I am a mom, military spouse, and my family and friends call me their part-time decorator. I have always loved helping those around me spruce up their homes whether for a special holiday, a party they are hosting, or just because they want a change. I am completely self-taught and have learned over the years how to make big changes on a small budget. My husband and I have moved 11 times in 19 years so I learned how to make a home that is not so perfect feel cozy and inviting and stage furniture even when it is not made for a space. Therefore, as we are preparing to move -yet again- I thought I would share some of my home staging tips with you to get a home ready to sell FAST!
This is probably the most obvious advice for your home staging efforts, but it is also one of the most important things to do when staging a home. First, do a thorough deep clean of your home. Clean the carpets, scrub the baseboards, even clean the oven and clean out the fridge…you get the idea. Make sure your home is squeaky clean. Once you tackle the cleaning, you need to simplify and de-clutter. Clearing the clutter allows your home to look larger and well maintained. It also allows the potential buyer to visualize their stuff in the home. Do you have smaller pieces of furniture, toys, or appliances that are causing your home to look chaotic? Take it to storage or get rid of it. You are moving anyway. Remove some of the smaller appliances from the kitchen counter-tops (think toasters, butcher blocks, blenders, etc.) Take out the small furniture to open up the floor space. Put away the toys. Keep it simple and clean.
Since my style is inherently neutral, I did not have to do much in this area when staging my home. However, I know many people that will need to invest some time, and even a little bit of money, into this. The best paint colors for home staging are taupes, beiges, whites, and greys. The really hot trend in paint right now is “greige”, which is actually a fusion of grey and beige. If you have wallpaper, a funky accent wall or bold color walls, it is a good idea to neutralize it with these suggested paint colors. It is not to say that your taste is wrong it is just taste specific and you don’t want to alienate the masses. The same can go for accent furniture, throw pillows, rugs, and drapes. According to research, a neutral take on transitional and contemporary design is best for selling a home. Adding more current and contemporary accents to your home’s décor can also make your home appear to be more up to date and in the current times. You may need to take a trip to your local Homegoods or check out home decorating magazines to see the current trends and find some coordinating items. Think neutral walls, drapes and furnishings with pops of color achieved in the throw pillows, rugs, and by adding fresh flowers. Also, take down some of your personal photos. Remember when selling, photos of your home will be on-line and available for potential buyers. You don’t want to be a target for others. Therefore, take down the kid’s artwork and school pictures and replace them with neutral art or a picture of the local area. You want buyers to see themselves living in the space and if you have pictures of your family everywhere it is difficult for them to envision.
Unfortunately the majority of buyers find difficulty in seeing the potential in a room. Therefore, the seller will need to provide a clear purpose to each room and space in the home. Do you have a room only used for storage? This is a staging no-no! Clear it out and create a specific purpose for the room. Make it an office space by adding a desk and small chair or add a gaming table to the room. Add a board game, a lamp, and a few plants. Voila! You can add plants and fresh flowers to a space to provide color. Another area to keep in mind is children’s play areas. If you have toys scattered all over the house clean them up and confine the toys to a designated area. Put them in storage bins or a toy box or even take some things to storage if you need to while your home is on the market. Remember it is just temporary. You want to create a space that is family friendly but not one that is only for kids.
When putting your home on the market you want to eliminate any potential problems a buyer may find wrong with your home. So make the necessary improvements, first! This includes replacing non-functioning light bulbs, touching up scuffed walls, changing the air filters, and adding flowers or mulch to your landscape. You want the home to show that you have taken good care of it. The goal of home staging is to highlight your home’s best features while also taking out any doubt someone may have about potential problems. You don’t want to give someone a reason to discount your home. Also for the pet owners…you need to get the litter box and kennels out of the house. When you have a showing put your pet in the garage in their crates or outside. You don’t want buyers to be greeted by your animals or their smell.
Now to the fun part of home staging! Research shows that potential buyers will make an offer on a home because of the way the home made them “feel”. So you need to appeal to emotions by providing an environment that feels welcoming and warm. Once you have cleaned, de-cluttered, repaired, and neutralized your home, you need to add the finishing touches. Some of the easiest ways to make your home stand out from the rest are by adding fresh flowers and candles. You want your home to “welcome” potential buyers. While adding fresh scents are one way to do it you also want to cozy up the space. Add throw blankets placed strategically on the couch or end of your bed so people feel like they want to sit down and enjoy the space. Another way is by displaying baked goods or fresh fruit in a pretty bowl in the kitchen. Just make sure you don’t make it look cluttered. You only want a few items on tables or counters. Turn on the lights! Lighting is often overlooked but before every showing turn all the lights on. No one wants to walk into a dark room. Open the blinds and make sure every light is on so you can show off the space and make it appear bright and inviting. If you feel a little overwhelmed or unsure about what to do, I would suggest investing in a home staging service. Many Realtors now are including this service in their marketing plans so be sure to ask if it is offered. After all, your home is more than likely your biggest financial asset and you should treat it as such. So take the time to make it show in the best way possible.
Check out the photos of my home as we prepare to sell to get more home staging ideas.