Home Staging Rules to Appeal to Today’s Buyers

Are you selling your home? Congratulations! This is an exciting time for your family. If you want to sell your house a little faster, staging it can help. Surely you’ve heard some tips from your agents – make sure everything is clean, the home looks well kept and tidy, and that everything is generally picture-perfect… But what else can you do to properly stage your home?

It’s important to make sure your home is properly staged because it prompts potential buyers who are touring your available house to imagine themselves living there. Think about it – which house is easier to imagine yourself in: one that is white, clean, and minimalistic, or one that is colorful, crowded with another family’s furniture and décor, and perhaps a little messy? You must arrange your furnishings and décor to make your home look it’s best, as well as thoroughly clean (and probably repaint) your home, too. This may involve a few trips to Goodwill as you pare down your belongings, or even moving everything you own out of the home so the potential buyers can tour the home while it is empty.

Why else might you want to stage a house? Well, it’s simply strategic. In 2017, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) took a survey that showed almost half of all buyer’s agents believe that staging affects most potential buyer’s view of a home. Almost 80% of the buyer’s agents said it was easier for people to visualize a staged home as your own. It can also increase the sales price. The same survey by the National Association of Realtors proved that the sales price for staged homes was one to five percent higher than the sales price of unstaged homes. They sell faster, too – 39% of seller’s agents reported that staging a home reduces days on the market.

Understanding the benefits of home staging is one thing, but how can you pull it off properly and easily? You are already stressed enough while preparing to sell your home, buy a new one, and relocate your family – there is a way to do this that is stress free and enjoyable!  Here are our best tips for staging your home.

Get Rid of Clutter

It’s hard for a potential buyer to see themselves living in your home if they can’t see around YOU living in your home. This is possibly the most essential task when staging – purging. It is a simple fact that a clean, empty as possible house looks bigger and tidier. You can integrate this process into your packing system. Remove knick-knacks and personal items first when you begin packing, and get those boxes out of the house as soon as you can. Don’t put them in closets – the potential buyers will be looking in those too! If it’s not an essential, pack it up.

Clean, Clean, Clean!

Now that the clutter is gone (and some of your packing is done – hooray!), get to work cleaning. It may be in your seller’s agreement that you must have the home clean to some degree the day you surrender the keys. Now is the time to get on top of all of the “little” things, like the baseboards, the windows, a good carpet shampoo, and under the kitchen sink. Make your kitchens and bathrooms sparkle. Open the windows to air your family’s natural scent out of the home instead of using candles or air fresheners. You never know when a potential buyer may be sensitive to artificial smells and scents. If you have pets, scrub everything they regularly interact with. No one wants to buy a home that smells like a litter box or wet puppy. If it is within your means and you don’t have the time to do this yourself, consider hiring a professional cleaning service to get the worst of the scrubbing done for you.

Your Ultimate Goal? Light and Bright.

Buyers tend to respond most positively to bright rooms with lots of natural light. Don’t have enough windows around the house to give that great naturally lit look? That’s okay. What you can do is replace your lightbulbs to those with a bright output. The whiter the light, the more it looks like daylight. The yellower the light, the darker it will seem. If you do have a lot of windows, great! Open your blinds and pull back the curtains. Want to make things even brighter? Paint your walls white. Yep – white. Remove any funky wallpaper that potential buyers may disagree with, paint over your kid’s red and blue racecar themed walls, and cover up all of your dents and dings in the drywall with some good old white paint. Your buyers can add an accent wall if they wish to, once they’re moved in.

Stage Big Rooms First

What rooms do you look at first when you are intending to buy a house? Bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen. The living room and extra rooms (dining room, family room, kids rooms) become less important compared to the rooms you and your loved ones will spend the most time in. That is exactly why you want to make sure you make those rooms the most beautiful, the quickest! You can also save money by doing this. Removing furniture and boxes from your home will likely require a storage unit, unless you already have the keys to your new home. This can be a big cost when you’re selling, so shorten the time you have to rent a unit by staging the best rooms in the house first – then the house will sell faster.

Rent Furniture If Needed

Don’t feel comfortable with your furniture being looked over by strangers? Is your old house empty because you’ve already moved to your new place? You can rent furniture for staging if you want to and can afford it. An option here is pop-up furniture, which is typically made from plastic or cardboard, but doesn’t look like it is. It looks nice but minimalist enough to give sellers the ability to visualize their family in the home. If you plan to leave your own furniture in the home for staging, the best rule of thumb is to leave about half of what you own in the home. This can be tricky if you are still living in the home while showings are being scheduled, but it will look bigger and tidier to potential buyers with less in it. If anything else, it might help you decide what you can live without and donate or sell.

Arrange Your Furniture – Owned or Rented

Whether you own or rented your furniture, it must be arranged in a certain way. Position couches and chairs a few feet away from the walls if you can. This is called furniture floating, and it makes the room look bigger. Set up the sitting area so that all those who were seated could easily see the tv and each other. Set the table so that your potential buyers could imagine their family having dinner in the dining room. Put away all of your gym equipment and children’s toys – this can seem like clutter if the potential buyer is not a gym-goer or a parent.

Don’t Forget Curb Appeal

You want to start your home off on the right foot with the people that are touring it. Make sure the outside is neat and tidy, too – it’s the first thing your potential buyers will see. Power wash your driveway and siding,  clean the windows, tidy the landscaping, mow the lawn, hide the dumpsters, and make sure your house number is easy to read from the street. Remove all personal belongings from the yard – garden statues, flags that are not of your country, bird feeders and fountains, or porch furniture. Most important, make sure that any damages to the outside of the home are remedied – you don’t want your potential buyers to see hanging shingles, broken siding slats, shattered windows, or creaky doors.

Don’t Forget the Extras…

Finishing touches can mean the world when you’re staging a house. Put some fresh flowers out on the kitchen counter, as well as a bowl of fresh fruit. Plant new flowers in the yard. If the holidays are near, keep your Christmas tree up and decorated. Run the vacuum right before every scheduled touring. Make sure the towels in the bathroom are folded and clean, and hide your dirty laundry hampers. Keep dishes out of the sink, and be sure to stay on top of picking up after your pets and kids. This can be stressful if you are still living in the home, but it will pay off tremendously.

When your home is properly staged, it will sell in no time. It can seem like another huge to-do on your list of selling and moving tasks, but it can be one of the most important. Homes that are properly staged sell faster and for more money than homes that are not staged properly, so make sure you stay on top of this if your house is on the market!

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