Updated: Feb 6
In today's market, houses are not sitting on the market for long. This can sometimes lull home sellers into thinking that maybe it's better to take their own pictures or forgo home staging.
But, there are only a few things that you can do as a home seller to get the biggest return on your investment and home staging is one of them.
Home staging is something we highly encourage all of our clients to invest in, because it can have such a dramatic impact on how the selling process goes.
Before we dive into the staging secrets, let's quickly go over why staging is so important.
5 Reasons You Should Stage Your Home:
While we go into more depth on this in our post on the 5 benefits of home staging, here's the short version:
Home staging helps your buyer imagine themselves living in the home.
Home staging can make your home appear larger.
Home staging can increase showings and open house turnouts.
Home staging can help your home sell faster.
Home staging keeps buyer's engaged for 8x longer than non-staged homes.
But, for those of you already sold on the value of home staging for making your home a magnet for potential buyers, let's talk about the specific home staging tactics you can use to create a buying frenzy!
1. Work On Your Curb Appeal:
You may not be thinking about your curb appeal these days - but your potential buyer is! In fact, it's the first thing they'll be thinking about when they walk up and the last thing they see after they tour the house!
So, get out there and spend some quality time sprucing up the front and backyards. Here are some things you can do:
Power wash the exterior, driveway and walkways
Clean windows, screens and shutters
Trim bushes, trees, and anything overgrown
Touch up any damaged areas, such as chipped paint, missing landscaping, broken fencing, etc.
With a little TLC, you can make that exterior really shine. Now that it's nice and clean, consider adding some home staging touches to really help your buyer imagine living there. Is there a small deck area? Put some comfortable seating where they can relax.
Also, consider adding some planters with greenery to warm it up. Don't forget to step up your landscaping game, too, by trimming all bushes and trees, refreshing areas where landscaping needs a boost and keeping grass nice and even. You can also use potted plants to draw attention to architectural details and distract from areas you don't really want people to focus on. We have seen great landscaping absolutely transform outdoor spaces, so hire professionals if you know you're not maximizing your home's potential.
For more details on how to improve your curb appeal, read this post.
2. Spruce Up Your Entryway:
Now that they're wowed by the exterior, set up the entryway to welcome them in and make them feel like home. Position furniture to make the entryway look spacious.
Imagine how someone might use the space and place furniture and decor accordingly. If there's enough room, put a console table against a wall with a mirror over it. If you have enough space, add more furniture to highlight the area and show buyers what it can really look like.
Roll out a nice rug, too, and visitors will feel like you've rolled out the red carpet for them.
3. Make Main Living Areas Look Spacious:
The living areas and family rooms might be where families spend the most time when they are home, so really spend some time setting up these spaces to show how a buyer might use them in real life.
Arrange furniture in a way that would make conversation natural, but don't pack them with furniture. Choose pieces that will still leave plenty of space to walk around and make the spaces seem large and bright.
Use neutral art to compliment the space, but not distract from the home. Place a few items on the mantel, too, such as candlesticks and smaller pieces of art. And, keep all tones neutral and inviting, such as beige and gray. If you incorporate color, keep to softer greens and blues as these have been shown to attract the most potential buyers.
4. Give the Kitchen Some TLC:
The kitchen is the room where people stay and talk the most, so take special care to make the kitchen look its best! Put away any appliances that are left out on the counters and that includes knives, coffee makers and things you use daily.
Then, purge cabinets of as much as you can. People will look everywhere, so don't just shove things behind closed doors and hope they don't see it!
Finish staging the area by setting tables with place settings. Add vases with fresh flowers or bowls with fresh fruit. Set up a cookbook on a cookbook stand by the stove with a new, clean pan on the oven that looks ready to use. Light a lightly scented candle on the island or a counter to warm up the space.
If you're looking to do more in-depth home improvements, such as a kitchen upgrade, read this post with home improvements that will increase your property value.
5. Set the Dining Room:
Many buyers imagine the long, lingering family dinners that they'll have in a future dining room, so play up on this dream and make the most of your space. Set the table like you would for a fancy dinner. Consider a centerpiece in the middle of the table and ensure that the chairs are in good condition and look attractive. Think about the shape of the table and if it maximizes the dining area.
Now is your chance to bring in the dishes and details you always wanted to see in the space, but may not have been practical for your everyday lifestyle.
6. Make Bathrooms Spa-Like:
While home decor trends come and go, one things that continues to remain the same is the desire for a spacious, calming, spa-like bathroom space. You want the bathrooms to bring the luxury.
Make each bathroom inviting, but particularly the bathroom in the primary suite. Set out fresh, rolled towels, candles, and toiletries in calming colors and beautiful containers.
7. Pay Attention To Rooms & Closets:
Think back to the best hotel you've ever stayed in. Picture that perfectly made bed, the subtle styling on the desk and the artfully placed decor like lamps and books.
Look at each bedroom space as an opportunity to tell a story about how the room could be used. If you're able to remove all of your own furniture, then set up spaces in each room to show the possibilities, such as a home office, a baby nursery, a guest bedroom, etc.
For closets, pack away as much of your belongings as possible and just hang a few items in each space to show what kind of clothing can go there. Pick clothes in a similar color palette as the rest of the home that are in good condition and would appeal to potential buyers. Use matching hangers to create a cohesive look.
8. Stage The Garage:
Don't forget this space! This is not the time to pack your garage with all of the things you've removed from the house.
Stage the garage with the same care as you have the rest of the home. Remove as much as possible, clean it thoroughly and then organize it to show how any built-ins, tool benches or wall hooks could be used.
9. Make The Backyard an Oasis:
Yup, they'll go out there, too. You may not use it very much, but take a look with a critical eye and freshen it up. Bring in a professional to help update landscaping, hang outdoor lights to create ambience, swap out old furniture for a nice, new set that will make people want to sit and talk for awhile.
If there's enough space, consider adding some touches for kids to attract families. Do you have pets? Clean out and update any pet areas and keep the area as clean as possible.
10. Deep Clean Everything:
We can't overstate this one. Your house has to be cleaner than clean.
Start by deep cleaning and that includes everything from the baseboards to the blinds. People are going to be looking at things you may not have noticed for ... years! So, deep clean it all and get your home sparkling!
We do encourage most of our sellers to hire this out while the house is actively being shown. Professionals have the tools and know-how to clean those hard-to-get areas that potential buyers will notice.
11. De-Clutter & Organize:
Nothing is off limits when someone is touring your home and thinking about buying it. They'll open cabinets and look behind things. They'll walk every room of the house. There's nowhere to stash the junk anymore. It's time to just get rid of it.
And, if you're not sure that you can get rid of enough, consider renting a small storage unit to move out anything that is cluttering the space or making the home seem too personal.
If you're hesitant to do this, just think about it this way: you're moving soon anyway. This will give you a major head start on packing. Plus, when it's moving day, you can just drive your truck over to the storage unit to load up. Professional movers will be happy to do this for you, too, so it'll only make the moving process easier.
It's so easy to think that our personal touches will not be a distraction to potential buyers, but they are. From family photos to religious or sports paraphernalia, it all has to go. The reason is simple: you do not want them to feel like they are in your house, you want them to imagine that they are in their future home, with their own things.
If you want to sell your home fast - de-personalize it completely.
There's always a reason to think that you should skip staging. When the market is slow, people want to save the money. When the market is hot, sellers say it'll sell anyway. While both may be true, we always see a return on the investment of staging for our clients and continue to recommend it.
After all, who doesn't want to see a bidding war break out on their beloved home? Create a space that buyers don't want to leave, with a clean, perfectly staged home and watch the offers roll in.
For more real estate tips, check out our blog or give us a call if you'd like to know what your home is worth: 916.524.9733.
Thanks for reading!