Selling your home can be a lot of hard work but in the end it generally pays off. One area to consider when putting your home on the market is home staging. You’ve probably seen this on the popular home improvement channels and they offer some great ideas. However, some of it might be a little over the top for the average person. Essentially, staging comes down to understanding your product (your home) and your market (the buyers). What are your homes best features and what are buyers on average looking for?
If your home has a great yard and curb appeal, really maximize that feature. Don’t neglect the others, but take advantage of some of the great things your home has. Perhaps it has great lighting with well placed windows. Make sure that those windows are the focal point by keeping furniture from blocking the space in front of your windows or by replacing dark window coverings with light and bright ones. If your home offers ample space, enhance that feeling by removing bulky furniture and by clearing out unnecessary clutter.
Home buyers generally are looking for a few key things to turn a house into their own home. They want clean, easy to maintain space. They want minimal work upon moving in. They want storage! Your home probably offers many, if not all of these things but it will be up to you to show the potential buyer that they are looking at all the things they want.
Here are some tips to staging your home to sell as well as some advice for living in that staged home.
First and foremost, clean! Cleaning is all about hard work and not about cost. How amazing is it going to feel to present a pristinely clean home and know that it didn’t cost you a dime above the cost of the supplies? Get all the dust bunnies from under the furniture and ensure that they fans are free of dust too. Clean the windows and let in all of that natural light. If you have old carpets, it might be worth the investment to get them replaced. If you have hardwood floors underneath carpet and they are in good condition, definitely expose them! Hardwood floors are a major selling feature for most people.
Most of the time homes that have been lived in for a few years need a fresh coat of paint. If you have the luxury of time on your hands, you can paint each room on your own. If not, professional painters are worth the money. They are quick and can make your space look brand new in a matter of days. When choosing paint colors, neutrals are your best bet.
Now that your home is clean and freshly painted, it’s time to think about your stuff. There is the idea in home staging that your house should look completely neutral, with no personalization at all. However, remember that the buyers are looking for a place to call home. So while you might need to tone it down from the 47 framed photo montage you have on your dresser, you really don't have to remove everything that makes your home, a home. The real key is to remove clutter. This can be hard to do, especially if you are living in the home as well, but it will be well worth your time. We all love that feeling when we go into a nice hotel and everything is fresh and there is plenty of open storage. Create a similar feel in your home by making sure the closets are free of clutter and instead house the essentials, like clean white towels and organized, tidy linens. Pack up the rest of the items in drawers and cabinets and store them offsite, either in your new home, a friends garage or in a storage facility.
If you are living in your home while it is on the market, invest in a few storage pieces to help you remove typical clutter from counter tops and bedside tables. Small decorative boxes are great for catching all that mail and paperwork. A trunk in a bedroom or living room can hold bigger items. Keep an open house box that holds fresh white towels for the bathroom and kitchen and a pleasant smelling candle. Put your every day towels in the box and put out the “open house” items instead for a quick turn over. Flowers are always a nice touch for decoration. If you have pets, it is best to find an alternative place for them to be during home showings. Either get a pet sitter off site or take your furry friends on a nice drive while your home is being shown!
If you have a flexible budget, consider hiring a professional home stager. Call a few in your area and have them come to your home to give you a quote. Be prepared to spend quite a bit on this feature but realize that it may be easily recouped with the sell of your home, especially if it helps speed up the process.
Regardless of if you do it your self or hire a professional, the key to staging is to clean, declutter and brighten each of your spaces. Keep it simple and keep it within a reasonable time frame and budget.