How to Stage a House that Sells

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If you are planning to put your house on the market this year, it goes without saying that you are hoping to sell your home as quickly as possible and get your asking price. Whether you’re just getting ready to sell or are trying to add new life to a stagnant listing, set the stage for success with these 10 home staging tips and make changes that can help your home sell faster and for more money.

  1. Stage where it counts
    Not all rooms are considered equal when it comes to home staging. You want to focus your efforts on the rooms that have the biggest potential to influence buyers’ decisions – like the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen – and spend less time on the rooms that won’t make much of a difference – like guest or childrens bedrooms.
  2. De-personalize the space
    One of the primary objectives of home staging is to help prospective buyers visualize the space as their own. The fastest way to accomplish this is to set as blank of a canvas as you can. You want the home to have style and charm, but it should be devoid of personal touches (photos, clothing, any other personal items) that suggest this home belongs to the seller, not the buyer.
  3. Get rid of clutter
    Clutter takes up space, and space is what sells. Make your home look bigger and more desirable by editing down to just the basics. You don’t have to get rid of things forever, but you should certainly be packing them up and getting them out of the house. The less clutter you’ve got in the space, the bigger it will look and the more appealing it will be to buyers.
  4. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before
    Spring cleaning has nothing on the cleaning you should do when you’re putting your home on the market. You want every square inch to shine, from the baseboards to the corners of your ceilings and everywhere in between. A squeaky clean home suggests to buyers that the current tenants took good care of the property, a notion that extends beyond the kitchen countertops to the entire house.
  5. Patch and repair
    Home staging is a good time to tackle the tiny nicks, scratches, holes, and other impurities that signal neglect to buyers. Start with a melamine foam eraser pad and go room to room removing any scuffs from walls. Keep an eye out for any areas that could use a little TLC, then spackle and caulk as necessary. You may need to do some paint touch ups too, if you notice areas where previously applied paint has chipped. The purpose is as much about showing potential buyers that you’ve put effort into maintaining the property as it is about making the place look nice.
  6. Go neutral
    This staging tip is a bit more time and cost intensive, but it can make a major difference when it comes to your sale price and time on the market. Bright colors on walls help people express their personality in their homes, but they can be a major turn-off for buyers. When you’re staging your home to sell, one of the very best things you can do is paint over any garish colors with neutrals, like gray, white, and taupe. Bold colors can distract from a room’s assets, and like photos and clothes, are bold signifiers not of the home’s future, but of its past.
  7. Make a good first impression
    The first thing a buyer is going to see when they walk up to your house is the front entrance, so you want it to make a strong positive impression. Remove any sort of seasonal decorations, which can date a house in both pictures and during viewings. If you have a front stoop, consider power washing it, or at least scrubbing off any dirt. Then add a touch of hominess with a simple doormat and perhaps a potted plant or two.
  8. Focus on fresh
    While too many extraneous items in a home can detract from its perceived value, a few healthy, well-placed plants and flowers can add life and freshness into the space. Space them out so as not to clutter any one particular area, but try to have a couple fresh items in areas that matter. Place a vase full of big, bright flowers in the center of your kitchen table, a small potted plant or some succulents in the living room, and perhaps a larger potted plant in the corner of the living room as well. Don’t have the time or green thumb to maintain fresh plants? Fake plants will set the same atmosphere with less work.
  9. Let there be light
    Dark rooms are sad rooms. Brighten up by letting as much light shine in the house as possible. Open the blinds on all of the windows, which in addition to letting in more light will also make rooms seem bigger. Turn on all the lights in your house for showings, including lamps and closet lights. This will help make your home more welcoming, and also saves buyers from having to stumble around figuring out which switches turn on which lights.
  10. Rearrange your furniture
    You want there to be as much open, walkable space as possible. This helps buyers navigate the space, and also helps them better visualize their own furniture in each room. Put extraneous furniture in storage to get it out of the way, focusing on getting rid of any oversized pieces, damaged pieces, and those that don’t match the rest of the room. With the furniture that’s left, rearrange it to make the room look and feel as spacious as possible.

Staging a home to sell doesn’t require spending a lot of money – just making smart decisions. Your agent should be able to help you make specific changes that will add value to your home and entice the buyers who come for viewings. Once you know you’ve done everything you can to show your home in the best light possible, you can sit back and wait for the right buyer to stop by.