Spring is coming and that means lots of people are getting ready to put their houses on the market. If you’re one of those people and are worried about… well, lots of things, like whether or not you’ll get your asking price, how hard it’s going to be to move all your stuff, all that paperwork, and so on. But there’s one thing you’re probably worried about most: Staging your home for sale. Showing your home to the world can seem overwhelming, but fear not! We are here to help you make some affordable changes to your space that’ll help it sell quick. Check our the dos and don’ts of staging your home.
Do – Clean, Clean, Clean
This one might seem obvious, but don’t underestimate the power of a good cleaning. Nobody wants to buy a home that has stains on the carpet or dirt in the entryway. Yes, those are part of everyday life when you’re living there, but they shouldn’t be when you’re trying to sell your home.
Getting the floors professionally cleaned is a great place to start, even if it’s just on the main floor or living area, because it will be a huge help removing stains and pet odors. Give all the other rooms a good scrub down and pay attention to the spots that you normally skip (under the bed, the awkward corner that’s hard to reach, etc.) because the last thing you want is for someone to spot a dust bunny (or worse!) as their making their way through your home. Be sure to take extra care in the bathrooms. Don’t leave any rings in the toilet or soap scum in the shower. Seriously — it should be so clean you could eat in there by the time you’re done.
DON’T — Forget the Outside
This is literally the first thing that people see, so don’t neglect it. You could have the cleanest, most beautiful home on the inside, but if the outside looks like a mess of tangled weeds there’s a chance it will be a dealbreaker, or in some cases keep buyers from even walking through the door. We recommend planting new bushes and other plants, especially if you’ve lived in your home for years and things are starting to look overgrown. However, be sure to strike a balance between the new and old. New bushes in the front are good, but don’t go overboard and replant everything. In many cases, mature trees are selling points because they provide an extra bit of privacy. If you happen to still have snow where you live be sure you clear a large path to the front door! Remember, first impressions last.
Oh, and don’t think you’re off the hook if you live in an apartment or condo: Be sure to stage your balcony or patio, even if it is teenie tiny. Try adding a small table and a couple chairs to make it seem more usable to potential buyers.
DO — Clear the clutter
In addition to making sure everything is sparkling clean you want to make sure that your space doesn’t look cluttered and overcrowded. Put any toys or miscellaneous papers away and make sure the counters are clear of anything that doesn’t need to be there (like pots, pans, and plates). There are a few exceptions to this rule, like the dining room table and bathroom counter. Styling the dining room table helps make your home appear more livable. If you do this though make sure to put out actual plate settings like you would for a fancy meal. In the bathroom it’s not a bad idea to leave out fresh towels and soap.
Beware of overcrowding a room with furniture that’s too big for the space. Finding the right balance can be tricky, especially in smaller rooms, but it’s doable. Pro Tip: If there are shelves, paint them the same color as the wall to create more depth.
DON’T — Start New Demo Projects
This isn’t Fixer Upper, and you’re not Chip and Joanna. Don’t start tearing up your own home in hopes of a higher listing price. The only time this would be okay is if you’re planning to stay there for at least a few more years and can actually enjoy the new space. However, small changes to your home can make a big difference when it comes down to the final offer. If you’re staging your home for sale, making the investment in updating the hardware on your kitchen cabinets or adding a fresh new color to the walls will make your house seem more modern and comfortable. The best, and easiest way to add color? A product like Tempaint — our peel and stick removable wall covering looks just like paint but goes up in a fraction of the time, and comes down even faster if potential buyers don’t like your new shade.
However you do it, try not get too trendy with your colors. Neutrals tend to be the best bet. Take a look at your furniture too, is there anything that looks like it needs a little TLC? This could be a great opportunity to repurpose something that doesn’t quite go with the room.
DO — Switch it Up
Feel free to move furniture, paintings and accessories around. Just because you bought a chair for your living room doesn’t mean it won’t look great in a new bedroom reading nook. And when you’re thinking about how to set up each room remember that the furniture should be pulled away from the wall, even if that’s not where you normally have it, because it will make the room seem a bit larger. This also creates a focal point and will look like a great place to invite guests.
You might consider moving some of your pictures too. Hanging them lower on the wall than normal can draw buyers’ eyes to other interesting things around the room. Speaking of which, be sure your accessories match the room, and if you’re able to have them pull the eye from one room to the next it will keep buyers interested as they move through your home.
DON’T — Forget the Light
It turns out that many homes don’t have the right light for staging. The goal is to make your home feel welcoming, so increase the wattage in your lamps and light fixtures (100 watts is usually good). You’ll want to use natural light too, so in addition to turning your lights on be sure to also leave the curtains open to let in as much natural light as possible.
DO — Open Up
One of the ways you can make buyers feel more comfortable when you’re staging your home for sale is leaving your closet doors open (after you’ve cleaned and decluttered them of course). Yes, it’s going to be weird to think about strangers looking through your closet space, but try not to focus on that. Closets and other storage areas are big selling points, and leaving them open let’s potential buyers feel less sneaky when they are trying to judge whether or not all their stuff will fit.
DON’T — Leave Awkward Spaces
Every house has a few awkward areas that just aren’t of great use to anybody, but, if you can show buyers how they could use that space it will make a big difference. Don’t just put a plant there to fill it. A small chair and table can transform a small corner into a sitting area, and adding built-in shelves will create more storage.
Also be sure that each room has a clear purpose. If you’ve been using one for storage, it’s time to clear it out and repurpose it as another bedroom or office. If you choose the bedroom route you can easily show people what it could look like by buying a cheap inflatable mattress and some clean sheets and blankets to cover it with.
Remember, it might seem silly to move your furniture, clean everything and change the color of your walls — basically make your house look better than ever — just before you move out of it, but it’s all going to pay off in the end. And while you want to show your home in the best light, it doesn’t have to look like a page out of a magazine. Buyers want to feel like they’ll be at home, so make sure it still looks lived in — just not, too lived in — and hopefully you won’t have to worry as much about whether you’ll get your asking price after all.
Have more tips for staging your home for sale? Share them with us!