Home Staging Tips

In the real estate market today, and especially in a slow market, homeowners should take the time and effort to stage their home for sale.  By following some fundamental real estate tips, it's possible to obtain the highest possible price for a home.

In this article, we're going to discuss what real estate professionals refer to as staging a home for sale.  We'll explain some of the steps involved in getting a house ready to be sold.  We'll also talk about improving the home's curb appeal, as well as how to make a great first impression on prospective homebuyers.

Staging a Home

Getting top dollar for a home requires more effort than simply cleaning the bathrooms and dusting off the furniture.  Staging includes decorating, painting, and adding a feeling of spaciousness to the home.  It also includes removing items that might detract from its appeal, including pets.

Redecorating

Homebuilders are experts at selling homes.  To get a good visual feel for what it takes to sell a home, visit some fully decorated models for sale locally.  When visiting these model homes, sellers will have a different perspective than they would have if they were thinking about buying a home.  During these visits, take mental or written notes.  Pay close attention to the colors used throughout the home, as well as how the decorator is able to make it more appealing to prospective buyers.

Curb Appeal

The first thing every potential buyer sees when visiting a home is the exterior.  A new doormat, potted flowers by the front door, and a weed-free garden will help to set the tone for a buyer's first visit.

A home's doors will naturally grab the buyer's attention too.  Replace worn hardware, and polish brass fixtures where possible.  If a garage door is looking shabby, then it's time to replace it.  If the home is in need of a fresh coat of paint, then be sure to choose a color that compliments the size, and setting, of the home.

For example, lighter colors will make smaller homes appear bigger, while darker colors will help a large home on a small lot to look more appealing.  Warmer colors, which include combinations of red, yellow and orange, are also visually more inviting than cooler colors, which include blues, greens and purple.

Removing Clutter

There is no better time to de-clutter a home then when selling it.  Don't wait until the moving van shows up to throw out unwanted items.  De-cluttering a home is an important step in staging it for sale.

Reorganize bookshelves, clean out bedroom closets, and line up those shoes neatly in a row.  It's important to ensure buyers can make a fair assessment of the home's size, and a cluttered home feels smaller than it should.  If there are a lot of items that are impossible to part with, then rent offsite storage until the move.  Don't pack the home's storage areas with these "valuables."

Personal Items

While a seller might have strong political feelings or religious beliefs, it's going to be hard for a potential buyer to visualize living in the home if it contains too many items they cannot relate to themselves.

Buying a home is a big financial step, and for many families connecting with a home in an emotional way is important.  If it contains too many items that may spark controversial thoughts, then a buyer may not be able to bond with the home.

Brighten it Up

If heavy drapery is keeping a room in darkness, now is the time to brighten up the home's rooms.  Simple window treatments in white linen or cotton will allow light to penetrate into a room while providing a sense of privacy.

Make sure lighting fixtures are in working order, and don't be afraid to turn on lights to showcase the home.  Brightly lit homes give buyers an uplifting and positive feeling inside, which is important since it helps to invoke a feeling of connection with the home.

Painting Rooms

The least expensive way to give a "dated" home a fresh look is by painting the interior walls.  Don't get too creative and take this opportunity to express a unique decorating style.  Instead, use colors that are generally considered "safe" neutral tones.

Don't think that neutral tones mean that everything needs to be painted beige.  Subtle and softer colors are in style for many rooms, while deeper colors such as cranberry can be used sparingly in areas such as the dining room.

Texture and Shape

Accent pieces in a variety of shapes and textures can add visual interest to almost any room in the home.  Once again, the use of accents is one of the key elements to properly staging the home.  The shine of brass, the intricacies of wicker, and the ability to bring the outdoors in through houseplants can all be used to highlight the beauty and potential of a home.

Sellers that are not sure how to use texture and shape in a room should purchase a magazine that contains numerous photographs of decorated rooms.  Study the pictures to see how the decorator, as well as the photographer, stages the photo.  Our natural inclination is to scan a room from left to right, just like reading a book.  Smaller objects placed in front of larger objects allow the viewer to appreciate the scale, or size, of each accessory as well as the room itself.

Eliminate Odors

Avoid cooking meals that may fill the house with lingering, and perhaps offensive, odors.  Eating fish may indicate a healthy lifestyle, but the odor may leave a buyer with a negative impression.  The same goes for fried foods, which can impart a long-lasting smell of grease.

On the other hand, many people enjoy the aroma of fresh baked muffins or cookies.  In fact, these odors may evoke positive feelings, including fond memories of the buyer's childhood home.

Keep Pets Away

While a pet may be part of the family, someone looking to buy a home may not feel the same way.  Barking dogs can be distracting, and water or food bowls are unattractive.  Man's best friend may even have an odor that only its owner can appreciate.

Staging professionals will recommend that pets are boarded with friends or family until the home is sold.  In short, eliminate all signs that a pet was living in the home.

Keep it Clean

When selling a home it shouldn't just be clean, it needs to sparkle and shine.  This is a very important point, because a dirty home sends a signal the owner doesn't care about the details.  Hire a professional if cleaning is a dreaded chore.

Constantly empty the wastebaskets, keep recyclable containers clean, and make sure dirty dishes aren't left in the sink.  Keep coffee tables clear of old newspapers and car keys.  Everything throughout the home should be in its proper place.

Potential homebuyers aren't just visiting the home; they are visually inspecting it.  They are trying to determine the home's value, so they are looking for signs it is not being maintained properly.  A super clean home sends a signal to the buyer the owner pays attention to the details.  And that's what staging a home is all about, it's going that extra step to present a home in the best possible light.


About the Author - Home Staging Tips (Last Reviewed on September 14, 2016)