When a homeowner is ready to sell, there are usually two goals: to sell fast and to sell high. A well-staged home plays to both goals. By showcasing a home’s best assets, you allow prospective buyers to see its potential, the possibility of creating the living space the next owner may want. The trick is knowing how to stage a home, while minimizing the cost and maximizing the impact.
Good staging provides the biggest advantage to homes in the lower price ranges, but this often means a limited budget with which to work. If that’s the case, it’s best focus on the areas that will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Here are 10 tips that can help:
Fresh paint outside, a green lawn and attractive landscaping create that drive-by high, not to mention, the first impression of the house. Spruce up the outside so potential buyers want to see the inside. Make sure sidewalks are clear. If painting is not an option, power wash the house. Often a good washing can make old paint, sparkle.
Clean, baby, clean
Potential buyers love new appliances, but if that isn’t possible, go medieval on cleaning the ones you have. Attack your bathrooms with the same verve, scrubbing every inch. Grimy appliances, food stains and mystery spots in bathtubs do not create warm and fuzzy feelings about a house, so clean top to bottom, corner to corner and then clean more. The house should shine.
Get rid of clutter
For inspiration, watch an episode of Hoarders. One viewing will make you want to throw away everything in your house that is not nailed down. Clutter hogs the attention, taking the spotlight away from your home’s best features. It also makes it look as though the house has no storage. Do not just shove everything in a closet. When potential home buyers look in that closet (and they will) they will think the closets are clearly too small. In one word: purge.
Hide the photos
Take down or remove anything that blocks a buyer from envisioning themselves in the home. Family photos, kids’ artwork, quirky craft projects, the kids’ toys all need to be stored out of sight. Buyers need to picture themselves in the house, not the seller.
Omit the odors
Buyers do not want to be guessing (correctly) how many dogs you have, how often you successfully coax a lazy teenager to take out the trash (not enough) or that you use onion in a lot of your cooking. The scent of a place is a major factor in making that first impression. Chances are you can’t even smell a lot of the odors in your house because you are used to them. Invite friends over and borrow their noses. Creating an inviting scent is inexpensive and easy. Cooking slice and bake cookies right before a showing produces a great scent, as does vanilla scented candles. Be cautious with sprays and the plug-in scents. Those can smell faintly chemical. If there are any smokers in the house, they need to light up outside.
Give every room a purpose
Defining the use of a room allows buyers to see how the square footage can be maximized. An extra room you have been storing junk in, could be staged as an entertainment or guest room. An alcove in the kitchen could be presented an office. You want buyers to see usable space.
Keep wall colors neutral
Remove any wall paper and throw on a fresh coat of paint. Going with strong colors is risky and provokes a strong opinion. You want colors that don’t have the potential to trigger a negative reaction. That means you need to shift your paint selection to neutral.
Spruce up the floors
If the budget allows, rip out old carpeting and flooring and replace it with tile or hardwood. Both add value to the home and create a much cleaner feel. In kitchens and bathrooms, go with ceramic tile or stone. A cheaper option is to use high-quality vinyl tiles. If you can’t afford to do that, put your money into flooring the common areas such as the living room, dining room and kitchen.
Keep it minimal
Don’t clutter up a room with too much furniture. Temporarily store pieces that make the room look small. Ideally, you would present furniture that looks new and expensive. If that’s not an option, clean the furniture you have and remove any pieces that make it look crowded. You are shooting for that spacious, yet inviting vibe.
Caulk the cracks
Repair any cracks in the ceilings and walls. They send a red flag to buyers that there may be something wrong with the foundation. Even if you know the foundation is sound, you don’t want cracks scaring off potential buyers needlessly.
Learning how to stage a home is important, but there is no need to get carried away and spend beyond your comfort level. Do your best to present the home in way that will appeal to the broadest number of potential.
At Landmark Title, we work with residential realtors and their clients providing escrow and title services. If you have any questions or need assistance, contact our office at (602) 768-2800 or visit our website.