When it’s time to sell your home, you’re naturally going to want to sell it as quickly as you can, and for the highest price you can get. And in a tight real estate market when other homeowners are trying to do the same it can help to stage your home to help set yourself apart.
Home Staging: What is It?
No matter how the real estate market is doing, there is always competition for buyers. Sometimes it favors sellers, other times buyers.
When a home is being shown, the buyer should feel immediately attracted to it and ideally get a sense of what it will feel like to live living there. If they feel that it will make their life better in some way, home staging can be the nudge that pushes them to make an offer on the home.
Your odds of creating a favorable impression will be increased if you understand the needs and desires of potential buyers who tend to buy in your neighborhood. For example, the needs and desires of people buying a condominium in a 55+ community will differ to those who want to live near a school.
Basically, home staging is the art of styling your home for a buyer’s market. Your home can be staged to attract buyers and sell for the best price by using a few key strategies.
First appearances matter
Even though potential buyers are aware that your home isn’t brand new, they still want to see a space that looks like it just came off the shelf and exudes care, quality, and cleanliness.
Experts have learned that staged homes sell more quickly and for more money than unstaged ones, so the time and small expense put into the process can definitely result in a profit at closing.
1. Amp up the curb appeal
- ⬥Landscaping: Lush landscaping can increase a home’s value when it comes time to sell. So start mowing, fertilize all of your plants and turf, weed your garden thoroughly, and add some seasonal color to your flowerbeds.
- ⬥Garden: Apply the same staging eye you used indoors to any outdoor accessories. Large, oddball sculptures can be unsettling, and an excessive number of garden ornaments can create clutter rather than whimsy. Also make sure that water features are functional and clean because their attractive appearance and relaxing sound will enhance the appearance of a space.
- ⬥Pack up: Place all sporting goods, gardening tools, and extra furniture in storage; coil and rack hoses in a tidy manner.
- ⬥Touch up: Touch up trim and other exterior surfaces as necessary and repair any loose or broken shutters and ornamentation.
- ⬥Tidy up: You can improve your home’s appearance by having operable, sparkling lighting fixtures and clean windows. Sweep away grass clippings and other debris, and clean up any driveway oil stains.
- ⬥First impressions: Last but not least, make a grand and welcoming entrance with a neat doormat, freshly painted door and trim, polished hardware, and a few pots of vibrant flowers on the front porch.
2. Exterior home staging
- ⬥Drive by: Take a notepad and a pen, get in your car, and drive past the outside of your house. Which do you find more appealing: a disorganized collection of family bikes and sports equipment strewn across the lawn, or an inviting, well-kept façade? Make a list of the things that need to be removed, cleaned up, fixed, and repainted.
- ⬥Inspect: Then, conduct an interior tour of your home, pausing from your normal routine to identify the key features in each space and making plans for finishing touches to bring out the best.
- ⬥Check out the competition: If you’ve been looking for a home yourself, do some research while touring open houses and model homes. Keep an eye out for the staging, including what is displayed and what is not, the amount of furniture being used, and the way architectural details are brought to light.
3. Interior home staging
- ⬥Clear clutter: To begin, clear out the personal clutter, including all paperwork, photos, and collections. Buyers need to picture themselves in the space, and their style may differ from yours. Also, they could be reminded of their own mess when they see yours, potentially creating a negative impression on your home.
- ⬥Consider the flow: Make sure the furniture has the right balance. Each room should have just enough furniture to suggest the proper scale and capacity, but not so much that it obstructs traffic flow or hides architectural details.
- ⬥Tone it down: “Neutralize” walls and floors to provide a backdrop for the buyer’s imagination. Install low-grade tan wall-to-wall carpet in place of patterned wall coverings, and paint the walls an off-white color.
- ⬥Tidy up: Clean everything! For a clean, inviting appearance, make sure that every surface in your home is sparkling, including windows, floors, and cobweb hideaways in the ceiling. Soap is, after all, not a budget buster!
- ⬥Take a whiff: Address and eliminate pet, cooking, smoking, and other odors as part of your cleaning program. You should never underestimate the buyer’s sense of smell, because anything that is unpleasant or even the slightest bit memorable will outweigh everything you do visually.
- ⬥Fix it: Touch up interior trim, fix or replace broken hardware, and make sure all light fixtures are spotless and filled with fresh bulbs.
- ⬥Minimize artwork: limit your wall decor to a few, larger pieces while maintaining a subtle, neutral appearance (this is not the time for dramatic artistic statements). Add a few well-placed mirrors as well to enlarge the room and reflect its best features.
- ⬥Go light on accessorizing: Keep the “rule of threes” in mind when you’re condensing your collection. Adding a few plants to the main living areas can also bring some much-needed life.
- ⬥Clear garage: Make sure your garage can be seen. Garages are a huge selling point for new homeowners. Dust surfaces, sweep floors, remove cobwebs from corners, and pack up any lingering project materials and tools.
Finally, keep in mind that, even though the market will be the primary factor determining the price and the timeframe in which you are able to sell the property if you are trying to sell a house quickly, staging a house can yield huge rewards.