Staging Your Home

Some sellers hesitate to stage their home because they think it’s too much work or it’s too expensive or they really like their own decorating. So, why should you stage your home before your list it?

In brief, it will help you sell it faster and for a better price. Having your home on the market is difficult and you want the experience to be completed as quickly as possible. Staging gives you a chance to highlight your home’s best features and downplay the worst. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and your home is going to be scrutinized by many potential buyers. You want them to be able to see themselves living in your home. That means moving your personal touches out of sight and creating clean, open spaces to help buyers visualize themselves and their furnishings in it.

It’s hard to look at your home objectively and make the best choices for decluttering and rearranging. Your real estate agent can help you with that. Frequently, agents arrange for professional stagers to come in to make the hard decisions about what pictures to remove, how to arrange the furniture and make suggestions for quick updates that will make your home shine.

Staging gives you a headstart in getting ready to move. You must pack everything anyway, so start with the declutter process. Rooms crowded with stuff give the impression that there isn’t enough storage. Also, there are likely some minor repairs that will show up during inspection — get them done before listing as part of the staging process. Disrepairs make buyers think that your home hasn’t been maintained well so take care of anything that may catch a critical eye.

Stage the whole house to make the best impression. Give special focus to the front entry way and the room visible from it, the main living area, the kitchen, the master bedroom and any bonus areas, like a deck or den. Consider this list of inexpensive changes you can make to effectively stage your home:

  • Make sure the living room is arranged for conversation as well as for viewing the television. Buyers need to envision sitting in the space and talking without having to move a chair. Accent the room’s best feature, such as adding a pretty plant near the fireplace hearth to draw the eye.
  • Painting is an inexpensive fix to a tired room. Choose neutral colors for living spaces and more dramatic ones for bathrooms and the dining room. Neutrals need to be warmer tones like tan or khaki, not just an off-white.
  • If your kitchen cabinets are dated, stain or paint them. Replace scratched or nicked door pulls.
  • The master bedroom need to appeal to both sexes, so remove bedding and accessories that are too gender-specific. Paint the walls a neutral color, but choose a bright bedspread or comforter to give the room a focal point.
  • Buyers love plenty of storage space and they will open every drawer and closet door. Unclutter all of them and organize your shelves to show off how much storage your home really has.
  • Let the light in. When a showing is scheduled, open all the blinds and draperies. Turn on lamps and overhead lights. Make all the rooms look as light and airy as possible.
  • If you have children or pets, visually reduce their presence so the home appeals to buyers who don’t have them. Confine children’s toys to their rooms, pack many of them away and organize the rest attractively. Place pets’ food bowls and litter boxes out of sight. Be conscientious about pet odors, too. If you need to get rid of old carpet that has trapped smells, do it!
  • Your staging has to include the outside, too. Curb appeal is essential — you don’t want buyers to just drive-by. Add planters filled with plants and flowers by the front door. Trim shrubs and low hanging branches. Make sure the lawn looks good all the time. Take care of peeling paint and loose doorknobs. Replace a worn welcome mat with a new one. Powerwash the deck or patio and arrange the furniture into conversation areas.