There are a number of things you can do to help ensure you receive the best offer when you’re ready to sell your home and “staging” your home is one of them.
What’s “home staging”?
The purpose of home staging is to present your home in the best possible light.
This can be done by using your existing furniture in new ways, swapping outdated pieces for show-ready ones, and/or decluttering your home’s outside area in order to focus buyers’ attention on your home’s features instead of any flaws it might have.
There are two ways to stage your home: you can do it yourself or hire a professional.
But how do you choose between the two?
To help decide what’s best for you, check out the following home staging tips, the benefits of staging your home and the cost of hiring someone else to do it for you.
9 Easy DIY House Staging Tips
1. Remove personal items
Bedrooms are often the most personalized rooms in the house. And why not? They’re yours after all!
But, your goal as a home seller is to appeal to as many prospective buyers as you can, so it’s time to depersonalize it.
Spaces should be as gender-neutral as possible so they can appeal to the widest possible audience. Last but not least, consider removing any other furniture besides the bed, nightstand, and dresser to make the room appear larger.
Of course, you knew that decluttering would make this list, right?
A simple way to stage your home is to focus on the space instead of your belongings.
Create space in your closets so they are at least one-third empty. Put out-of-season clothes in another place or ask someone to hold onto unused items.
Having trouble decluttering yourself?
Don’t sweat it. You can store things with companies like Clutter.com or Makespace.com for less than you might imagine.
Additionally, it’s easy to assume buyers won’t check out those places we’ve long tried to ignore, like that junk drawer full of rubber bands and expired coupons.
Nevertheless, when you’re staging a home, you need to be prepared for buyers to peek behind closed drawers and doors. Everything is fair game. Although it may be your home, they wonder if it can become theirs.
3. Smell that smell…
While your home is on the market, don’t cook foods with strong odors such as seafood or garlic bread. Instead, light candles with mild and pleasant scents like citrus and vanilla.
Stained and/or dirty carpets? Steam clean them.
Carpets beyond repair? Do the math and decide whether or not replacing the old carpet with new plush carpet or a hardwood floor would benefit you at the time of sale.
When you have pets, you might be accustomed to their scent, but one whiff of Snowball could toss that winning first impression out the door!
You might want to consider having your pets stay with a friend while your home is on the market. Either way, remove all signs of pets before showing a house. Get those food bowls up, move the litter box to the garage, and tuck away the stinky toys.
4. Deep clean
Baseboards, ceiling lights, kitchen appliances, windows, and every nook and cranny should be spotless.
You may think this is a minor house staging tip, but don’t underestimate the impact the first impression your home has on a buyer. If a buyer feels that a place is dirty, they won’t forget it.
Can’t put that much elbow grease into your cleaning? Professionals can do the job for anywhere from about $100 to $400.
5. Let in the light
The majority of buyers prefer homes with plenty of natural light. Take down heavy draperies and open the blinds. Sheer window coverings will hide an unappealing view while still letting in light.
Update any older fixtures and increase the wattage to the maximum safe level in each light fixture.
A good goal is 100 watts for every 50 square feet.
Do you need more light? Install lamps in any dark areas. Replacing outdated lampshades with white drum shades is a quick and easy fix.
6. Go neutral
Getting rid of brightly colored walls is another simple staging tip that will help you ensure your home appeals to a wide audience.
Paint your walls in sophisticated neutral colors. With a few coats of paint, dated spaces can be transformed into modern ones. Opt for popular shades like oatmeal for your living room or soft grey for your hallway.
7. Refresh the kitchen
Ideally, buyers want a clean, fresh and bright kitchen. The good news is, doing that doesn’t require a lot of money! It only takes a few small things to make a significant difference.
Are your kitchen cabinets a bit outdated? If you have time, update them with a few new coats of paint or a darker stain. You may have to strip them first, but it will likely be worth it in the end.
You can also update cabinets by buying new faces for doors and drawers. With the right hardware, such as brushed brass, polished chrome, copper, or bronze, you’ll see a dramatic difference.
Then, tidy up. Limit appliances on display to avoid the impression that your kitchen is small. Lastly, bring some life to the room with fresh flowers and wooden bowls filled with colorful fruit.
8. Refresh your bathroom(s)
Think luxury hotels and spas. Your bathroom can be transformed into a soothing space with a few subtle changes. Revive dingy tubs and tiles by regrouting the tile and recaulking the tub. Finish off the makeover by washing or updating your bathmat and shower curtain.
Also, nobody wants to see your toothbrushes and razors lying around! Make sure all personal items and toiletries are neatly stored under the sink, and use scented candles and fluffy white towels to set the mood.
9. Check your curb appeal
In terms of staging a house, the exterior matters just as much as the interior. The curb appeal of a home is important, and weeds in the front yard or a crumbling porch will turn buyers away in a hurry. Be sure not to let buyers pass you by before they even get into your home!
Keep your driveway and sidewalk clean as well as your yard. Make sure the exterior of your home receives some love by giving it a good once-over. Replace any old or chipped paint. While you’re at it, give that dull front door a facelift with a pop of color, a fresh mat, and some flowers sure to last through the season.
How much does it cost to have a house professionally staged?
As you can see, staging your home doesn’t have to break the bank! Some of the most important things mentioned above won’t cost you a penny. Bring in outside help if you’re not comfortable staging your home yourself, do not have the time, or want to make sure you maximize your house’s appeal.
According to HomeAdvisor, it should cost between $150 and $600 for a home stager to give you a written plan regarding what needs to be rearranged and what furniture needs to be brought in.
The cost of staging a home varies depending on its size. If you have already moved out and your home is vacant, monthly staging and furnishing costs are around $2,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home.
However, if you have good furniture and only need someone to rearrange and declutter your home, your costs are generally a flat $800.
How can staging a house benefit your sale
According to the National Association of Realtors, home staging reduces the time a home spends on the market for over half of sellers’ agents. And over 25 percent of buyers’ agents believe staging makes a home more attractive to buyers by 1–5%.
What does that number mean to you? In the case of a $250,000 home, even a 2% increase will add $5,000 to the buyer’s offer. You can put $5,000 in the bank if you handled the staging yourself without incurring any additional costs. If it cost you $3,000 to have a pro stage your home, then you’re keeping $2,000 more instead of the entire $5k.
If your agent foots the bill for the staging, then you keep the entire $5,000 and can put it towards your home purchase or tuck into your rainy day fund.
Bottom line, staging your home won’t guarantee you’ll get a greater offer, but it can help you stand out from your competition by making your home look move-in ready, optimizing your space, and adding a few extra touches that make a difference.