desirable.
3. Good old-fashioned elbow grease:
That’s right. It may not be glamorous, but good old-fashioned elbow grease goes a long way in selling a home. From the buyer’s perspective, a clean home is also a home that was cared for and well-maintained. Every window, floor, baseboard, countertop, appliance, fixture…the list goes on and on…needs to sparkle! If you have the time and energy, go for it! Otherwise, it may be worth every penny to hire a professional cleaning service to do the deep cleaning for you.
4. Lighten and brighten:
Exterior and interior lighting are equally important when staging your home. Exterior fixtures should provide adequate lighting in regard to safety. Make sure all sidewalks, pathways and entryways are well-lit in the event of evening showings. Additional exterior lighting is a great way to add curb appeal to a front porch, tree or architectural feature. Interior lighting should make a home feel warm and welcoming. Ambient, task and accent lighting all add to the appeal and mood of a room. Turn on interior lights to cast a warm glow for those evening showings!
5. Furniture and accessories:
Most homes have too much furniture, which makes a room look smaller and more cluttered. When staging your home, you want to create the illusion of spaciousness, no matter the size of the room. You may need to remove about half of the existing furnishings and rearrange the remaining furniture so it highlights the desired focal point. Decide whether you want to move the extra furniture to your new home. If so, store it in an off-site storage unit. Donate or sell extra furniture you decide you don’t need.
Less is more when accessorizing a staged home. Opt for a couple large items of impact per room versus many smaller grouped knickknacks. The same goes for accessorizing walls. One large print will make a room appear bigger than several smaller prints grouped together.
An important concept to remember when staging a home with existing furnishings is the concept of depersonalization. The intent of home staging is to make the home appeal to as many prospective buyers as possible. To do that, we suggest depersonalizing. We recommend removing personal taste from your décor so buyers can envision their belongings and themselves in your home. This can be especially difficult for a seller still living in the listed home. Some items you will want to pack and store are:
7. Kitchens and bathrooms:
Prospective buyers love updated kitchens and bathrooms. The kitchen is still the heart of the home and command central for many buyers. Additionally, many buyers look for multiple bathrooms that are well maintained. Sellers could potentially spend a lot of money renovating these spaces to entice buyers. However, decluttering, organizing, cleaning and a gallon of paint (or two) can go a long way in the kitchen and bath if budget is a concern. In most cases, you will get back any money you put into improving the functionality of your kitchen and bathrooms so plan wisely.
8. Stage a home office:
Given the times, we would be remiss if we didn’t include staging a home office. Many prospective buyers have recently been forced to work from home indefinitely. If your listed home does not include a dedicated office or work space, now is the time to be creative and turn a cozy corner into a work space. Find a quiet area with appropriate outlets/phone/computer access. Stage the area with a table or desk, comfy chair, shelves or small bookcase, desk or floor lamp, and laptop. A folding screen could lend visual privacy if needed. Be creative and have fun!
9. Curb appeal:
Curb appeal is the first impression a prospective buyer has of your home so make it a good one! Curb appeal includes the home exterior, the landscape, the front and side yards, the driveway and walkway leading to your front door. The house exterior needs to be welcoming and appealing so buyers want to come inside. Here are a few items you can do to increase your home’s curb appeal:
10. Not everyone loves your pet:
Not all buyers have pets, and some are allergic to them. Prior to a showing, remove all indications of your pet. Store food dishes, leashes, pet toys and pet beds in a bin stored out of the way. Vacuum areas where pet hair has accumulated. Clean and sanitize any areas where accidents occurred. Use air freshener where needed. Clean up after your pet outside since may prospective buyers like to walk the property. Bring your pet with you, or have a friend or relative pet sit during the showing.
And lastly, give your pet lots of hugs and treats once you are all back together!
You want your home to look its best before listing and presenting it to prospective buyers. These Do-It-Yourself staging tips represent a small portion of what goes into preparing and staging a home for sale. The intent is to give you a few ideas to get you started on your way to selling your home. Remember, hard work pays off! We wish you all the best!!
-Michele Ketcham, Home Stager & Redesign Consultant