Hearthside Happenings

Five Steps For Staging Your Home

If you want your house to sell fast, then staging is a must.
Posted: January 09, 2020 by Joe Carelli

Staging your home to sell is not just a topic for an HGTV special; staging truly makes a difference! If you want your home to sell quickly, and for a good price, then you need to be prepared to stage your house. In fact, homes that are staged before listing sell within an average of 23 days, compared to 143 days for unstaged homes! Think of it as putting your home’s best foot forward; you want to make an excellent first impression.

If you’re working with a professional real estate agent, then they will have suggestions of what you should do in your home to make sure it attracts buyers. Many agents also work with professional stagers that can help prepare homes for showings and open houses. Your agent can also help you make sure that you don’t do anything that breaks the bank, which would be counter-productive. When all is said and done, you want to keep more money in your pocket.

No matter how involved you decide to get with staging your house for sale, here are five steps that are always worth it:

1. Kick Your Clutter Habit -- It’s the easiest way to make your house look (and feel) better, not to mention it’s FREE! Simply ditch the stuff! When your house is filled to the brim with furniture, clothes, knick-knacks, and all other sorts of odds and ends, it not only looks and feels cramped, it gives buyers the impression that your house is too small. Buyers assume there isn't enough storage and will spend their time wondering where they would put all of their stuff. Lots of clutter makes it extremely hard for buyers to picture themselves living in the house. 

This goes for the unseen clutter, too! Buyers look at everything, including inside cabinets, closets, and drawers. Take some time to purge and organize, and leave some empty space. This shows buyers that your house has room to spare. If you have a significant clutter problem and feel overwhelmed, then consider hiring a professional organizer to provide a helping hand and an unbiased eye as you sort through your items. 

2. Fix the Obvious -- Take a moment to put yourself in potential buyers' shoes and walk through your house with a fresh set of eyes. You might be surprised at the number of small repairs that have become all but invisible to you since you have lived with them for so long. The scrape along the wall that’s been there for years, the random unidentifiable stain on the carpet that you’ve turned a blind eye to, the broken doorknob that you’ve learned to just live with, and the quirky way your bathroom light always seems to flicker may all seem like no big deal to you. 

However, when a buyer comes into your home, all of these seemingly small issues become glaring problems, and then all your buyers see is a massive to-do list waiting for them if they buy your house. Take care of these fixes before you list your house, and you will be that much closer to a sale.

3. Rearrange Furniture -- People should be able to walk around your house without feeling like they have to turn sideways and shimmy around each other. Furniture pieces that are crowded together, or too much furniture in a space, makes it very difficult for people to maneuver.  This can lead to frustration and the impression that your home is too small. Arrange your furniture in a way that allows for optimal flow and for people to move freely. Shoot for roughly 24 inches of space around and between each piece of furniture. If you have a smaller space, you can go for 18 inches of clearance.

Sometimes, there may be a need to remove some of your furniture or switch it out for different pieces. This is where a home stager is key because a professional stager will usually have access to a collection of pieces that she can pull from to stage your home effectively. 

4. Depersonalize the Space -- The main goal when staging your home for sale is to enable buyers to easily picture themselves living in the house. If your walls are covered with family photos and your grandfather's collection of beer steins are prominently displayed throughout the home, buyers start to feel more like they're visiting instead of house hunting. 

Pare down on everything that is overly personal like pictures, unique decor, heirlooms, and even pet dishes and toys. Let buyers see as much of a neutral space as possible so they can easily envision their own belongings in the space

5. Use Common "Scents" -- Create a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home with the use of some delightful aromas. You can light some scented candles or even have fresh cookies baking in the oven when getting ready to show the property.  Be careful to use scents that are universally appealing, like vanilla or baked goods. Many people have aversion to different smells so it’s best to play it safe with something everyone will love.

If there are strong odors present in your home due to things like smoking, pets, or other situations, consider shampooing carpets and rugs and using hacks like charcoal or baking soda, which help absorb odors.  For lingering smells, for example, smoke that may have permeated into walls, you may even consider repainting using an odor-eliminating primer as your base. 

These are five no-brainer staging steps that are little to no cost and can drastically increase your odds of a faster sale at a better price. If you find your house is stuck in limbo, consider how much effort you've put into staging your home.

Depending on your unique situation, the best thing for you to do might be to hire a professional stager who knows what buyers want and can bring a keen sense of design to your space. The end results could ultimately mean more money for you. 

For more tips and insight into the home-buying and selling process, check out the rest of what we have to offer at Coldwell Banker Hearthside.

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