Home staging is a pretty simple concept that home owners planning to sell their home should understand. That's because home staging can help your home sell faster and for a higher price. It's also a lot less complicated than HGTV's Designed to Sell show, with many successful home staging projects completed on a budget any homeowner can afford.
As spring is traditionally the most popular time to sell your home, we're going to work our way through your home and offer home staging tips for different rooms in your house. We'll start with 3 basics that apply to every room inside your house, and the living spaces outside your home that affect how prospective buyers see your home.
Home Staging Tip #1 – Clean, Clean & Clean
First impressions are important so step 1 in home staging is cleaning your home from top to bottom, to keep prospective buyers focused on your home's best features. When done, your home should sparkle and smell fresh.
- Get rid of cobwebs on the ceiling, indoors and around exterior doors outside.
- Clean and dust light fixtures and ceiling fans, getting rid of bugs that get stuck up there.
- Replace light bulbs so they're at maximum rated strength for individual light fixtures.
- Dust all surfaces, cleaning as needed.
- Remove calcium residue (Lime-a-Way works well) around water in kitchen, bathrooms, etc.
- Throw out (or put away) dish towels and other frayed items.
- Check damp areas for mold and clean to remove odors.
- Clean doors, cabinet doors and drawers and other areas that get touched frequently.
- Clean windows inside and out, or at least those on the front of the house for first impression.
Home Staging Tip #2 – De-Clutter for Visual Space
The next home staging step and one that people struggle with is transforming your home “for living” to a house that shows prospective buyers they could move in tomorrow. Look at your rooms and identify what you would put away before taking a photo — that's what needs to disappear.
Home staging is also practical as the more you get rid of, the less you have to pack and move … although I always laugh when unpacking, as inevitably we move at least one trash can full of garbage.
Home staging is about making your home look it's best. This includes the closets so please, don't just take things off counter tops and shelves and hide in the closet or cabinet. You want prospective buyers to think your home has endless storage so you need uncluttered space inside closets, cabinets and drawers too.
- Clean off flat surfaces (kitchen and bathroom counter tops, bookcases, tables, etc) leaving just a few items to visually communicate how the space is uses, i.e. the computer and printer on the desk below.
- Organize loose items into baskets or other containers so they're easy to take out when needed, and easy to put away when prospective buyers are expected.
- Get rid of all the paper piles that seem to grow around the house. Don't just toss papers into a nearby drawer as they'll overflow quickly. Organize or toss what's been ignored for months, as this proves it's just not important enough!
- Plants and color add a nice touch to your home but not when overdone, i.e. 1 or 2 plants per room and hand soap and towels that you might leave out for a guest.
- De-personalize walls and display areas to appeal to the greatest number of visitors. This is especially hard to do but necessary when I saw one home stager come in to stage another's home.
With all the HGTV shows promoting buyers want “move in ready”, sellers should make minor repairs before listing your home for sale. BEFORE is important because you'll get more prospective buyers touring your home in the first few weeks that your house is on the market, and they're the ones who've been looking and haven't found what they want.
If you've put off lots of home maintenance, you may also want to get a seller's home inspection to identify and address problems that might otherwise slow the sale of your home, or give buyers leverage to negotiate a lower price that you as the seller want for your home.
- Painting is a great way to give your front door and indoor spaces, a fresh look.
- If any wallpaper is peeling, repair it or remove and paint the walls.
- With any curling or lose flooring, you should re-secure. Sometimes you can use quarter-round trim to secure lose flooring or hide cracked grout.
- Fix doors and cabinet drawers that are difficult to open and close, as even one problem will get prospective buyers looking for other flaws.
- Repair any leaky or dripping faucets inside and outdoors.
More Home Staging Tips
- Home Staging Shouldn't Be a Secret
- Tips for Do-It-Yourself Home Staging
- Home Staging Tricks for Hiding Stuff
What home staging tips have you learned?