When it’s time to put your home on the market, you want it to make a great first impression. You want it to say “welcome home” to prospective buyers and present it as a space they won’t want to leave. That’s where staging your home comes in. It may sound unnecessary or time-consuming, but it will make a significant difference once you list it.
Staging your home means more money in your pocket
The National Association of Realtors’study reported home staging means more money in your pocket. Half of all real estate agents surveyed in the study reported that staging increased sale prices by as much as 10 percent compared with similar homes that weren’t staged. Plus, staging decreased the amount of time properties were on the market, decreasing the number of house payments, utility bills and property tax sellers had to pay while waiting for their home to sell.
Top five tips for staging homes for sale
To sell your home faster and for more money, here are our top five tips for staging.
Curb appeal. Potential buyers’ ultimate first impression occurs the moment they drive up, so before putting that for sale sign on your lawn, make sure it’s in good shape. Mow it, weed it and edge it. Accent it with colorful flowering plants (in-ground or potted or both). In the fall, keep leaves raked, and in the winter, keep your sideways and driveways snow- and ice-free. And don’t forget the home exterior. Do you have peeling paint or siding that needs staining or cleaning? Now’s the time to address it.
Declutter. The idea here is to make it easier for prospective buyers to see themselves (and their stuff) living in your home, so depersonalize it by removing personal photos and tchotchkes and erasing any sign of pets. You can also make the space seem bigger by decreasing your storage, including under beds, in cabinets and in linen and clothes closets. Experts say closets should be just 70 to 75 percent filled.
Clean. Once decluttered, it’s time to deep clean everything — from window frames to picture frames and stove tops to inside refrigerators. Now is a good time to clean inside cupboards, steam clean carpets and area rugs, wash window treatments and dust ceiling fans. Once it’s clean, the challenge is to keep it clean. That means keeping all trash emptied, hanging only the most pristine towels in bathrooms and taking care to ensure your home doesn’t smell of last night’s dinner. (Baking bread or chocolate chip cookie aromas, however, are welcome!)
Rearrange furniture. To make rooms seem both bigger and cozier, pull furniture away from walls and group them for conversations. Then upgrade your lighting by placing lighting accordingly. Aim to have 100 watts of light for every 50 square feet and mix it up with overhead, tabletop and free-standing lamps. While you’ll want your furniture to be in symmetrical groupings, decorators far and wide proclaim the wisdom of threes when it comes to accents, such as books, plants and other small décor.
Address cosmetic flaws. If there were ever a time to give your home a facelift, this is it. Scan every room for tarnished metal, nicks and holes in walls, chipped or marred paint, cracked tiles, hard water stains and the like. Then address them. Oftentimes a fresh coat of paint can be just the solution for some rooms, and it’s always a good idea to paint rooms with bold colors on the walls. Neutrals are your best bet as lighter tones and gender-neutral palettes not only make rooms appear larger, they also help buyers envision their own belongings in the space. Check windows and bathroom seams to see if a little caulking is in order. If cabinetry needs a little work, you can paint them or simply replace just the doors. And a little inexpensive hardware updates can go a long way in helping your home look more attractive and well maintained.
If you’re serious about selling your home as quickly as possible and for top dollar, you’re wise to take some time and a little money to stage it. Doing so will attract more people who want to call it theirs.