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How to Stage a House: Tips for Home Sellers and Realtors

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How to Stage a House: Tips for Home Sellers and Realtors

How to Stage a House: Tips for Home Sellers and Realtors

The average house sells in about 65 days. Some sell faster, but others take longer to find the right buyer.

So, what do the homes that sell quickly have in common? They’re staged in a way that makes the home appealing to home buyers.  If you’re wondering how to stage a house, especially on a limited budget, don’t panic. It’s easier than you think!  Here are a few simple tips to help you get ready for open houses and private showings in no time.

Ditch the Clutter

It should come as no surprise that a clean house sells faster than one filled to the brim with clutter and junk. As soon as you decide to sell your home, start getting rid of that clutter.

Walk through each room of the house and examine the items taking up the most space.  Have you used them in the last few years? If you have, find a better way to store them in the house. If not, consider getting rid of them. Set those items aside in each room.  This method works for every type of item in every room. Remember, the more you get rid of, the less stuff you’ll have to pack and move to your new home. You might even end up saving money on the cost of the move!

Once you’ve gone through your belongings, donate the usable items to local charities or host a garage sale and make a little cash getting rid of items you won’t use. As a general rule, if you have broken items, toss them in the trash or recycle them.

Getting rid of the clutter and disposing of it properly makes your house look and feel cleaner for prospective buyers.

Get Rid of Personal Items and Family Photos

You may love looking at family photos and personal mementos, but prospective buyers often find them distracting.  Think of it this way: a homebuyer needs to picture themselves in the house. This means they need to visualize their furniture, décor, pictures, and trinkets.  Your personal items make the house feel like yours. Though it might seem like buyers should be able to see past your sense of style, many can’t.

When staging a house for sale, put those personal pictures and decorative touches away. Pack the items up and set them aside for your new home. Your real estate agent will give you guidance on what works for the property and what doesn’t.  If there are a few pieces you want to keep out, that’s fine. But remember to put them away for showings and open houses.

Deep-Clean the Interior

A clean home is a sellable home. And after living in the house for a few years, there’s a lot of dirt and grime you’ve turned a blind eye to.  Give the property a good deep cleaning.

Dust the surfaces, trim along the walls, ceiling fans, and light fixtures. Clean the appliances as thoroughly as you can and make a list of damaged areas as you go.  You’ll want to fix those minor issues before selling the house. This can impact the pre-sale home inspection and makes the house look nicer to prospective buyers.

What About the Floors?

Cleaning the interior means cleaning EVERYTHING. And that includes your floors, grout, tile, and any other difficult-to-clean surface.

You don’t have to do it alone, though. Hire an experienced cleaning crew to get rid of the deep-set grime that won’t budge with regular elbow grease. The goal is to get things looking like-new.

Add More Lighting

Homebuyers love well-lit homes. It makes the space feel welcoming and cheery. And just because you’ve gotten used to dim hallways doesn’t mean your buyers will be comfortable with them.

When in doubt, add more lighting. Replace burned out light bulbs in permanent fixtures. Add floor and table lamps in larger rooms to add brightness.

Take a look at the windows and skylights and make sure they’re as clean as possible. Natural light can do wonders for any house and the cleaner the windows are, the more natural light you’ll get.

Before any showings, walk through the house and turn on the lights in each room. Open any curtains and blinds to let as much natural light in. If it still feels like the room is dim, consider using LED bulbs in the lamps.  This will brighten the space without drawing too much energy. They may cost more than incandescent bulbs, but they’re brighter and far more energy efficient. Best of all, sellers can remove those bulbs and take them to the new home.

Keep Surfaces Clear

Clean surfaces make the house look nicer. Remember, homebuyers need to picture themselves living there. This means they don’t want to look at a bunch of dirty dishes in the sink or see laundry piled up on top of the machine.

When staging a house, make sure to clear off all of the surfaces in the house. This means the countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms, desks, tables, and end tables.

You’ll also want to look at your bookshelves and storage shelves around the house. Books and tasteful decorations are fine, but the shelves shouldn’t look packed full or cluttered with knickknacks.

Secure Your Valuables

Buyers look everywhere when touring a property. They’ll open cabinets and drawers, look in medicine cabinets, and peek in your closet without hesitation. This means anything you keep inside those areas is fair game.

While the majority of prospective buyers are respectful of your property, some aren’t. The last thing you want to deal with is coming back to the property only to discover that those valuables are missing.  As part of the staging process, remove jewelry, handheld electronics, and prescription medication from the house or lock it in a secure area.  This guarantees that nothing goes missing and makes the selling process more pleasant for all parties involved.

Touch Up the Paint

Scuffs on the walls happen. And you probably won’t notice them until it’s time for the first open house.

But once you do, touch up the paint. Cover scuffs and scratches with a light layer of paint—it doesn’t take much.

If the damage is more extensive, use spackle to fill in dents or holes and paint over it once the spackle dries. The end result is a room that looks freshly painted with only a fraction of the cost and work.

Show Your Landscaping Some Love

The first thing homebuyers see is the front yard. If the landscaping looks overgrown, it creates a negative first impression that could influence their opinion of the rest of the house.

Take the time to clean up the landscaping. If you’re staging the house during spring or summer, pick up some healthy plants at your local garden center. Just a few pots of flowers or ferns can make a huge impact on the way the house looks.

Clear away any dead overgrowth from the garden beds and pick up leaves and sticks around the property. This makes the exterior look well-maintained and clean, just like the inside of the home.

Pick Up After the Pets

More than 85 million families have pets. But that doesn’t mean that homebuyers want to see evidence of a pet in the home they’re touring.

Before any showing, pick up after the pets. Inside the house, remove toys, food and water bowls, beds, and other gear whenever possible. Outside the house, pick up all pet waste and dispose of it in the outdoor trash bin.  Though the home may not be pet-free, it should look that way to buyers.

Make Your Rooms Feel More Open

It seems like pushing the furniture against the wall and leaving an open space in the room makes the home feel bigger. But the truth is it makes the space feel smaller.  When staging the house, mix up the furniture arrangement. Move pieces away from the wall to create different zones in larger rooms. In small spaces, get rid of furniture that doesn’t serve a purpose.  If you’re working with a small room, add throw rugs or accent rugs to create the sense of separate spaces in the room and add mirrors opposite your windows. This creates the illusion of space, making the home feel larger than it is.

Stop Wondering About How to Stage a House

These tips take the mystery out of how to stage a house. And as soon as you get started, you’ll see that it’s simple, fast, and fun. After finishing these steps, you’ll be ready for every open house realtors can throw your way.

But you’ll also face another challenge: getting the house noticed in the first place. Let us help you get your home in front of the right buyers quickly.