Home Staging Tips and Ideas
When people decide to list their house for sale, it goes without saying that they would like to sell the place as soon as possible. In order to get their asking price, or close to it, the home needs to look its best. Here are the top DIY home staging tips to get your home sold quickly.
Heavy Emphasis on Staging the Outside
Make the porch inviting – Regardless of how small or how large yours may be, you can do some things to improve its look. Start by putting out some colorful plants & flowers and getting a new doormat. If there is ample room, add one or two pieces of furniture like a chair and a small side table. It is also a good idea to replace the light bulbs on the front porch. Keep the lights on at all times, in case potential buyers drive by at night. Add some solar lights along the walkway to make it more appealing.
Improve the overall curb appeal of the property – Most real estate agents place a lot of emphasis on curb appeal, and for good reason. If people don’t like the way the home looks on the outside, they will likely never make an appointment to visit the home. Attract more potential buyers and spend some time cleaning up outside by using these best practices:
- Hang new house numbers in a clear-to-see place
- Clean all windows, especially the windows at the front of the residence
- Keep the lawn mowed
- Clean the patio furniture
- Wash off the driveway and walkway with a pressure washer
- Repaint the front door
Getting the house ready based on the season can pay big dividends. For example, using winter curb appeal ideas can help you attract the right buyer in the cold months surrounding the holidays. Similarly, in order to improve the summer curb appeal of your house, there are specific tactics that work better during warmer months.
Remove the clutter – Staging and selling a cluttered house will be much easier with fewer items. However, it can be difficult to move the clutter out of the way if you have limited space. You may have to make a short-term investment in a private storage facility in order to move some of your belongings out of the way. Getting rid of clutter can mean multiple things. It could mean cleaning off the kitchen and bathroom counters in order to create the appearance of more space. It could also mean taking some (or several) items out of closets to make the closet seem larger.
Move to Staging the Inside
Clean everything – Each and every surface throughout the house needs to look in top shape. Floors and windows are a given, but you need to go deeper than that. Countertops, doors, tile, carpets, hardwood floors, sinks, tubs, toilets, and faucets all need to look as fresh as possible. A sniff test is a must! If you don’t have time consider bringing in a professional cleaning crew.
Add some pizazz to the table – A nice dining room table can be a boring spot. Leaving it bare makes it look uninviting while a flower arrangement is passé. Try using various sizes of vases, lined on a runner, down the middle of the table.
Move the furniture around – In the living room, place items in pairs, such as chairs, lamps, and sofas. Get the items away from the wall and in a group to create a place for people to sit and chat.
Make the master bedroom neutral – Decorating the main bedroom for either a woman or a man is a bad idea. Since you don’t know the tastes and intentions of the buyers, it is better to stick with a neutral color scheme. Keep the linens clean, provide tasteful artwork and remove any item that puts off a personal vibe.
Pay special attention to all the floors – All the floors in the house need to be cleaned. This means applying steam cleaning to any carpets, waxing wood floors, and polishing tile. If you have the funds you may wish to refinish any hardwood floor to give it a fresh appearance. If you choose not to refinish them, some small rugs can help improve the look at a smaller cost.
Keep the closets open – Closet space can be a deciding factor for many buyers. Whether it is a linen closet in the bathroom or a walk-in closet in the main bedroom, having ample storage space can be crucial. It is smart to have at least 20% of the closet space available when people view the house. This may mean that you have to store some clothes or other items at an offsite place.
Make each room have a purpose – If you have a spare room that acts as a makeshift storage space, it would be wise to remove the extra items and make a new purpose for the room. Perhaps it can be a guest bedroom for extended relatives, a study to perform extra work after hours, a game room for entertaining guests, or a playroom for kids. While you can’t appeal to everyone’s tastes, you only need to convince one able buyer that this is the best house for them.
Put away the kid’s items – If you have young children, it may seem normal to leave toys and other items out for expectant parents. However, that may backfire. New or growing families may see it as a sign that the house is too small and tough to keep clean. Put everything away, even in the kids’ rooms when you are selling a house with kids.
Allow potential buyers to look all over – Open up doors and add accents throughout the house to draw attention to each and every area. Artwork, flower vases, small area rugs, and window chairs will allow people to look through rooms and imagine their new lives.
Create space with a small sink – a large sink with a storage cabinet beneath can look nice but take up needed space in a tiny bathroom. You can replace it with a pedestal-style sink and open up some room.
Neutral colors work best – if you are going to repaint any major room, such as the kitchen or living room, don’t use the latest fad color. Choose neutral tones that will blend with everything from furniture to artwork to drapes.
Remove any smells related to pets – If you have indoor pets, you need to make sure that the house does not smell like a giant furball. Steam clean any carpets or rugs. You also want to vigorously vacuum and wash all floors to cut down on odors.
Maximize all space to the best of your ability – Some homes with stairs may have unused areas beneath the stairwell. Others may have a nook in a corner that seems like wasted space. Putting a small desk, lamp, or chair on the spot, or setting up a communication center with a corkboard and calendars, can create a usable area that improves efficiency.
Scrutinizing your house before you sell will improve your chances of a faster sale. As a bonus, you could also get a better price by paying attention to the right details.
Ideas for Staging a Vacant House for Sale
The previous guidance applies mainly to people currently living in a house and finds themselves in need of selling the place. However, a vacant house presents different challenges. Remember that a person is not looking to buy a place to simply hold their stuff. They are hoping to find a home. A place that the next owner will consider their safe place away from the worries of the world. The next group of recommendations will help you make a completely vacant house look lived-in and welcoming.
Great Curb Appeal
A vacant house will not have much to attract buyers. This means the place needs to look great for pictures and when people do the first drive-by.
Take some time to inspect the entire perimeter of the yard and all of the exterior walls and windows. Repair any glaring problem such as a cracked window, peeling paint on the trim, holes in gutters, or faded shutters. Curb appeal is vital when selling your house!
Tidy Up the Yard
Along with the items mentioned above, you will need to tidy up the yard. This means cutting the grass, raking up any leaves, cutting low-hanging branches near the house, and trimming back the hedges. It also means removing any unwanted items from the yard.
If you have any type of garden, add fresh mulch and replace any dead plants or flowers with new, colorful flowers.
Emphasize the Interior Benefits
Most homes have a few features that stand out to the owners and potential new buyers. Whether it is a classical fireplace, a large kitchen, beautiful hardwood floors, or an open room plan, you need to draw attention to the thing that is most likely to help sell the house.
Since the house is vacant, it may be appealing to some buyers. However, most people would like to see how major items appear in the various rooms. The size of the room can be difficult to judge when it is empty. Consider a piece or two of furniture in each room. A sofa in the living room, a bed in each bedroom, and just a table in the dining room can all add a major impact to the home in general. And remember to put an appropriate size bed in each bedroom. In other words, a queen or king size bed should be used in the master bedroom instead of a single or double bed which would be better suited for other rooms.
With a vacant house, there is nothing to draw attention away from small details. Check to make sure that hinges, door pulls and door handles all need to be in great shape. Replace any that are broken or worn out. For the items that work correctly, use polish to clean them up and add a fresh look.
With the majority of furniture and décor out of the way, this is a great time to touch up any scuffs and scratches on the walls. You can also remove nails from the walls that previously held artwork, photos, and other decorations and fill the nail holes with spackle. The paint touch-up and removal of nails will make the walls look clean & crisp while also adding the smell of fresh paint to the house.
Add Small Accessories to Major Areas
Although the house is empty, this does not mean you cannot add a few items for style and appearance. For instance, add a clean colorful towel in the bathroom. A nice potted plant next to a window in the living room adds a nice touch. Some decorative pillows on the sofa can also add some flair. If the house has a foyer at the front door, a coat rack can add a stylish feel to the home. And in the kitchen, a decorative jar with pasta is a nice touch.
Home Staging Ideas From The Professionals
A whole industry has developed in recent years centered on home staging. To make sure our list was complete with not only quality information but timely recommendations as well, we contacted some of the best in the business for their input. Below is a brief profile of each of them.
First, we have suggestions offered by Diana Hadchity Chedrawy, recognized internationally for her amazing work as both designer and decorator. Through her magazine Leovan Design, Diana shares her inspiration for putting together wonderful stages for a home as well as advice from her own experiences.
Our next contributor is Lorrie White, founder and current owner of White’s Cleaning & Decorating. Thanks to hard work and attention to detail, Lorrie currently enjoys a referrals-only business model. She provides clients with her expertise in home staging and getting them in top shape before a sale.
The third contribution comes from the owner of Redesign4more, Red Barrinuevo. Relying on years of work in management as well as sales, Red has developed into a leading expert in home staging.
Diana Hadchity Chedrawy | International Designer and Decorator
Diana Hadchity Chedrawy is a designer and decorator, writer, teacher, and the owner and publisher of Leovan Design. As a professional design consultant, Diana started Leovan Design hoping to inspire others by writing informative articles that share her design tips and ideas. Diana is regularly interviewed to provide her insights on design trends and has been featured in lifestyle magazines, e-books, and on design manufacturers websites.
Importance of Staging
Despite the perception that a nice house in a good location will sell itself, statistics show that staged homes sell in half the time of non-staged. Home staging will make your house look more attractive, functional, and welcoming, and highlight some of its best features to ensure it appeals to the highest number of potential buyers. Staging is what sells a house both inside and outside because within the first few seconds of walking into a property, buyers form an opinion on whether they want to buy the house or not.
Curb appeal is vital to attracting buyers. The exterior of your house will be the first impression buyers get of your property and may determine their interest in viewing the inside of your house. Your front yard should have neatly trimmed bushes, hedges and trees, mulched beds, and a weeded and properly maintained lawn. Make your front porch or entryway more inviting by adding some comfortable outdoor furniture. For the spring, summer, and fall seasons you can plant some attractive annuals or perennials in flowerbeds. During the winter season add large pots of hardy winter plants on your front porch or entryway or an attractive seasonal wreath on your front door.
Depersonalize, Clean, and De-Clutter
Depersonalizing your house is one of the most essential steps in the home staging process as it makes it easier for buyers to visualize themselves living in the house they are viewing. Remove any objects that convey strong political or religious beliefs. Keep your house décor neutral: remove all sentimental items such as trophies and souvenirs, family heirlooms, certificates, and exotic art pieces. De-clutter and clean your entire house both inside and outside. Focus on the kitchen, bathrooms, and floor. Make sure to leave all your bedroom closets clean and tidy. A good rule is to keep your closets ¼ full. Make your entryway feel as spacious as possible by clearing out anything that’s not being used every day. Consider renting a storage unit to temporarily store your personal items. Remove all kids and pet toys before any home showings. Air out your house before viewings to eliminate any pet, smoke, or cooking odors.
Update your House
Update your house and make any needed repairs. Buyers want to feel that the house they are viewing has been well maintained. Complete any repairs required to windows, siding, fences, roof, garage doors, or the driveway. Repaint or stain the front porch or deck flooring as needed. Replace your roof shingles if they are starting to curl up or coming loose. Repair and fix as needed: Nicks and cracks in walls, and plumbing leaks. Re-stain or refinish your kitchen cabinets if they are still in good condition and don’t need replacing. Replace or refinish the bathtub, shower, toilet, and sink in your bathrooms if they are in need of repair or outdated. Update your house flooring if needed. Hardwood floors and tiles are a good choice for adding value and appeal to your house. Today’s buyers will generally prefer a house that is carpet free.
Consider repainting your house with warm, neutral colors to make it appealing to the highest number of potential buyers. Select three colors or less when repainting your house. Repaint the walls, moldings, baseboards, and trims if necessary. Add bold colors to your property with accessories (pillows, wall art). Remove any outdated wallpaper, and never paint over wallpaper
Each room in your house should look inviting and spacious. Rearrange your living room furniture in a symmetrical arrangement to create an inviting seating area. Symmetrical arrangements will open a space and make it seem more spacious. Furniture should be floating away from walls. Remove any extra furniture that makes a space look small and cluttered. Remove pieces of furniture that block walkways. Create clean lines and arrange furniture in each room around a central focal point (e.g. fireplace in the living room). Decorate the coffee table with magazines, books, a vase of fresh flowers, or a few tiny candles to create a relaxing atmosphere. Add a throw blanket to a couch for a relaxed, lived-in feel. Set the dining room table with attractive linens and dishes.
Proper lighting can change the look of your house and make it look more inviting and appealing to buyers. Turn on all the lights in your house and use as much natural light as possible by opening drapes, curtains, blinds, and shades before a showing. Make sure your house lighting is functional and properly balanced with ambient, task, and accent lighting. Add table lamps and floor lamps to brighten up dark rooms or corners.
Lorrie White | Central New York Home Staging Professional
Lorrie White (a.k.a. “The Secret Weapon”) is a highly referred business owner/home staging professional in Central New York. With over 20 years of experience and now a blazing trail of SOLD listings behind her, Lorrie continues on with her mission to compassionately guide home sellers through the overwhelming process of effectively preparing their home for the Real Estate market. To learn more, visit Lorrie’s website at http://www.stageitwithlorrie.shutterfly.com/.
Living in a home and staging a home for sale are two entirely different things. Staging is a strategic form of marketing and every detail is absolutely crucial when presenting the listing to a large mass of potential buyers.
Through the years, I have witnessed some incredible sales results following home staging, but this detailed process is so much more than simply rearranging furniture, baking cookies before a showing, and adding fresh flowers to the table.
The Magic Is In The Details
Aside from the well-known suggestions that are most commonly discussed and will always be very important (clean, paint, organize, declutter, depersonalize), I would like to now dig a little deeper and share some additional ideas that have proven time and time again to be extremely effective in the fast sale of many Real Estate listings.
Items that are clearly in need of repair such as broken floor/bath tiles, fogged/broken windows, drywall cracks in walls/ceilings, warped deck boards, damaged roof shingles/gutters, and driveways in need of resealing, can give a message to the buyers that the house “needs a lot of work” and has not been properly maintained through the years. The truth is, even if your house is sparkling clean and strategically staged, these concerns left unaddressed could raise a red flag to buyers and potentially result in a much lower offer, if any offer at all.
Interior and exterior light fixtures, kitchen/bathroom faucets, cabinetry knobs/handles, vanity mirrors, and front door handles are often referred to as the ‘jewelry’ of the house. If these items appear to be too taste-specific or a bit outdated for your buying audience, this could disrupt their emotional connection to the space. Even the slightest inexpensive updates can make a huge impact on your strategic Real Estate presentation, especially in the online photographs. Please also keep in mind that kitchens and bathrooms are key rooms and are known to play a large role in selling houses, so updating older kitchen appliances and/or bath vanities & sink tops is always something that is certainly worth considering.
Gleaming hardwood floors are like ‘diamonds’ in Real Estate. If you have valuable hardwood flooring hiding beneath large area rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting, it is now time to show off these precious diamonds! Not only does exposing hardwood floors add value in the eyes of the buyers but it will also visually improve the overall flow and open up the square footage. If these floors are in need of refinishing, this investment goes a long way and could serve you very well in the end.
This is something that is regularly discussed in many of my staging consultations. Wallpaper is either love it or hate it for most buyers and can often appear to be too taste specific and just simply ‘too much work’ for the buyer to remove before they can even move in. Having this removed for them ahead of time immediately increases the chances of your listing now appealing to a broader range of buyers, which could then result in a better offer and a much faster sale.
In time, wall to wall carpeting may begin to loosen. When this happens, it creates a wave or ripple effect on the carpet in some areas. This does not mean that it all needs to be replaced. It needs to be ‘stretched’. Carpet stretching is a beneficial service offered by many carpet companies and it absolutely makes a noticeable difference to the overall appearance. Once the carpets are stretched, have them professionally cleaned. These subtle changes can really help to set the stage in a big way! If you are replacing the carpeting for your buyers due to age, wear or taste specific color, choose a warm, neutral tone and run the same color throughout all areas that are being replaced. Too many different carpet colors/styles in each living space can negatively affect the visual flow by causing the overall floor plan of the house to feel ‘choppy’. A listing that offers a flowing neutral canvas sets the stage for a fresh, inviting new living space with endless possibilities!
It is the right amount of details, all combined together in a strategic fashion, that ultimately creates the perfect recipe for a very successful Real Estate presentation. Set the stage, and happy selling!!
Red Barrinuevo | Award-Winning Home Stager & Redesigner
Red Barrinuevo is a Canadian Certified Staging Professional and the Technical Staging Editor for Aspired Home Magazine. He is the recipient of numerous home staging awards and was picked as RESA’s Top Professional Stager of Canada for 2016. He has worked with hundreds of Real Estate Brokers, Investors, Real Estate Agents, and has helped homeowners showcase their homes at their best when it is time to sell. Click here to know more about Red Barrinuevo and REDESIGN4MORE Inc. on his site.
8 Ways to Emotionally Connect to Your Buyers
More than furniture placement or the perfect wall colour, home staging is about tapping on the emotions of your buyers to motivate them to buy. Here are some helpful ideas.
Stage it, Don’t Decorate it
Decorating is mostly a personal preference, more of a personal style, which can be a problem for buyers. Staging a house is more than decorating. It’s a marketing technique that focuses on what your buyers are looking for in a house, then realized through proper merchandising and staging to motivate buyers to buy.
When using art, don’t fill every wall. Have some “negative space” to give the eye a place to rest. Restraint calms the eye and gives everything a sense of purpose. A blank wall is a great way to increase anticipation, it keeps the buyers interested, and keeps them longing for more.
Lighting is Important
“Light” and “bright” are keywords that describe what most buyers are looking for in their next house. To achieve a well-lit room, you need natural light, layered with other sources (floor lamps, table lamps, pendants, reading lights, etc.). Together, it creates a positive feel and a feeling of warmth in any room which is important when showcasing your house for sale.
Set the Mood
If you have a gas fireplace, turning it on right before your house showing can give the house a little ambiance. Make sure your thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature for buyers to linger, stay, and appreciate the warmth and comfort of your house.
Add a Splash of Colour
Every color can bring in a certain feeling; it can bring in calmness, relaxation, the right energy, or cheer needed to connect with buyers when showcasing your house for sale. A pop of color can create just the right amount of personality and style. It is one of the most important tools in home staging. Oh, and it looks great on your listing photos too!
Accessories are a Must
When you‘ve done everything, and it feels like something is missing, this means it’s time to accessorize and add more details to pretty it up to achieve that magazine-worthy look that your buyers wanted. These small details make a big difference when buyers are browsing your house. Accessories may be defined as non-essentials, but they are a must in any room.
Focus on Function
Each room should have a clear purpose for buyers. The staging should work as a real-life instruction manual for them on how to maximize the space and function of the whole house. There shouldn’t be a question of where the TV should go? Or will my full sofa fit in the space for example?
Lastly, Allow Your Buyers to Mentally Move-In
Remove anything that can ruin the “moment”. Your personal stuff, your family photos, pet photos, etc. These are distractions that can throw your buyers off. If your buyers cannot see themselves living in your home, then you’ve lost them.
Summing Up Staging Tips To Sell Your House Quick
Home staging is a good way to stand out from the other sellers in the area. If you choose to leave the place empty, you are relying only on price and location as the main selling points. Adding a few key pieces of furniture and some accents for appearance purposes is easy and helps people to see the property as a real house and not just another house.
Additional Seller Resources:
Prepare for a home inspection by Sharon Paxson
3 critical P’s when selling by Conor MacEvilly
Real Estate Pros Who Help With Selling Your Home by Paul Sian