“Love at first sight.” “First impressions are the most important.” Seasoned experts in the real estate industry know by now that when it comes to selling a house, people largely rely on what they see first. Before they ask questions about the property or find out any crucial details, they will either be intrigued or turned off by what a property looks like. This is where staging comes in. Home staging is preparing a residence to be sold; the main goal being to make the home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers. Staging a home is essential to reeling in buyers and generating interest in your property. A well-staged home shows off its potential: it will be full enough to generate a homey feeling, yet sparse enough to allow the potential buyer to imagine putting their own personal design touches to the home. Here are the Top 10 Staging Tips to make sure your property will have buyers lined up around the block.
1. Don’t Underestimate Curb Appeal
Clearly, the outside of the house will be the first thing your potential buyers will see. It’s important to make the outside of the house attractive so that it will entice the buyers to see the inside. Make sure the outside is painted in neutral colors complimentary to the structure. Also, power wash the siding and walkways, wash the front windows, hang easy-to-read house numbers, make sure the yard is as beautifully landscaped as possible, with flowers and a freshly mowed lawn, and have an inviting porch with a welcome mat and a piece or two of small furniture, if there’s room.
2. Clean House!
If there’s anything that will put off a potential buyer, it’s dirt or clutter. Make sure the house is sparkling clean. Clean floors and walls, dust furniture and accents, and beware of pet odor. If previous owners had pets, make sure the entire home is deodorized. When it comes to staging, clutter is your enemy. Remove half of the furnishings in the house to make it look bigger – only include items you can’t live without. Also, be careful to pack away personal items. You want buyers to see your property as their future home, not your current home.
3. Finish What You Started
Another mistake that can scare off buyers is to leave projects unfinished. The last thing that potential buyers want to see when they do a walk-through of the property are plastic sheet drops, sawdust and tools scattered everywhere. Make sure your rehab is thorough and complete. If there are any repairs to be made or upgrades to be installed, make sure all work is complete before putting the house on the market. This includes wood repairs, carpet installation, appliance upgrades and any repairs or upgrades made to the structure of the house.
4. Musical Chairs… and Tables and Lamps
It’s important to focus on how the furniture is staged in each room. Make sure only the essentials remain in the room. Move around the furniture, artwork and accessories to best show off the room. Many people think it’s better to move tables and chairs against the walls to make the room seem larger, but this is a common mistake. You can utilize the negative space by floating furniture away from the walls, which will make the room appear larger. Re-position sofas and chairs into cozy, conversational groups. It is also important to take into consideration the flow of one room into another. Make sure you position furniture in the room to create an easy flow of traffic in and out of the room.
5. Color Me Neutral
When it comes to painting rooms, there are many tricks that can make the house much more attractive. When it comes to larger living spaces, such as living and family rooms, keep the tone a warm, neutral color. Bold colors in large spaces tend to reduce offers. You can also use paint to make a room appear larger than it is. By painting the adjacent room the same color, it will make the rooms seem like one big space. You can also paint the walls the same color as the drapery in smaller spaces to create the illusion of more space. When it comes to smaller rooms, such as bathrooms or bedrooms, you have more freedom to use darker colors. Deeper tones can make a smaller space more intimate, dramatic or cozy. You can also give a room a more interesting accent by painting only one wall, rather than all four.
6. Let There Be Light
The lighting in a home can make or break a sale. Increase the wattage in lamps and fixtures to make the home seem more inviting and warm. The standard is to aim for 100 watts per 50 square feet in an area. Other accents, such as a fire in a fireplace, can give the room more appealing lighting and ambiance. Another trick to brighten a space: hang a mirror on the wall opposite a window. This can almost double the light in the room and make the room appear larger. Lighting up the corners in a room can also make the room appear larger. In your property, focus on three kinds of lighting: ambient (overhead), accent (table or wall lighting) and task lighting (under-cabinet fixtures, or reading lamps).
7. Accent Accordingly
When approaching room accents, such as wall hangings and other accessories, remember that less is more. You don’t want any of the rooms to have a cluttered look. Make sure you vary wall hangings and that they’re hung strategically to show off the room rather than call attention to themselves. When it comes to accessories, such as vases, pots or other items, they’re best staged in odd numbers, particularly in threes. Make sure they vary in width and height and are staggered in a triangle to give the furniture an intriguing accent. When accenting a room with neutral colors, you have liberty to choose accents with bold colors. You can also use accents to your advantage, especially when you’re trying to sell your property during a particular season. For example, if you’re selling in the spring, you can accent the home with fresh flowers, or holly berries in the winter. Accents can also help hide a useless space, such as an unfinished basement. A basement can be spruced up by draping fabric on the walls and laying down padding and sofa cushions to give the impression of a meditation room or a yoga studio.
8. Bedroom Staging
Make sure you create a gender-neutral master bedroom to increase appeal across the board. Accent the bed with beautiful linens in soft colors. If the room no longer has a bed, you can create the illusion by simply purchasing a bed frame and using an air mattress disguised with well-chosen linens. With a bedroom, make sure you show off an empty closet. A closet and storage space are excellent selling points, and appear larger when vacant of any personal items.
9. Bathroom Staging
If it’s been a while since the bathroom had an upgrade, have the tile professionally painted to look brand new. You might want to consider installing a pedestal sink instead of a cabinet sink to create the illusion of more space. You can also accessorize a bathroom to give it the appearance of a welcoming spa: rolled-up towels, decorative baskets and fresh soaps work very well.
10. Kitchen and Dining Room Staging
Make sure the appliances, cabinets and counter tops match in a complimentary way. Granite counter tops are a very popular accent in modern kitchens. Black appliances look better with stained wood cabinets, whereas white appliances can look better with black or white cabinets. Set up the dining room with a table, chairs and place settings to make it more visually appealing, giving the room a homey feel.
If you follow these home staging tips, you can significantly decrease the amount of time your home will last on the real estate market. Learn how our entire system works by attending our next webinar.