If there’s one fact that stands true in the real estate market, it’s that all homes don’t appeal to every buyer. So, how can you maximize the chance that a broad range of potential buyers will appreciate your home and want to place an offer? Staging!
A common mistake that sellers make is underestimating the power of staging their home and property. Even if you’re a skilled decorator who keeps an immaculate house, you may benefit from an objective eye and a bit of staging help. Keep in mind that staging your home doesn’t have to be costly. While there are times that renovations are needed to increase home value, many staging elements can be completed with little or no money invested.
🏡 How do I build curb appeal?
You get one chance to make that all important first impression with a potential home buyer. Unfortunately, some sellers forget to take into account that the first impression happens long before the buyer steps foot inside your home. First impressions begin before they even pull into the driveway. If your property looks less than appealing from the street, chances are that potential buyers will not be interested enough to look at the inside. Potential buyers are time conscious and want to make sure they are not wasting their time by touring your home. Make buyers excited about seeing the inside because they are impressed with what they see outside.
Let’s start with the lawn and flower beds. You’ll want to make sure your lawn is well maintained and free of debris. Take a walk around your property during the day and look for anything that could be a hazard to someone touring the property. Sure, you know to avoid that pesky hole in the backyard, but a potential buyer has no idea. Not only could something like that cause an injury, it could give the impression that you don’t take time to fix small things that need attention inside and outside of the home.
Refresh the bedding in flower beds and add vibrant flowers or plants. When it comes to lawn decorations, less is more. While you may adore the extensive collection of garden gnomes scattered about the flower beds and lawn, a potential home buyer may find them distracting or unappealing. Use outside decorations purposefully.
Staging a pool area can be a challenge. This is an incredible perk to some buyers, so you want to make sure it shines. Have the pool cleaned regularly and keep it free of debris. You may want to consider keeping it covered until the day of the open house or showing to make the upkeep less labor intensive. If you have furniture around the pool or in another area outside meant for entertaining, place the furniture in conversational settings. This type of staging can help buyers see themselves entertaining and enjoying that outdoor space.
Consider painting the door a bright and inviting color. If you are part of a homeowners’ association, make sure the color is approved. Place a colorful plant near the entrance way. Add a festive doormat that will send the message that the buyer is welcome to visit.
💡 Is it true that kitchens sell homes?
Buyers pay a great deal of attention to kitchens. Today’s buyers want upgraded appliances, beautiful countertops, and plenty of storage space. They also want room to enjoy cooking and entertaining with family and friends. While you may want to upgrade appliances or do some renovations, check with your real estate agent before proceeding. If these things increase the value and appeal of the home, you’ll be spending money and time wisely. If they are not helpful, you can spend your time and money elsewhere on improvements that do increase value.
What if you have a small kitchen? You can’t wave a magic wand and increase the square footage of your kitchen, but there are things you can do to maximize the space you do have in the kitchen. If you have an eat-in kitchen, make sure the table fits the space. A table that is too large for the area can make things seem cramped. Add a rug beneath the table to create a focal point and make things look spacious. Make the most of natural lighting by making sure the windows are free of obstructions and clean. A bright kitchen is appealing, eye-catching, and feels open. Remove items from countertops and add décor sparingly to any shelves in the kitchen.
No matter what size kitchen you have in your home, you’ll want to remove magnets, photos, and drawings from the appliance surfaces. Keep the décor neutral and use pops of color for interest. Just as we mentioned outside, not everyone will appreciate your themed décor. Pack the collection of roosters for the move and use neutral items for staging.
You can believe that buyers will be looking in places you never thought were important. Take some time to organize your cabinets, drawers, and pantry area. Sort canned goods and items by color, use, or size. This attention to detail gives buyers the impression that you care enough about these details to take care of your home. A well taken care of home can mean less unforeseen problems for a buyer. Remove cleaning products from the sink area and toss old sponges. Be sure to clean between appliances and whatever surfaces they touch. Keep a fresh vase of flowers, an open cookbook, or a bowl of fruit on the counter to add color and make things look lively.
🛁 How can I stage the bathroom?
The bathroom is another room that gets a lot of attention during a home showing or open house. While people seem to gravitate towards spacious bathrooms with spa tubs and amazing showers, you can maximize the appeal of your bathroom even if you don’t have those amenities.
Do a deep cleaning that includes any tile work and shower crevices. Replace the shower curtain and add fresh linens. You would be surprised at what a new shower curtain and some colorful hand towels will do to transform a bathroom from drab to fab. Replace the toilet seat and make sure that all caulking is in good shape throughout the bathroom.
Remove hampers and large trash cans from the bathroom. These can make the space look small and cause unpleasant odors. Put away personal care items or anything that a buyer might find embarrassing should they open a bathroom cabinet. Take special care to store medications inside a securely locked container that is located in another room.
Lighting is important in every room of your house, but it takes on a special importance in bathrooms. A brightly lit bathroom looks inviting and sends away the shadows that are often seen in poorly lit bathrooms. Using a large mirror can also make a room look spacious.
While you want the counters free of clutter, you may want to add a decorative soap container and keep it freshly filled for showings and open houses. Again, neutral colors are best, but you don’t want to use colors that make the space look smaller. White on white makes the room look spacious, and you can use pops of color in hand towels and such to add interest. If your bathroom is windowless, you may want to choose a light blue or green shade. These colors tend to reflect light.
🛌 How do I stage bedrooms?
As with other rooms in the house, neutral colors are best used in bedrooms. Your household may love the bright pink paint used in the bedroom, but a potential buyer may see that as a turnoff and walk away thinking it’s too much of a hassle to repaint.
Consider storing oversized bedroom furniture for the move and replacing it with furniture that is smaller and maximizes the space in the room. If you don’t want to purchase this furniture, you can rent it for the time you need it or speak with a professional stager. A professional stager will sometimes have furnishings that they use for such purposes.
Closets are focal points for many buyers when it comes to exploring a bedroom. They want spacious closets with plenty of storage options. It may benefit you to add a closet storage system to add value but speak with your real estate agent before you proceed. Otherwise, you want to make sure your closet floors are free of shoes and other items. Organize clothing by color and use. This type of organization creates an appealing closet that impresses many buyers.
If you’ve turned a bedroom you didn’t need into a fitness room, office, or playroom, turn it back into a bedroom during the staging. Potential buyers want to see the rooms being used as they are meant to be used.
🚪 What about staging living rooms?
Living rooms are the gathering spaces for most households. You want to make this space as comfortable and welcoming as possible. Start by removing oversized pieces of furniture. Create a sense of openness by moving furniture away from walls and working with the natural flow of the room when it comes to walkways. Keep windows and doorways free from obstructions.
Find a point in the room that is eye-catching and use that as a focus point. Build your staged living room to highlight that point. It can be a large mirror, a fireplace, or an impressive set of bookcases.
I know we’ve said it throughout the article, but we’ll once again stress the importance of neutral colors. Using earth tones or shades of grey can make the space seem warm and elegant.
Many homes have a second living room or den that will also need attention. Use the same staging tips for the second room, but keep in mind that you can show creativity in distinguishing the spaces and their potential uses. This is especially true if the den is a great room that has access to or is viewed from the kitchen. You may want to use a similar color palette to make the space look bigger and connected.
🏠 How do I keep things show ready?
You’ve taken the time to stage your home and get it ready for buyers, now what? Now, the challenging part happens. Keeping it clean and ready for those showings and open houses.
Create a plan for keeping everything tidy by enlisting to help of everyone in the household. Have planned times when everyone can chip in and help put things back in their proper places or help straighten things like pillows and chairs.
If you have younger members in your household, create a game around picking up toys and putting them away. One way to minimize the clean-up time needed is to limit the number of toys that can be out at one time. If it makes sense for your home, pack away some of the toys and games for moving day.
Have an emergency back up plan for short notice showings. Your real estate agent will always alert you ahead of time to expect visitors for a showing or open house, but it’s best to be prepared just in case someone stops in unexpected to take a look at the property, or you have a busy week that falls on the same week as an open house.
😃 How can a real estate agent help?
We’ve spoken a little on how a real estate agent can help you get clarity when it comes to needed renovations, replacements, and improvements. They can also help you find the help needed to stage your home effectively. Many real estate agents have experience in staging, and if that isn’t their strongpoint, they most likely know a professional stager in the area who they can refer to you during this part of the selling process. They can also refer you to a professional photographer to take photographs of your home and property once the staging is complete. These photos will go a long way in presenting your home in the best light possible when listed.