We are going to continue our series on Getting Ready for the Spring Market. For this week’s topic, we are going to discuss the importance of staging your home to help it sell.
There are a lot of important steps involved in selling your home, some of which can help you get the best return on the sale while others will help your home sell quickly. For some tasks, your best option is to have the help of a professional like an experienced real estate agent.
Staging your home is one of those important steps that seems like it should be easy. However, it is as much an art as it is a science. Staging your home is a little like a cross between interior decorating and minimalism, with some influence from Marie Kondo’s KonMari method of Tidying Up.
The trick is to make your home look lived in, but also extremely neat and clean – as if people live there but never move anything out of place. A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors shows that more than 70% of buyers’ agents believe it’s easier for their clients to see themselves in a home that’s been staged.
The same survey showed that agents also strongly believe that staging a home reduces the time on the market while also positively affecting the sale price by anywhere from one to five percent.
It might be challenging, but done right, staging your home can make it look warm and inviting, like the perfect place for your potential buyers to make a fresh start.
Staging your home involves a few steps to do it right.
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First, eliminate clutter in the house.
To give your buyers a chance to visualize themselves in the house, remove all personal items from shelves and cabinets and put them in storage. Remove extra stuff from closets too, creating open space on every shelf.
To make your house look bigger and brighter, remove any excess furnishings too. Store that big, round, wagon-wheel coffee table and put something smaller in its place. Leave some empty spaces empty to make it look like there is a lot of room throughout the house.
By clearing as much stuff from the house, rooms will appear bigger and brighter, and without the personalized feel created by your own belongings, buyers will feel more comfortable seeing themselves settled into the place.
Clean, then Clean Again, then Clean Some More.
With no clutter in the way, it is time to perform a deep cleaning of the entire house. Dust and wash down every surface, clearing away any cobwebs and dirt. Spend extra time in the kitchen and bathrooms too, ensuring every surface gives off a fresh shine.
Clean the windows. Then, open the windows and air the place out to create a fresh, natural scent. Remove any pet beds or accessories to eliminate unwanted odors or even allergic reactions. Hire a professional cleaning crew if necessary, but no matter what it takes, your home should look and feel like it was just built last week.
Fix the Stuff that is Broken, Replace the Stuff that’s Worn.
That broken light switch that you have been living with for the last 3 years – it’s time to repair it or replace it with something new. Your home should look and feel complete. And, although you may like that room a little darker at home, now is the time to replace any burned-out bulbs with bright, white lights.
Don’t let your buyers think they are taking on a project. Fix sticky latches and squeaky hinges. Replace frayed curtains and those blinds the dog chewed three summers ago. A fresh coat of paint helps too, when necessary.
We know that ugly, 30-year-old recliner with the duct tape on the armrest is the most comfortable chair ever built. However, it does not give off the impression you need. Store worn or broken furniture, and if necessary, rent neat, clean stuff to put in its place.
The home should still look lived-in but, no matter how old your house is, it should make your buyers feel like it’s nearly new.
Decorate. Minimally. With a Light and Bright Theme.
Decorating a home is difficult. Decorating a home without using your own taste and style is even more difficult. However, the look you need to aim for should be neutral, allowing your buyers to fill in the gaps with their own imagination.
Use subtle throws and pillows to add color but stick with the simple themes. No pink and purple paisley wallpaper, or velvet posters and blacklights. Yep, we love Hendrix too, but save those gems for your own new home.
This is not the time to bring out your closet interior decorator. If you need help with that, hire a pro.
Add Splashes of Color and Bring the Home to Life.
Simple things can brighten up a bland space, such as a bouquet of flowers, neatly folded towels, and bowls of fruit, soaps, or other colorful accents placed around the home. Candles and fake (or real) plants can add a colorful accent to an otherwise bland space.
The Inside of your Home is Important. So is the Outside.
Your home should speak to people the first time they lay eyes on it. The outside of your home should be equally free of clutter, with all repairs and improvements completed. The garage needs to be as clean as the inside of the home, the driveway should be free of Big Wheels and Little Red Wagons. And, don’t forget to mow and rake the yard.
Pressure wash sidewalks and siding, clean up any trash that’s blowing around the yard, and fix broken slats or other damage to the fence. Your home needs to welcome your buyers as guests, with neat, clean, warm and welcoming open arms.
Remember – First Impressions are First Impressions.
You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure your home is ready. Staging the house can be difficult so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Although many real estate agents know how to properly stage your home, you can also hire a professional to come and stage your house if it’s physically or emotionally easier on you.
Don’t overlook important steps like staging when you’re selling your home. These simple steps can lead to a quicker sale and a higher return.
For more staging tips, watch Eastbrook Sales Agent, Maureen Smith, showcase how to set up your home to sell:
Come back and visit us next week for another article in our Eastbrook Homes Spring Series – How to Sell your Home!