‘Staging’ is a term used by real estate agents that means to set up your home to look like a model home, making it more marketable to potential buyers. Through this process, you increase your home value and become more easily emotionally detached from the house. The ultimate goal of staging is to make your house look like no one lives there so that buyers can easily envision themselves living in the home.
De-clutter and De-personalize
The first step of staging is to de-clutter and de-personalize your home. Renting a storage space is a great idea. Take out any extraneous furniture so that you can maximize the view of how much space your home has to offer. Put away all personal photos and personal items. Place furniture in groupings away from the wall—this will visually create more space. Also, make sure that the rooms are being used as they are intended to be. For example, don’t have your dining room set up as an office. Potential buyers often have a difficult time envisioning rooms differently than they appear.
It is important to have a good flow in the house. All hallways and entrances should be clear, and traffic flow in rooms should be obvious. Put away area rugs—showing exposed floors makes rooms appear to be bigger. If there are any built-in appliances, fixtures, or drapery that you would like to keep—remove them now. Buyers can get attached to objects they assume will come with the house and might be turned off from making an offer if they’re not.
Before you show your house to potential buyers, it is a good idea to get a home inspection—the buyers are going to want one done anyway. Make any minor repairs needed—replace cracked or missing floorboards, cracked windows, etc. This will easily pay off once you sell your home.
Paint color is very important when staging a house. White or off-white walls are generally a good idea as they create an illusion of open space and make the rooms appear as a blank canvas. Neutral colors are great choices as well—remember that neutrals include colors from nature such as a muted green or blue. If you want to make your home look even more spacious, paint adjacent rooms the same color. Having the color of the walls match the color of the drapes is also a great technique and makes for a seamless interior look. Darker colors can often make rooms look especially cozy, so don’t shy away from these in your bedrooms and powder rooms.
Lighting is of upmost importance during a house showing. Make sure all lights are on when showing your house and open blinds to let in as much natural light as possible. Pay attention to the lighting of each room individually. There should be three types of light in each—ambient lighting (overhead or general lighting), task lighting (under the cabinet, closet, or reading lights), and accent lighting (table or wall lamps).
When staging your home, pay close attention to odors you may be releasing into the house. It is hard for people who live in a house to smell pet or smoke odors since they have become commonplace. Have your pets stay at a friend or family member’s house during this time if possible. If there is a smoker who lives in the house, have them smoke outside. Don’t try to mask odors by burning scented candles or spraying air freshener—these smells can be equally as offensive. Get rid of odors at the source—scrub down the house, take out trash regularly, and don’t cook foods with strong odors.
As a finishing touch to your home’s ambiance, place freshly cut flowers or trimmings from your garden around the house. If flowers aren’t in season, you can always create bouquets of holly, berries, and pine in the winter and branches with fall foliage in autumn.
Kitchens are perhaps the most important room that buyers look at when purchasing a house. Before you sell your house, update any outdated appliances. Even though appliances are a large expense, you will recoup every penny spent after selling. If you can’t afford to replace outdated cabinetry, invest in new doors, drawer faces, and knobs. Store away counter appliances like toasters and coffee makers and make sure your refrigerator is free of magnets and personal reminders. Remember, you want to make your home look as if it brand new and uninhabited.
When staging a bathroom, you’re goal is to make it look spa-like. Put away personal items like used bars of soap, razors, and toothbrushes. Also, make sure your cabinets are clean, uncluttered, and presentable as buyers like to check out the storage. If your tiles are faded, give them a new glaze to make the bathroom look new. Put out accessories like fresh rolled-up towels, baskets, and candles to complete the spa-like atmosphere.
Once again, make sure the room is free of clutter. You want your bedroom to come across as a room that is only used for rest and relaxation and has an inviting atmosphere. Invest in fresh linens that give an air of luxury. Pay close attention to your closets—buyers will be sure to check these out. Clean them and make sure they look spacious.
The exterior of a home is often the most important visual element of selling a house. This is where the buyer gets their
first (and often lasting) impression of a house. Check that the house numbers are clearly visible from the street. Clear all sidewalks and driveways around the house. Also, make sure that any cracks in the pavement are repaired before selling as well. Make sure your lawn is well-kept and mowed and that any leaves are raked away. Trim shrubs and see that the gardens are properly weeded. Paint the window trims and doors if necessary and purchase a fresh doormat. The color yellow has been proven to invoke a ‘buying’ emotion, so plant some yellow flowers in front of your house.
When you feel that you have completed the staging of your house, take a step back and look at it objectively. Does it look like a model home? Does it look like no one lives in the home? If the answers to these questions are “yes” then you’re home is ready!
The day of showing, make sure you stash away all personal items and empty wastebaskets and trash. It is also a great idea to leave the house before the buyers arrive. Following these steps should ensure that your house sells quickly and with great value. Good luck!