Properly staging your home might cost a little money but it’s almost certain to sell for more money and faster. Can you really afford not to prepare your house for sale? When you’re looking for your next house, don’t you want to see it at its best? A 2017 National Association of Realtors Report found that both buyer and seller agents see real value is staging your home. A full 77% of buyer agents find a staged home makes it easier for buyers to visualize the place as their own. Twenty one percent of seller agents say that home staging increases the value of a home between 6% and 10%, and 39% agree that it greatly decreases the total amount of time a home is on the market.
Home staging doesn’t need to be expensive. Rather than expensive remodeling or additions, staging is about highlighting and decorating in a way that extenuates your home’s most impressive features in a way that makes buyers want to live there. However, staging is different from interior design. Interior design is about capturing your own tastes and highlighting your lifestyle. Staging is about depersonalizing the living space in a way that appeals to a broad cross section of people.
Because it’s depersonalizing, you may find this difficult and need some help from an outsider such as your listing agent. Here are the five most important staging improvements you want to make.
Declutter. This about demonstrating that your house has ample space and open room for a family or entertaining depending on the buyer’s lifestyle. Don’t limit this to the open space in rooms. And don’t just stuff everything into the closets and drawers. You want to declutter those closets, remove extra furniture, remove personal pictures, and knickknacks. More than likely, you’ll need to rent a storage shed temporarily.
Update finishes. Once you have the extra furniture and clutter out of the way, it’s easier to paint walls that are scuffed up, have lost their luster, or are just the wrong color. That grayish-blue alcove representing your dark period isn’t going to appeal to many buyers. Paint the walls in all of the rooms that matter the most – living room, kitchen, and master bedroom. If you have a flare for colors that stand out, you probably want to tone things down with neutral colors. This is also a good time to re-caulk, scrub grout, and replace old drawer and cupboard hardware.
Add lighting. Replace burned out and low wattage bulbs with higher wattage bulbs. Clean the windows and open the blinds. People like brightly lit areas. Well-lit areas also look larger. You can enhance both natural and artificial lighting with mirrors and shiny, chrome-finished accents. Of course, all that light means you’ll need to do a deep cleaning. Keep things looking new by putting out the guest towels in the bathrooms.
Curb appeal. You want prospective buyers to be excited about what they’ll find when the walk in. First impressions count. Mow the lawn, pressure wash sidewalks and cement porches, touch-up chipping paint, plant some flowers or other season appropriate plants, and clean patio furniture (remove some if you have too much).
Use all of your space. While you want to declutter, don’t shove everything into an unused bedroom or other space. If you have extra or unused space, you want it to stand out. Add an umbrella stand and coat rack or even a seat to remove shoes to a large foyer to show that it’s not wasted space. A writing or computer desk with a reading lamp in a seldom-used corner adds light and shows functionality.
Add bonus space. If you have a large dining space with a large table, take out a leaf or two from the table. Set the table with your best polished tableware to show that it’s family friendly or a great home for a dinner party.
Every real estate agent will tell you to keep your home show-ready. Because a staged home is likely to sell faster, you’ll need to keep it in tiptop shape for a shorter period of time. If you’ve ever wanted to try a weekly or semi-weekly maid service, this is the ideal time. Another idea is a robotic vacuum that you can take with you to your next home. At the very least, follow a daily housekeeping “To-do List”. You’ll soon receive the offer you expect for your house.
Please comment below with your home staging ideas. Also, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all experience levels with residential real estate. Please email your questions, inquiries, or article ideas to [email protected].
Author bio: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and writing about real estate investing for 12 years. He also draws upon 30 plus years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives at Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination, a few short miles from a national forest. With the Pacific Ocean a couple of miles in the opposite direction.
Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 30 years and writing about real estate investing for seven years with articles listed on Yahoo Finance, Benzinga, and uRBN. Brian is a regular contributor at Realty Biz News