Written by McCall Robison | Last Updated October 31st, 2019McCall Robison is a Senior Content Marketing Strategist who is passionate about content marketing and SEO. She frequently writes about business, finance, and home-related topics. She currently manages a variety of BestCompany.com blogs.
Are you looking to stage a house to make it look its best in order to sell? Do you need to sell fast to save for your next house? According to Professional Staging, a whopping 81 percent of buyers agree that home staging makes it easier to visualize the property for sale as their future home. Not to mention that after staging, a house will spend approximately 73 percent less time on the market.
Home staging is a great way to ensure your house is appealing to buyers and will sell quickly. But that doesn’t mean you have to hire a professional home stager. Although it can seem overwhelming, you can still stage your house effectively on your own. We asked the experts for their best home staging advice. With these professional tips, you’ll know exactly how to guarantee buyers will see themselves in your home.
An experienced Realtor, Barry Richards, emphasizes how important decluttering is for house staging. Whether it is too many bold or personal decorations hanging from the walls or too much furniture, having a simplified environment is going to make it easier on the buyer. Richards explains this is often the case because “bold colors and unique decorations in a home will stand in the way of buyers with different tastes.” You want to ensure your tastes and possessions aren’t going to make it difficult for the buyer to “take emotional possession of a home.” Buyers want that freedom to envision themselves in the home, and it is easier to do that with “neutral colors and lack of personal pictures and possessions.” Give the buyer room to imagine!
Stick to the Basics
Realtor Michael Kelczewski states that a house presentation shouldn’t be “busy.” He expands, “Staging supports the creative envisioning of a prospective buyer. The objective jogs home ownership imagination, so attempt to place objects or furniture accordingly. Common mistakes over-stage a home, creating a “busy” presentation. I suggest sticking to the basic furniture, keeping attention to the property.” Having a simple presentation will, as Kelczewski explained, allow buyers to imagine what they would do with the house if they chose to go through with the purchase. You don’t want to have such a “busy” presentation that the only thing a buyer can see is what you have done with the home.
Identify the Most Important Rooms
Professional home stager and Realtor, Robin Leigh advises potential sellers to realize that “the most impactful rooms to stage for maximum appeal and scalability are the main rooms of the house, the living and dining rooms, the master bedroom and bath, and the kitchen and nook areas.” Leigh also explains that “the kitchen can get away with a minimal amount of accessories and bar stools at the counter; it just shouldn't be left bare.” And most importantly, a seller should “stage the first rooms a buyer walks into. That is where they connect to the property.” First impressions go a long way with buyers. If they fall in love with the first rooms they see, it is more likely they are going to connect with the rest of the house.
Remember the Exterior
Evan Roberts, a Real Estate and Property Manager with Dependable Homebuyers, tells us to focus on the exterior and “curb appeal.” Roberts’ experience has shown that the exterior “appeal has a high impact on sales price, and staging the front of the house often costs the least.” He advises sellers to “spread new mulch in the garden, set up rocking chairs on the porch,” and add a ‘welcome home’ sign somewhere in the front yard to create “a welcoming start to a buyer's showing.” Roberts ends by telling sellers to consider setting up flower planters on either side of the front door. He also thinks it’s an added touch if the color of the flowers matches the front door because it “adds a lot of character to a home's curb appeal.”
Real estate professional Tara Nelson agrees that the exterior of the home is just as important as the interior. She specifically advises sellers to make the porch inviting, clean up the yard, and make the outside of the house feel homey.
Remove Personalized Wallpaper
Professional property stylist Karen Gray-Plaisted explains a specific and common mistake among sellers is not removing personal wallpaper. Although it may be a cute addition to your home, it most likely isn’t going to resonate with potential buyers. Buyers want to personalize things such as the wallpaper by themselves. That might also be a roadblock in their decision process because it screams “extra work” for them if they do decide to buy the property. What we are seeing time and time again from the experts is that depersonalizing your home to an extent is an essential home staging tip.
Don’t Forget the Fireplace (If Applicable)
Jeff Miller, co-founder of the AE Home group real estate team in Maryland, advises home stagers to consider the fireplace. He says “everyone who tours your home sees [a room with a fireplace] as a gathering spot for all their friends and family. You need to make this room look inviting so that they can imagine making future memories in your home.” Miller explains his “go-to staging tool for the mantel is candles. You can buy a set of varying heights to add dimension for a low cost.” He also adds that finding a candle that matches the style and color of the room’s decor is a way to create “a consistent pallet.”
Make the Bathroom a Priority
Jessica Klingbaum, a real estate agent in New York City, draws our attention to how important the bathroom is to the selling of a house. You can’t, or more so you shouldn’t, go through the home staging process without making sure your bathroom looks pristine. Bathrooms can quickly and easily turn someone either on or off to the house, so it is important to take care of the grimy work. No one wants to buy a house with a less than spotless bathroom. “Re-caulk the tile, scrub the entire bathroom from top to bottom to make it sparkle and shine (as much as possible), reglaze your bathtub and/or tile, etc.” Anything you can do to make the bathroom more appealing is going to be worth it. Potential buyers will notice.
Consider Introducing a Scent (Without Going Overboard)
Klingbaum also adds that it is important for your house to have a good smell that puts the buyer at ease and creates a homey atmosphere. She recommends using essential oils to create an immediate gratification the second the potential buyer walks through the door. This would also be a helpful tip to implement throughout the rest of the house, not just in the front room. The bathroom, for example, would be another perfect place to have some kind of diffuser or candle to make the room smell pleasant and seem cleaner and fresher. However, make sure you don’t have so many smells that it becomes overwhelming. Stick with the same subtle fragrance, and place it sparingly throughout the rest of the house.
Create a Calm Atmosphere
George Roser, Broker and Real Estate Agent, tells us another way to create an inviting atmosphere is to play soft music. Roser explains that it “not only sets a relaxing mood, but it helps to drown out any unexpected noise that may appear outside.” This would help keep the potential buyer focused and unaffected by possible distractions. But as Roser suggested, make sure it’s soft music; you don’t want to make it seem like you’re trying too hard or make it difficult to hear. The art of subtlety goes into almost every home staging tip.
Let Less Be More
In the event that your home is already vacant, Realtor Bill Golden explains “staging can help, but it isn’t always necessary,” especially if the only way to fully stage the home is to poorly furnish it in a hurry. If you don’t have enough furniture and belongings to fill the home, consider using that to your advantage by focusing on other parts of the home, such as freshly painted walls or shiny wood floors. Allowing the home to be less “busy” will accentuate the other less obvious features of your home and create a more spacious area. This will also give buyers more of an opportunity to imagine their own furniture and belongs in the house. Lastly, just because your house is vacant doesn’t mean you can’t use the above tips to help stage your house just as effectively as a fully furnished house.
We hope these tips give you an idea of what home staging tips are going to be the most successful in selling your home. Once you have sold the old house and are starting to prepare the new one, consider looking into the best home warranty companies to protect your systems and appliances. This will not only be useful to protect your home, but if you ever have to home stage again in the future, you won't have to worry about replacing anything because your systems and appliances will be covered. Be aware of this and other most worthwhile home investments and purchases because it will definitely save you in the long run.