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A little time and money spent staging your home is an investment that can really pay off. Following my 10 Home Staging Tips can help make your home irresistible to potential buyers.
Tis the Season
It’s June! And you know what that means, right? Picnics and barbeques. Lazy days at the pool, beach, or lake. Road trips, reunions, and vacations.
But for many people, summer is also house selling season, an adventure that can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.
Believe me, I know from experience! In the not quite four decades since I married my husband, I’ve had more than twenty addresses in eight different states. That means I have sold a lot of houses!
My 10 Home Staging Tips follows the same strategy I’ve used to help stage my own homes for sale over the years. Using them will require a bit of time on your part and possibly a little cash, but if you want to sell quickly and get the best possible price, staging your home is definitely worth the effort.
So, let’s get to it! Here are my 10 Home Staging Tips!
#1 – Make a Good First Impression
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase, “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.”
It’s true in life but it’s also true for home sales. Most buyers will form a first impression of your home before they even walk in the front door. That’s why making sure your home has as much curb appeal as possible is probably the most important of all my 10 Home Staging Tips.
How do you do that?
Make sure your outdoor planters are free of weeds, that the porch and walkways are swept, and that the grass is cut. During the summer months, plant flowers in the outdoor beds and add some colorful flowerpots to the porch. (If you need some tips, check out my post about Flower Pot Ideas from a Master Gardener)
And if you have a porch, put a rocking chair or bench on it. Nothing says “welcome home” like an inviting space to sit and rest your feet.
#2 – Clear The Clutter, And The Counters
I don’t care how tidy you are, clutter happens in every home. But clutter can be a big turn-off to buyers, so it’s important that tables, countertops, and other flat surfaces neat and clutter-free.
In the kitchen, stow the toasters, coffee pots, and other small appliances in cabinets. The same goes for your collections and knickknacks. In the bathroom, put cosmetics, toothpaste, and toothbrushes, pills, etc. away in drawers. Take books, eyeglasses, and personal items off the nightstands.
Also, limit the number of family photos, memorabilia, or personal collections that are visible to the buyers.
When you’re staging a home for sale, keep in mind that you’re really trying to create an atmosphere that looks like nobody actually lives there, but they could. When it comes to selling a home, a “lived-in look” is not a mark in your home’s favor.
#3 – Clean the Closets
Potential homebuyers are always concerned about storage. Getting rid of unnecessary items or even packing away off-season clothes will make your closets look larger.
Pro tip: hanging clothing according to color also makes your closet look roomier and more organized. If you leave sweaters or other clothing on open shelves, stack them by color too.
#4 – Clean Everything
Make sure your home is sparkling clean for potential buyers. Carpet stains, grout stains, furniture stains, or any stains are a big turn-off for buyers.
Make sure you clean the house thoroughly before showings, taking special care with the kitchen and bathroom. It also may be a good idea to bring in a professional to clean the carpets or upholstery.
#5 – Furniture: Less is More
While you’re showing your home, it might be a good idea to pare down your furniture. If you’ve got four side tables in your living room, store two of them until the house sells. Likewise, having only one nightstand in a bedroom instead of two can make the room look larger.
There was a trend home staging for a while that said to push furniture up against walls to increase the impression of space. Honestly, I think that’s a terrible idea. It just makes the rooms look odd and unlivable.
Potential homebuyers are trying to mentally imagine themselves living in the house. Help them do so by placing a small amount of attractive furniture into cozy and inviting-looking groupings, with traffic patterns that are clear.
#6 – Adopt A Neutral Palette
Like most people, I love color. But my favorite colors may not be your, and when it comes to home staging that can be a problem.
When preparing to sell your home, try to keep furnishings, accessories, and soft goods such as towels and bedding fairly neutral. Or at least limit your palette to a just few pops of color in a mostly neutral background.
Again, you’re trying to create a space that any buyer can picture themselves living in, regardless of their color preferences.
#7 – Create Inviting Outdoor Living Spaces
For many people, outdoor living spaces can be just as important as indoor spaces.
As you did with the front entry to the home, add flowers to planters, flower pots or hanging baskets to porches, and attractive seating to patios or decks. Also, make sure that the grass is cut regularly and the planters are free of weeds.
#8 – Add Ambiance
A lot of home staging is about editing your possessions. But after you’ve cleared the decks and cleaned the clutter, it’s time to add a little ambiance back in.
A few well-chosen accessories can add style and make the home feel more welcoming and attractive to potential buyers.
But when I say a few, that’s what I mean. A nice candle by the bathtub, a pretty flower arrangement on the table, a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter – that’s plenty. And keep them fairly generic, things that everyone could relate to. Once again, you’re not trying to express your personality but creating an atmosphere that other people can picture themselves in.
People also want to envision themselves living in elegant, stylish surroundings. A little money invested in a set of fresh towels, a sparkling new shower curtain, luxurious neutral bedding with lots of pillows can make a big difference to potential buyers.
#9 – Take a Picture
If you’ve read my novels or know much about me, you know that I’m a quilter. A little tip I learned in my quilt making is also very helpful for home staging.
After you’ve worked on a quilt for a long time, it can be hard to spot any mistakes or unattractive placement of quilt blocks. Often, quilters will take a picture of the layout of the blocks before sewing them all together. For some reason, looking at the photo helps you see the project with fresh eyes, making it easier to spot what might be wrong for missing in the final product.
The same can be true for home staging. Once you’ve followed all the tips for home staging I’ve listed, get out your phone and take a picture of each room. This will help you see the space with fresh eyes, just the way a potential home buyer might.
Look for anything that sticks out, looks cluttered or untidy, or takes away from the ambiance of the room. If something is jumping out at you from the photo, it’s probably a sign that you need to remove it from the space.
#10 – Finishing Touches
Once your home has been staged, it’s time to add a few special finishing touches.
Before showing your home, make sure all the lights are on, play some soft, cheerful music in the background, place a bouquet of fresh flowers on a surface that’s closest to the front door, and maybe light a candle but make sure the scent isn’t too heavy.
These little touches, together with my other 10 Home Staging Tips, will give your home a warm and welcoming feeling that potential homebuyers will find irresistible!