Any real estate professional will tell you that how you stage your home makes a difference in the home selling process and how potential buyers envision themselves as the future homeowners. Spaces that are inviting, neutral, and inviting lure buyers to your doorstep and give you the advantage as they make the rounds of open houses and showings.
Most real estate agents agree, that staging a home positively affects a buyer's perception of the property. They also report that a properly staged home can increase a buyer's offer, and in general, increase buyer interest.
What can you do to stage your home in such a way that gives you an advantage over others? Not every homeowner knows where to start when it comes to how to stage a house to sell, so here are our four home staging tips for sellers - and improving the odds of selling at a higher price.
Curb Appeal Matters
Staging a house doesn’t just apply to the inside of a home but the outside, as well. Before buyers schedule a formal showing, they often do an informal drive-by to check out the house and get a general feel for the neighborhood. You need to make sure you can get them through the door. If your home's landscaping looks old and tired, then potential buyers may conclude that the interior is just as lackluster. You do not need to hire a professional landscaper or spend a fortune to dress up the exterior. For a minimal investment, here are a few different home staging ideas:
- Update the entry way with a fresh coat of paint on the door, paint the mailbox, and replace the house numbers.
- Power wash problem areas such as concrete and driveways to remove built up grime.
- Add fresh mulch and colorful, seasonal flowers to landscaped areas.
- Trim dead or overgrown bushes and trees.
- Cut the grass on a regular schedule to keep it show ready.
Clean Up Before the Buyers Show Up
Once you get a potential buyer through the front door, you want to have your home in showcase condition. Taking these steps before your first showing will make subsequent showings easier and more successful:
- Declutter. To start with, declutter your home by removing as many unnecessary items as possible from your home. Getting ready to move is an excellent opportunity to donate unneeded items to charity and lighten the load for when you do move. For items you simply can't part with but do not need in the immediate future, rent a storage unit or borrow some space in a friend or neighbor's garage. Tackle those forgotten junk drawers and storage closets as well. When a buyer enters your home, they should feel free to explore all areas of the home and see its true potential.
- Organize. Once unnecessary items have been relocated to a new home or storage, take a long hard look at the remaining items in your cabinets, closets, and drawers. How can you make these spaces look organized and sleek?
- Deep-Clean. Once your home is decluttered and beautifully organized, dirt and grime are really on display. It's time to tackle those long-neglected corners, windowsills, and draperies. If you don't have time to clean every flat surface in your home, investing in a one-time professional home cleaning may be well worth the expense.
- Depersonalize. Lastly, remove personal items from your home. Family photos, trophies and personalized decor help a buyer envision how you live in the space. It does not help them envision their own lives in the home, which is your ultimate goal.
Create Well-Defined Spaces
One goal of home staging is to create well-defined spaces for each room. You may use the current dining room as a home office, but this will create confusion amongst potential buyers. Reorganize your home so that each space has a single purpose: dining, family, bedroom, etc. For spaces that have multiple purposes for your family, limit the chaos by redefining the space until the home is sold.
Decorate for Success
If your decorating style is a little out of date or too personalized, consider purchasing some inexpensive, neutral art pieces that will liven up a room while making a positive impression on the buyer. Sleek, modern pieces make a big impression without being overpowering. Remove decorative items that seem out of date or too personal. When it comes to decorating choices, keep things fresh and simple.
Remember, this process is called "staging" for a reason. It may seem like a great deal of effort initially, but in the end, your goal is to create a stage in which a potential buyer can imagine their life unfolding.
How Tactical Furniture Placement Can Improve a Home's Staging
Arranging furniture by zones helps establish flow that will make the rooms seem unified but functional. This is especially important in rooms with an open floor plan, as this helps to show the functionality and intended purpose of the room.
Older furniture that is worn or in poor shape can have a negative impact on the visual aesthetics of the room. As can oversized furniture pieces that seem to take up too much room and draw too much attention. Many homeowners will replace these furnishings with pieces that are properly sized and in good condition.
Unfurnished rooms that have uncertain purpose are best furnished with pieces that show their purpose (or at least, a purpose). This turns the room back into useable living space in the mind of the buyer. Extra rooms can be made into guest rooms, home offices or a hobby room. Whatever the purpose, it's important for the buyer to be able to visualize the room as functional and comfortable.
Arranging furniture with symmetry can make a space seem formal, while arranging furniture asymmetrically makes it seem less formal. Homeowners should pick the symmetry of the arrangement based on the intended function of the room.
Furniture can also be placed to establish focal points, which are important for aesthetic purposes. For example, arranging several chairs around the living room's fireplace (its focal point) can help draw attention to it. This gives the homeowner more opportunity to show off the fireplace. After pointing all chairs (and thus all eyes), to the fireplace, the homeowner can then put something decorative over the fireplace, like a large piece of artwork.
Use Paint For a Noticeable Difference
Painting a home’s interior walls can be an excellent way for homeowners to change the mood of a room without changing everything inside it. Homeowners can modernize their home just by updating the paint colors to something that is currently in style, and what’s more, some colors can even influence the price a home sells for—sometimes quite dramatically. When picking out paint colors, remember that less is more. Bright colors can be fun, but they can also be jarring to viewers, so it’s best to keep with neutral colors that can fit easily into any sort of setting to help with staging the home.
Using these tips for how to stage your home can help it attract buyers. When selecting tips to follow, remember that just one can help, but they’re best used in tandem with each other in order to get the full effect.