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Staging A House – Tips and Advice

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Tips on Staging a House to Sell Quick!

Whether you’re a real estate agent or a homeowner selling a home, you need to make it look its best! Staging a house can be daunting, but following a few simple home staging tips can set your listing apart from the others and help it attract more potential buyers. Staged homes also make your real estate photos look better and stand out. Below you’ll learn how home staging is easier than expected.

What Exactly is Home Staging?

Home staging is part art and part science. It showcases a listings highlights and minimizes its shortcomings. A staged listing makes the real estate photos look better and makes in-person tours more productive. Potential buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in the home. Properly staging a home allows the potential buyer to do this. Home staging is also a great marketing strategy. Sellers agents, and homeowners alike want to drive a higher offer on the listing. The psychology behind home staging has been known for a long time. Staged homes sell faster and for more money. Read on to learn about your options and how to optimize your listing.

Options for Staging a House

Staging a House Yourself

The DIY option is going to be the cheapest. You can stage your home with no technical skills by following a few simple steps. Things like cleaning the entire house, removing clutter, and yard work are great places to start. This will keep your home staging costs to a minimum while maximizing your home’s potential.

Have Your Real Estate Agent Help

Real estate agents know the importance of staged homes. Most have experience in staging homes and can lend a hand. They may be able to do it themselves or give you a referral to a professional stager. Your agent is always a good place to start.

Hire A Professional Home Stager

If you want the best results possible, hiring a professional staging company is your best option. They will have the most expertise to spruce up your home to its highest potential. First, they will evaluate your home during the initial consultation and determine what needs to be done to increase the value to potential buyers.

Professional home stagers will have an inventory of décor to decorate your home. They also know how to make the best use of your home’s space. Some stagers will also store your belongings temporarily while your house is for sale. (This comes with an extra fee). Professional home stagers will also help with the exterior of your home. Things like painting the front door, replacing the mailbox, and trimming the landscaping all contribute to an upgrade in curb appeal.

Virtually Staging a House

Virtual staging can be an excellent alternative for cluttered or bare homes. With virtual staging, you can remove, replace and add items to a photo to give the potential buyer a view of the room’s potential. This can be a cost-effective option. Check out our virtual staging page for before and after examples.

Home Staging Tips 

#1: Let The Light Come In:

Natural light is critical. In case you usually have your curtains and blinds closed, it’s time to open them up. This will make any room cheerier and brighter. Natural light also makes real estate photos pop and rooms look bigger. Well light rooms are also more eye-catching to the potential buyer.

#2: Clean Everything And Add Air Fresheners:

When it’s time to show your home, you want to ensure it’s cleaned and well taken care of. A clean house shows the prospective buyer that the homeowner takes good care of their house. This suggests that the homeowner probably did other items like regular maintenance. Besides regular cleaning, make sure that:
  • Carpets are shampooed
  • Floors are mopped
  • Doors and trim are washed or painted
  • Windows and sills cleaned
  • Bathrooms scrubbed Tubs re-caulked
  • Stainless steel appliances are polished
  • Garages are swept
  • The siding and driveway are clean

Adding air fresheners will also help mask the smell of pets if you have them.

#3: Put Away All Family Photos and Depersonalize: 

While it is still your home, potential buyers don’t want to look at your family photos. Instead, you can replace them with decorations and art. Studies show that when a home is personalized to the current owner, potential buyers can feel a small amount of guilt while walking through the home. These negative feelings can get in the way of them seeing the house as their own. Removing family photos and personal items for more neutral ones will allow your home to appeal to a broader audience.

#4: Remove All Pet-Related Items: 

Whether it’s your pet’s bed, food dish, or litter box, these must be removed. Not everyone likes animals, and some are even allergic. This can scare off potential buyers. A thorough cleaning and air fresheners also help hide the fact that pets live in the home.

#5: Bathroom Surfaces Need To Be Clear:

Overall speaking, you should only leave the soap dispenser at most in plain sight. Everything else should be removed. Toilet seats should be down, showers clean and a fresh roll of toilet paper with a triangle fold all help to give a cheerful and neat appearance.

#6: Don't Forget Kitchen Counters: 

We all tend to leave things on kitchen counters. But when trying to sell your home, you need to get rid of most of these items. However, there are some exceptions. You may leave a plant, a toaster, or a coffee pot. Remove dish rags, sponges and clean the kitchen sink. Wipe everything down to remove grease stains.

#7: Remove Everything From The Fridge Doors: 

Yes, you have plenty of beautiful magnets and photos. But it’s time to remove them all. If the appliances are staying in the home, give the insides a thorough cleaning just in case someone looks inside.

#8: Dressers And Night Stands Need To Be Clear: 

Put away items like alarm clocks, tissue boxes, and beauty products. Put away any clothes that sit on top of the dresser. This is also a good time to hide jewelry boxes.

#9: Get Rid Of Oversized Furniture: 

When you are eager to sell your home, you should consider removing big furniture since it may make the room look cramped. The living room is an essential room to get right. Give the furniture a conversational layout.

#10: Replace Burnt-Out Light Bulbs:

When someone is visiting your home, you want to turn the lights on in each room you are showing. So, make sure that all your light bulbs are working. This is also a great time to optimize the lighting warmth to match the color and decor of the room.

#11: Bathroom Rugs, Towels, And Shower Curtains:

All these items can make a significant impact on your bathroom. And the good news is that it’s affordable to replace them. Make sure they match and are nicely folded, as you find at a hotel.

Comprehensive Staging Checklist

Below you’ll find a comprehensive checklist to go through when staging a house.

Staging the Living Room

  • Remove furniture to create an open space
  • Make sure curtains are color neutral
  • Make sure the lighting is bright and inviting
  • Remove TV remotes, cords, and wires
  • Remove personal photos and decor
  • Declutter and clean all surfaces
  • Clean or replace the area rug

Staging the Dining Room

  • Improve lighting, and open blinds
  • Set the table with formal dining ware
  • Remove leaves to make the room bigger
  • Add house plants, flowers, or a bowl for accent

Staging the Bedrooms & Master Bedroom

  • Wash and make the beds
  • Add accent pillows and throw blankets
  • Remove personal items off bed stands
  • Clean under the bed
  • Declutter and organize closets and bookshelves
  • If possible, don’t have the bed touch more than one wall

Staging the Kitchen

  • Clear and clean all countertops
  • Clean the sink and faucet
  • Clean the oven and range
  • Clean inside the microwave
  • Clear and clean the refrigerator inside and out
  • Remove hand towels, soap, and sponges
  • Clear or organize cabinets
  • Fix leaks
  • Add decor like flowers or bowls

Staging the Bathroom

  • Clear and clean countertops, mirror, sink, toilet, and shower
  • Clean or replace the faucet and showerhead
  • Wash or replace bath mats
  • Recaulk if old caulk is stained
  • Remove all personal items
  • Clear or organize drawers and closets
  • Clean or replace hand towels
  • Remove waste cans
  • Put the toilet seat down
  • Put out fresh toilet paper roll (triangle fold like hotels)
  • Hang a new shower curtain

Staging the Hallway/Entryway

  • Clean floors and shampoo carpets
  • Paint the front door and replace the door knob if necessary
  • Oil door hinges if needed
  • Remove keys from key tree
  • Remove coats from coat racks
  • Replace welcome mat
  • Remove shoes from rack

Staging the Outside for Curb Appeal

  • Replace mailbox if needed
  • Mow the lawn
  • Blow away or pick up dead leaves
  • Clean the gutters
  • Clean the porch, patio, deck and house siding
  • Spruce up the front porch with new furniture or plants
  • Put down new mulch
  • Pressure wash cement
  • Reseal blacktop
  • Replace or add house numbers
  • Clean or replace exterior lighting
  • Clean or replace the outdoor furniture
  • Put away grills, and kid’s toys
  • Trim hedges or bushes
  • If around the holiday season, add tasteful seasonal decorations

Bottom Line When Staging a House

The truth is that it’s not difficult to stage your home to sell fast. All you need to do is to look at each room at a time and declutter. You can use laundry baskets or bins for all the items and then hide them in closets, cupboards or any other storage space.

A final piece of advice to home sellers: you should always remove any political or religious signs to make your home neutral. 

We truly hope you found these home staging tips helpful and can implement them during your next home selling experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Staging refers to preparing a home with a neutral and professional look to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. This can include cleaning, organizing, and decorating. Home staging allows buyers to imagine themselves living in the home and shows the true potential of the home to come through. Home staging isn’t just for improved in-person showings. A staged home will make for better photos, videos, and virtual tours. This gives you a better return on investment regarding your listing media.

Staging is more than just art and centerpieces. Staging makes the home look as close to a model home as possible. It also helps make rooms look bigger and optimizes lighting according to the color scheme. Decorating is generally more personalized, while staging focuses on staying neutral to appeal to potential buyers.

Staging a house can lead to a faster sale and a higher asking price. Whether you plan to sell or rent, when a house is properly staged, it catches more eyes and drives more foot traffic. When prospective buyers are onsite, they feel more relaxed and encouraged to imagine the home as their own. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, about 75% of sellers saw an ROI of 5%-15% over asking. Furthermore, the International Association of Home Staging Professionals notes that staging helps increase the sale price by 20%. 

The National Association of Realtors vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, Jessica Lautz said “Staging a home helps consumers see the full potential of a given space or property,” also “It features the home in its best light and helps would-be buyers envision its various possibilities.”

 Also from NAR, Buyers agents overwhelmingly agreed, as 82% said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.

Home staging costs depend on how big the home is and for how long the home is staged. Generally, a consultation with a home staging professional will be $300-$650, then $500-$650 per room staged, per month. This cost includes furniture and decor rental as well as storage. For example, a 2,100 square-foot home will cost about $2,000-$2,700 per month.

This is really up to your budget and available time. The DIY option of giving the home a thorough cleaning, removing clutter,  and organizing can boost buyers’ appeal. Hiring a home stager will be more money but will take the work off your hands and result in a professionally designed space. As a general rule, something is better than nothing, and you always have virtual staging as an option.

House staging ROI will vary depending on the house and location. The return on investment is different from San Francisco to New York and everywhere in between. A staged home makes for better pictures, virtual tours, and an all around better in-person experience for the potential home buyer. Staged homes generally will bring more money because interior design brings out the best of a house. This is by the cars on dealer lots are kept clean inside and out.

Soft staging is just like traditional staging, minus the furniture. Therefore, soft staging includes items like art, soap, flower vases, rugs, house plants, and candles. This technique is used when you want to create a professionally designed look without furniture rental. This keeps the cost down while still providing a more inviting atmosphere for potential buyers.
When searching for a professional stager or professional staging company there are certain things you should look for. A few of these would be excellent customer service, solid experience, and a portfolio of work for you to browse. Asking your real estate agent is always a good place to start. The stager should handle the furniture rental, storage space for excess items, and interior design.
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