Lights. Camera. Action. You’re ready to put your home on stage. Your listing agent has scheduled an open house, inviting prospective investor to view your home. Staging your home helps set the foundation for a successful showing that can turn browsers into buyers—and competitive offers.
Home staging is the process of preparing a home for sale to make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers. This includes tidying up, decluttering, and making minor repairs and updates. Staging uses furniture and accessories in ways that create a warm and inviting atmosphere that buyers can picture themselves living in. In fact, a survey by the National Association of Realtors found that 81% of buyer’s agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home, and nearly a quarter of respondents said: “staging may help buyers look past property faults.”
While many people hire professional home staging services, there are some simple things you can do to stage a home yourself.
Declutter and Clean
Cleaning and decluttering your home shows potential buyers that it’s organized and well-maintained. It conveys that you have taken good care of the property and that it is in move-in condition.
You want people to focus on your home, not your stuff. Reassess all your rooms, countertops and tables, and remove magazines, knickknacks, supplies and other items cluttering your spaces. Clean out and organize your cabinets, pantry, and closets. Buyers will be opening all those doors to ensure there will be enough space for all their belongings.
Use the Keep, Donate, Toss method to decide what stays and what goes:
● Keep: Keep only the items you need and love, and pack them away for your move
● Donate: Donate gently used items to charity to give them a second life
● Toss: Get rid of anything broken, unused or unwanted
Give your home a deep clean, including the windows, carpets and appliances. Make your tiles shine, dust moldings, and polish furniture. Get in the corners and under the rugs. To free up your time to focus on other aspects of your move, consider hiring a professional cleaning team who will have the products and equipment to get this big job done quickly.
Staging your home means letting go emotionally to what has made it uniquely yours during your time living there. You want homebuyers to envision themselves in your space.
Remove photographs, mementos, collectibles, your child’s trophies, and other personal items that could distract buyers from your home’s positive features and amenities. Pack them away for now to display and enjoy later in your new home.
Remove Clunky Furniture
While your oversized couch may be super comfortable and well-situated for watching TV, consider how it will look to a prospective buyer. Remove or reposition clunky and too-large furniture. Rooms should feel open and airy, and oversized furniture can make a space seem cramped. Less furniture creates a more spacious look and allows people to move more freely around the room.
Sometimes, simply placing furniture against a wall will open up the space, but if that doesn’t work, you may want to temporarily put your furniture in storage. If the lack of furniture makes a room look too stark and sterile, rent or borrow a few smaller pieces that properly fit the scale and layout of the room.
Improve Your Lighting
A well-lit home can appear welcoming and roomy. Brighten your home by ensuring that every light fixture and lamp has working light bulbs, preferably those that emit a warm white light. Consider adding lamps to poorly lit corners and mirrors that reflect light.
And don’t forget about letting natural light in. Make sure all your windows are clean and streak-free, and replace dark curtains with sheer white window coverings.
Don’t Forget About Curb Appeal
You’ve heard the phrase, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And that certainly applies to an open house. People will be judging and evaluating your home as soon as they pull up to it. Look at your yard and home’s exterior as if you were a buyer.
Make sure your lawn is healthy and well-maintained. Trim trees and bushes. Clean up debris throughout your front and back yard. Edge walkways and add mulch to garden beds.
Give your front door a fresh coat of paint. Add some flower-filled containers to your entrance, hang a wreath on your front door, and greet buyers with a new welcome mat.
Consider What the Modern Buyer is Looking For
While you don’t have to do extensive or expensive renovations, keep in mind what today’s homebuyers may be looking for—and what they may be willing to pay top dollar for. New siding, an energy-efficient HVAC system, an inviting outdoor space, and hardwood floors are a few things that may be top-of-mind for potential buyers.
Some buyers look for homes that have projects, while others prefer move-in ready. Your real estate agent is a great resource and can help you understand the market and which high return on investment (ROI) projects you may want to complete pre-sale. You may also want to hire a home inspector who can identify repairs that could be required to pass inspection when you do decide to sell. If you decide to upgrade or renovate your home before listing, inquire with your lender about using a home equity loan to help fund your projects.
While you may be anxious to put your home on the market as soon as possible, consider the benefits of staging it prior to your open house. It can be a worthwhile investment that will make your home more appealing to buyers, plus you may be able to sell your home faster and at a premium price.