Home staging is not required in a home sale, but if you want to sell quickly, it might as well be. Staging is such a popular practice that it is now a profession of its own.
While you may understand staging an empty house – filling it will some basic furniture to create an idea of space and flow – it may be more difficult to understand what a stager would do to the house you live in.
Basically, a professional stager will remove furniture and personal items from your living areas in order to create more of a blank slate. This helps buyers imagine what the house will look like with their things in it.
A home stager’s advice will be invaluable if you want to sell your home quickly. But if you cannot afford to hire a home staging expert, these are some of the first steps you can do on your own.
Before you can clean, organize or stage a room, it needs to be free of clutter.
Tackle the house one room at a time. Going through the entire house at once is stressful and overwhelming, yet tackling one room a week is a productive strategy.
Start by removing garbage, which includes broken items, clothes you don’t wear and piles of paper. Drawers, the bottoms of closets and the space underneath the bed are popular hiding spots for items that may be discarded or donated. Then, sort the clothes in your closets. Remove clothing you haven’t worn in the past year. It may help you to sort things into categorized piles, such as:
- Needs to be filed
- Undecided whether to keep or not
Once you have eliminated all the unnecessary items in each room, the home will feel more open. Removing clutter also makes it easier to clean each room. If this step is too much for you to handle alone, you can hire a professional organizer who can help you get your things under control.
Like organizing, cleaning is a task you may be able to do yourself or you might be better off hiring professionals, at least for a deep cleaning. You want to dust everything, vacuum, mop, clean light switch faceplates and wash windows and sills. You may also want to wash the doors and walls if they have smudges or dirt buildup.
Even if you do all the other work yourself, you will get better results if you hire a professional carpet cleaning company. Freshly cleaned carpets often look like new carpets. Buyers are more likely to offer you a lower price for your home if they think it needs new carpets. You might also consider hiring a professional cleaning service to touchup your home before open houses. Professional cleaning is a worthwhile investment because staging alone won’t make your home look its best.
Remove personal items
One of the most important parts of home staging is to create an atmosphere that allows the buyer to visualize living in your house. Your personal collection of farm animal decorations in the kitchen is not going to help create this atmosphere. In fact, it could make your kitchen seem dated. Home staging experts recommend you remove all photographs, trophies and personal memorabilia. Remember, you are selling your home and will be moving. Think of this step as a head start in your packing.
Decorating and staging
Staging often requires that you remove furniture as well as personal items.
Less furniture makes rooms look bigger and creates a better flow of traffic. This is easier if you’re not living in the house, because a stager can bring in a few pieces of furniture and create the look of a lived-in home. When you are still living in the house, most of your furniture may be necessary. However, if your furniture is stained or worn, you should at least get furniture covers to use during showings and open houses.
Fresh paint is the easiest way to breathe new life into a home. Plus, the smell appeals to buyers because it makes the house seem like new. Repaint in neutral colors. Your real estate agent can tell you which colors help with selling. If you are not using an agent, research trending colors online or ask the representative at the paint store. You may be hesitant to invest in a house you are selling, but polished homes appeal more to potential buyers and yield higher prices.
Your real estate agent can give you many more tips on home staging and curb appeal, which is equally important. Remember an agent or staging expert advice is not meant to criticize your personal decorating choices, but enlighten you to what potential buyers think when they go into homes.