How to Stage Your Home to Sell
From decluttering to capturing striking photos to simply changing lightbulbs, there are countless easy ways to get your house noticed on the market. Check out these tips and tricks to make your home stand out in a sea of listings.
Putting your home on the market can be stressful, but with these helpful hints, you’ll have it staged for success in no time. Whether you turn to a professional or incorporate some home staging elements yourself, these tips will help you achieve the best listing. Some of the simplest ways to stage a home actually involve little output of money. There are many easy ways you can add value to your home and appeal to buyers, with updates as easy as sweeping the sidewalk or swapping old carpet for fresh flooring. Check out our staging advice that will help sell your house faster than you thought possible.
Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.
Curb Appeal is Key
When it comes to selling your house, first impressions are everything. Potential buyers make snap decisions about a home the moment they lay eyes on it, so make sure yours is in tip-top shape. Many home improvement projects don’t return your money, but Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) realtor Travis Farris says that curb appeal is worth “tens of thousands of dollars.” If you’re going to remember any of these tips, make it this one.
There are tons of simple tactics that can enhance your curb appeal—sweeping the front stoop, cleaning windows, covering rocks with fresh mulch, or painting your front door a striking color are all little details that add up to the overall first impression of your home. Realtor Mike Fuchs of Weichert Realtors says that he has pulled up to homes with buyers where the front yard was full of dandelions, and they wouldn’t even step inside. “The house could be immaculate on the inside, but when you start from a negative perception like this, you have so much to overcome,” he says. Fuchs likes to keep in mind the word “welcoming” when preparing a home for sale. “Even something simple, like setting a rocking chair with a plant on the front porch, makes the buyer feel welcome.” Attention to detail is essential when staging your house.
Nothing turns potential buyers off like trashed carpet or unappealing paint. Not only does replacing flooring and paint make a drastic difference in a space, but it’s one of the cheapest home improvement projects you can do yourself. “If you look at the house and see the percentage of surface area that’s paint and floor, there’s no disguising it,” says Fuchs. “Any house that I’ve had where the seller refused to update bad carpet or to paint, the house sat on the market, even if it was priced accordingly.” Don’t ignore cosmetic changes that need to be made—they could be the determining factor that keeps your house from selling.
Less is more, especially when you’re staging your house. Use selling your home as an opportunity to ditch things you’ve been meaning to for years. An organized, neutral space allows potential buyers to envision adding their own personal style to the home. “Big, dark, heavy furniture will carry that feeling through the house,” says Farris, “If you’re planning on getting rid of it when you move, do it now!” Lightening a space is crucial to appealing to buyers. If your house doesn’t have a lot of windows or natural light, Fuchs has a solution for you: “Put in new LED lightbulbs to brighten up the space. Walking into a dark house is a tough thing to overcome,” he says. Swapping out your bulbs is a super simple way to avoid this potential deal breaker.
Appeal to Emotions
Buying a home is a personal experience, so treat it as such. Fuchs says he makes the distinction between the house-buying process and the experience by incorporating personal touches. “For open houses, often I like to do cheese and wine pairings,” he says. “Obviously there are numbers involved—people want a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms, but you’re still appealing emotionally to a person. If they walk through a house that feels like home, it’ll stand out from a lot of houses on the market.” Farris says sometimes they bake cookies to give off that aroma in the home. Details like these set houses apart and help buyers envision themselves living there.
Farris recommends taking into consideration the lifestyle that goes along with the location of the home. “We want to fully encompass the area where the home is so we can cater staging to that lifestyle,” he says. Whether that means you incorporate a more urban or traditional theme into your space, it has a definite impact. When it comes to staging, Farris believes symmetry, spacing, and a consistent theme are essential elements.
Professional photography is a must in today’s real estate environment. In such a visual age, appealing photos are the best way to get your home’s listing noticed. Fuchs recommends including fun descriptions of the photos so that buyers better understand all of the features that the home has to offer. To really stand out, you can incorporate lifestyle photos and virtual tours into your listings like BHGRE does. You know what they say—a picture is worth a thousand words.
Once your pictures and curb appeal have gotten them inside, buyers are focused on their immediate reaction to the space. From smell to feeling to visual cues, cleanliness is critical. An overall deep cleaning of a house is affordable and makes a world of difference in buyers’ impression of the space. It seems brighter when windows are cleaned and feels homier when it smells fresh. Don't underestimate the power of a mop and some cleaning spray!
The pressure of trying to sell a house can cause homeowners to go to extreme measures, but we’ve never seen attention-grabbing tactics quite like these before. The Instagram account @PleaseHateTheseThings shared these hilarious photos of actual MLS listings where the owners turned to costumes to make a staging splash. Here you can see a giant unicorn reading on a couch and showering, while a shark cooks and takes a nap. Regardless of how these creative staging tactics add to the home's appeal for you, it’s sure to give you a good laugh. We love these homeowners' humor!