Staging your house is one of the best things you can do to ensure that you get a good price when you’re selling your house and help you sell quickly.
There are professional staging companies who will bring in furnishings and decor to make your house look like a model home, but that comes at a price.
You can digitally stage your house, but there’s a big disclaimer on your images that states that they’re virtually staged. Buyers may be disappointed to arrive and discover that the house looks nothing like its pictures. And there’s a cost to that, too.
The most popular and practical way, however, is the DIY method. Here’s what you need to know about staging your house for sale.
Step One: Curb Appeal
Whether viewing your home online or in person, the first thing a potential buyer will notice is the way the outside of the house looks. You need to use the power of curb appeal to entice the buyer to want to look closer.
Start by power-washing the exterior. Replace window and door screens.
If there’s a porch railing, paint it if necessary.
Pull the weeds, trim the hedges, mow the lawn, pick up trash, put away toys, store lawn furniture away, and make sure everything looks as new as possible.
Place a new welcome mat in front of the door, perhaps near freshly potted flowers.
When you are finished, run across the street and take a look at your house from that perspective. Notice anything that stands out as an eyesore and fix it before listing your house for sale.
Step Two: Declutter
It’s time to clean out closets, empty drawers, clean the cabinets, and remove any items you know you don’t want to keep or won’t need until after your move.
The fewer belongings you have in the house, the more appealing it is to buyers. They need to be able to envision their furnishings in the home, not be distracted by yours.
This is an ideal time to have a yard sale, make a donation, or throw away items you no longer need.
Decluttering includes furniture. If you can, store any big items like china cabinets and hutches, unused desks, freestanding bar, extra chairs, and anything else that could make the rooms appear small and stuffy.
Step Three: Depersonalize
Depersonalizing can be difficult because you’re taking down and putting away all the personal touches that made your house a home.
You’ll pack up knick-knacks, books and magazines, photographs, refrigerator art, wall-hangings, and anything that makes a statement about your personality, style, or what you believe in.
For example, having items that are political, religious, or sports-related could offend potential buyers and turn them away from the purchase.
Consider this the next step in your packing process and be prepared to live in a house that’s starting to feel bare.
Step Four: Clean and Neutralize
People want to see a house look as new as possible, which means clean! Look up at the air vents, ceiling fans, and light fixtures. Are they covered in dust and cobwebs? Are there bugs inside the light fixtures?
Bleach all of the sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
Don’t forget to clean thoroughly under the sinks and check for leaks while you’re there. There should be no standing water and no musky smell.
Scrub the floors. If they still look dingy after cleaning, consider replacing them. It’ll be an up-front, out-of-pocket expense, but you’ll likely earn more in the long run when the buyer doesn’t try to negotiate a carpet allowance to lower the price of your home.
Check the baseboards and walls. If cleaning didn’t make them bright, consider painting. You’ll also want to paint if your house has bold colors like red, blue, pink, or yellow. The goal is to have everything in neutral shades like tans or grays.
Step Five: Accentuate
There are lots of ways you can accentuate your house to make it feel warmer, brighter, inviting, and cozy.
In the kitchen, place a bowl of fruit on the kitchen table to represent nourishment in the home.
Use potted houseplants or flowers in vases in the living room and bedrooms to give a sense of nurturing.
Think about using crisp white towels on the racks in the bathroom, complemented by white candles. These things give a bathroom a spa-like feel.
Make sure the windows are clean, remove any drapes or curtains, and open the blinds to let in the most natural light.
Step Six: Extra Updates to Earn More Cash
There are several little things you can do to increase the perceived and actual value of your home. When an appraiser assesses a property, he or she usually measures its worth in $500 increments. So, $50 worth of updates could translate to hundreds of dollars in returns.
- Replace doorknobs and locks
- Replace light switch covers
- Replace electrical socket covers
- Replace faucets
- Recaulk sinks, showers, and windows
- Change the air filter
A Side Note About Staging
Make sure all of the major elements of your house are in good condition and properly functioning, such as the heating and air, electrical, plumbing, etc.
While staging is designed to make your house look new, it’s not intended to cover up faulty systems. It’s the frosting on the cake.
The house will be inspected after you accept a buyer’s offer, so any underlying problems will be revealed, and you’ll have to remedy them either by fixing any issues, negotiating a lower price with the buyer so they can make repairs or, if things are too bad, the buyer can cancel the contract.
Your Real Estate Agent
Your agent is an absolute expert on staging homes for sale. They’ve most likely got years of experience in the industry, and they know what buyers are looking for.
While your interviewing agents, or when you’ve got one you’d like to work with, ask them to tour your home and offer you tips and tricks on how to stage your house for sale so you can sell quickly and for to dollar.