Homeowners looking to get the best price for their home are learning that if you want to sell quickly and score big profits, you need to remove clutter and make the place look inviting, not lived in.
Staging your house can help you sell it faster and possibly bring you more money, say many real estate professionals. The cost to stage a home is typically less than 1 percent of the list price and the return is typically 1 to 5 percent over the list price.
Homeowners can hire a staging company, work with a real estate agency that does the staging for its clients or do it themselves. Here are 11 tips for staging your home that will have a positive impact on its price and appeal:
1. Give your home curb appeal
Most buyers start their home search on the Internet. Often their first impression of your home is a photo of the outside. Before you take that photo, be sure you have spruced up the grounds of the house by weeding, mulching, trimming back trees and bushes, and power washing your siding and walkways.
2. Depersonalize and declutter
When buyers come into your house, it’s important they be able to visualize themselves living there. So take down anything personal, including family photos, collections, diplomas or awards, replace them with generic artwork and photos.
3. Clean your house
Make your house shine by cleaning everything including the inside of your appliances, the baseboards and windows. Change your air filters and clean out your gutters. This will show buyers that you do regular maintenance on the house.
4. Get rid of odors
If you’re a smoker or have a pet, it’s important to get rid of odors. Be careful of using air fresheners, because many are too strong and they might suggest you are trying to hide something. Open the windows instead.
5. Neutralize colors
Potential homebuyers might not love the dark purple accent wall in the dining room as much as you do, so it’s best to paint the walls a neutral color before you start showing the house. You don’t have to paint every wall white but it should be a neutral color that will appeal to a variety of people.
6. Turn up the lights
At every open house open every blind and curtain to let in as much light as possible. If a room seems too dark or the lamp is outdated, update the lighting fixture or buy new lamp. Make sure all the light bulbs in your house are working on the day of the open house.
7. Pare down furnishings
Oversized furniture can make a room feel smaller. Furniture is there to help the buyer visualize what the room is used for, but it’s best to minimize the number of pieces so the buyer can envision their own furniture in the room.
8. Accessorize
After you remove all the clutter add some accents such as interesting coffee table books, throw pillows and blankets on the sofa, a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter and matching towels in the bathroom.
9. Make repairs
If there is anything that clearly needs to be repaired or if there are any unfinished projects, you need to take care of them before the open house. No potential buyer wants to see unfinished work inside the house.
10. Clean out the closets and drawers
Potential buyers will open every closet, cabinet, drawer and door. You will want to display as much storage as possible. Use baskets to hold items that are normally just loose in drawers and in closets to make them look less cluttered. Professionals suggest removing 20 to 30 percent of what is inside each closet to show space between items that are hanging up. This will make the closet seem larger.
11. Check the floors
If the carpeting is stained, replace it. If you’re using an old area rug, remove it. If your wooden floors are scratched, cover them with inexpensive area rugs.
Staging a home is key to appealing to prospective buyers.