When it comes to selling a home, everyone hopes for a quick sale. No one wants to deal with months of open houses and showings, which are a huge time commitment. In addition, a home that sits for too long may ultimately have to accept a lower than expected offer, especially if the sellers are motivated.
While many things about the selling process may be out of your control, the one thing that isn’t is staging. It’s estimated that a staged home can sell between 6-20% higher than a non-staged home. Using the right staging techniques can highlight your home’s best features and ensure a quick sale. Whether you’re hiring a professional stager or doing the work yourself, make sure to incorporate these top seven home staging tips into your space.
1. Do a deep clean
When you’re showing your house, it needs to be as clean as possible. This goes beyond your usual weekly clean and should include every corner of your home. Seeing something as small as a collection of dirt that looks like mould on the corner of a windowsill can turn a buyer off from your house, so don’t overlook the small details.
If it’s within your budget, consider doing a deep clean yourself and then hiring some professionals to come in for further touchups afterward. Make sure to scrub all appliances so they don’t appear old and worn down, and clean areas that you might not regularly get to cleaning. Dust the curtains, scrub the windowpanes, remove scuff marks from walls, and wipe down your baseboards. A clean home helps your buyers feel reassured that you treated the property well.
Perhaps the most common staging advice is to declutter. Over the years, we all naturally start to accumulate possessions. Since it happens so slowly, we often don’t notice how cramped our homes become. Unfortunately, a home brimming with stuff gives the perception that it’s smaller and dirtier than it is, so pay attention to your possessions.
Remove some furniture pieces to open up the space, especially if you own any pieces that could be considered stylistically polarizing. In your kitchen, keep your countertops clear of clutter, remove items above your refrigerator, and clear the back of your sink. This will help people focus on the kitchen features, such as your lighting accents or backsplash. Another tip is to keep your hallways entirely clear so people don’t feel cramped as they explore your home.
Decluttering doesn’t mean you have to get rid of all your stuff. It only means you’ll need to pack up your items and move them into storage until your sale is finalized.
When potential buyers walk through your home, they’re asking themselves if they can envision a life in the house. You can make that dream feel more realistic by removing all of your personal items from the home. Take out photographs, framed diplomas, keepsakes, fridge magnets, unique products on the bathroom counters, and all other personal items. Additionally, remove any signs of your pet, such as their beds and toys. You want the buyer to walk through a blank canvas that can align with their vision for the house.
4. Add some fresh (neutral) paint
This staging tip is two-fold. First, it’s a good idea to have all the walls freshly painted. A newly painted room looks more clean, bright, open, and put-together. This one simple task can help give your entire house a facelift.
Next, use this opportunity to get rid of any “fun” paint choices in your home. While you might love your bathroom’s magenta wall colouring very much, it’s doubtful that other buyers will feel the same. Additionally, unique colour choices speak to the previous tip - they’re your personal style and dissuade the viewer from seeing the home as their own.
Painting your home in neutral colours will appeal to the largest amount of buyers. Typically, the best choices are warm whites, greys, and blues. If you find yourself with a bit of time ahead of listing your property, consider these other home improvements projects to help ensure a quick sale.
5. Play with lighting and mirrors
A significant part of staging is opening up the area to make a home feel spacious. Both lighting and mirrors can play a crucial role in helping your home feel bright and open. Before an open house or a showing, take advantage of the natural light and open up all your blinds and windows. Even if it's daylight, turn on all the lights in the home.
Take a look at all your lighting fixtures and consider replacing them if they need updating. A simple change-up from your old lighting fixtures to more trendy options can help an older home feel modern. On that same note, buyers also love energy-efficient features, so installing a smart thermostat is an easy project you can quickly tackle to make things feel contemporary. Lastly, an old staging trick is to place extra mirrors throughout the house to get additional reflective lighting. Use this tip wisely in some of your home’s darker rooms.
6. Give your rooms a purpose
If you have a larger property, you might have some rooms that don't quite serve a purpose. Often these rooms end up being treated as storage rooms where items accumulate. If this scenario applies to you, it's important you redesign the room to have a purpose. Turn a room into a mock guest-bedroom, an exercise room, or an office. If you have an empty basement area, you can turn it into an entertainment room.
When rooms don't have a purpose, it makes the home seem to have wasted space. If the prospective buyer can't immediately see a use for a room, they may think the property is not a good fit. You need to make every square foot of the home seem usable and necessary, and some minor staging can do just that!
7. Add landscaping and other exterior touches
Lastly, one of the most common staging mistakes is to focus on interior staging solely. Don't forget that your home's "curb appeal" plays a significant role in the selling process. If a buyer's first impression is negative, they are more likely to come into the home with a negative mindset and search out problems.
There are some simple tricks you can take to upgrade the exterior of your home:
- Brush any moss or leaves off your roof
- Upgrade your garden with fresh plants
- Landscape your lawn and bushes
- Paint or replace your old mailbox
- Paint your front door
- Add planters to your porch
- Wash your windows
- Power-wash the exterior
All of these efforts will help your home give off a great first impression. Improving curb appeal can also really help improve your home’s “screen appeal.” This is in reference to how your property looks on websites like REW, where your home’s first featured image is typically of the exterior.
Staging Pays Off
Whether you've just found your dream home or you're trying to take advantage of a hot market, there are plenty of reasons why you might want a quick sale. These staging tips are easy to pull off and well worth the effort.