Selling a home profitably in today’s market isn’t easy. However, if you follow these simple home staging tips, you’ll not only maximize your selling price, you’ll probably speed up your sales timeline as well.
There are professionals who are paid to stage homes. However, home staging is mostly common sense and creativity. Here are a few tips and tricks that professional stagers use:
- Follow the 50% rule
- Start packing
- Apply cosmetics
- Use flower power
- Hide your kids and pets
1) Follow the 50% rule
Start with your kitchen and bathroom counters and remove at least 50% of everything that’s on them. Put away utensils and small appliances. A decorative bowl with fresh fruit looks great on the kitchen counter. Cereal boxes, dish drainers, and bottles of vitamins do not. In the bathroom, get rid of hair dryers, cans of hairspray, combs and brushes. A pretty basket with guest towels and small soaps is all you need.
2) Start packing
The 50% rule of home staging applies to your closets too. Here’s why: if closets look overstuffed and crowded, your buyers will think you don’t have enough storage space. Get your packing boxes ready. You’re going to be moving when the house sells anyway, so let’s get a head start. Remove 50% of your clothes, linens, and other items from closets and cupboards. The goal is to make everything look neat and spacious. Hang clothes together by type—shirts and blouses on one rod, pants and skirts on another. Get shoes up off the floor and into boxes, or into a storage container under the bed. Store packed boxes in the garage or somewhere else out of sight.
Your buyers need to visualize themselves living in your home, not be haunted by the ghosts of families past. Put the family photographs away. Remove magnets, grocery lists and kids’ artwork from the refrigerator door. If you have a home office or workspace, keep personal papers and files in drawers or otherwise out of sight. Put away diplomas, certificates, and awards (unless you’ve won an Oscar!).
4) Apply cosmetics
Be sure everything works. This includes light fixtures and lamps, doorbells, screen and sliding doors, locks and faucets. Make minor repairs. If your walls are anything but neutral, or if they are even slightly soiled, invest in a coat of paint—it’s the cheapest cosmetic you can use. Again, home staging is about buyer visualization. If your teenage daughter has painted her room in purple and black, the buyers will have a hard time seeing their four-year-old in the space, and they will immediately starting figuring how much it will cost them to repaint. Don’t go for stark white—it feels cold. Choose a pale, warm neutral instead.
5) Use flower power
Inside and out, flowers are an inexpensive way to brighten things up and make your home come alive. A few pots of seasonal flowers near the front door say “Welcome.” Inside, flowers or potted plants make the home seem fresh and healthy. Hint: potted orchids are relatively inexpensive and last a LONG time with minimal care. And please, get real. No plastic flowers, ever.
6) Hide your kids and pets
We’re not suggesting you lock them in the basement and hope no one notices. Just hide the evidence. No litter boxes in the bathroom, chew toys on the carpet, Legos in the living room. Of course kids have “stuff.” Just get a big trunk or toy box where you can toss everything when the Realtor calls with a showing. Make sure the beds are made, clothes hung up, and bathrooms pristine. Bribe them if you have to.
Professional home stagers are experts at using a few well-chosen accessories for maximum effect. A few decorative pillows or a luxurious throw can add glamour to a sofa or chair. Keep your dining room table or breakfast bar set with colorful placemats and cloth napkins. Bright pillows and table settings work well for a patio or outdoor seating area too, if the season is right. If you want to draw attention to a good feature of your home, such as a fireplace, accessorize it with a piece of art or an attractive vase or sculpture. Use a decorative mirror to make a small area or room look larger. A small area rug, properly placed, can hide a worn or soiled carpet.
The secret of home staging is to pretend it’s not your home. You’re the buyers now—see your home through their eyes. What would make you want to buy this house? Do that, and you’ll maximize your chances of a quick, profitable sale.
— Richard M. Hartian (@WinningAgent) May 23, 2012
Got your own home staging tip? How about sharing it in the comments below…