Remove the Clutter
Staging is most closely associated with decorating, but the premise of staging is actually to highlight all of the home’s attributes and selling points while detracting from its negative aspects. Buyers have a difficult time looking past clutter and mess, and this means that they cannot imagine the possibilities for space when their attention is focused on your items. Go through each room in the home to remove all unnecessary items. This may involve tossing some items away and donating others to charity. Perhaps you simply need to put some items back in a drawer or cabinet where they belong. This initial step can take a lot of time, but it is critical if you want to enjoy the best results from the next steps.
De-Personalize the Home
Buyers typically need to be able to envision themselves living in a home in order to feel a strong connection to it. When a home has personal photos on the wall, kids’ sports trophies on a shelf and religious icons throughout the space, it can be difficult for a buyer to look past your items. They will feel as though they are walking through a stranger’s home rather than thinking about living in the home. This is not conducive to a rapid sale. Remove all signs of personalization, and make the home look as non-specific as possible. A smart idea is to think about how beautiful a hotel room looks when you first walk in. This is essentially the goal that you are trying to achieve.
Deep Clean Every Inch
Stains and odors can make a home undesirable, but this is only the surface of the things that buyers may notice while walking through your home. They are inspecting the home with the intention of buying it, and this means that they are scrutinizing every detail rather than looking at it from a broad lens. They will notice dirt and dust on baseboards, air vents, ceiling fans and more. They will notice grime in the bathroom and cobwebs in the corner. When a home is clean on a superficial level and dirty with a closer look, buyers may understandably think that you have not taken good care of the home. They may wonder what other maintenance issues have been skimmed over, and this is not a thought that will help you to sell your home quickly.
Accentuate the Positive
All homes have positive and negative attributes. Staging a home involves identifying the key selling points of your home and drawing the buyer’s eye to these areas. It also involves drawing attention away from negative aspects. Your real estate agent can give you advice about key points to accentuate. For example, if you have a great view, you may want to remove thick drapes that block most of the view. Replacing drapes with sheers that are pulled as open as possible may be a smart idea.
Improve Curb Appeal
Many sellers focus intently on staging the interior of the home, but the exterior needs attention as well. The typical process that a seller takes is to look at a listing online, and the front of the house is typically the first image that comes on the screen. This means that your home’s curb appeal will make a buyer instantly interested in the home or instantly turned off by it. Likewise, when a buyer arrives at your home, the curb appeal can make or break the buyer’s interest in the home. You want the front of the house to create a first good impression. Do your best to spruce up curb appeal through cleaning, trimming, mulching and other affordable efforts.
Focus on the Entryway
Just as the curb appeal needs to be impressive, the entryway should also make a big splash. The entryway is like the front cover of a book. It makes a statement about the home’s style and condition, and you understandably want that state to be instantly positive. Consider replacing the hardware on the front door or even repainting or re-staining the door as necessary. Ensure that the porch light is clean and functional. Remove all signs of pests and critters by power washing the porch. Inside the house, make sure that the first thing noticeable upon entering is positive and even impressive.
When staging a home, you want to accentuate the square footage without making the rooms look empty. This means that you need to focus on the scale. For example, a large wall should ideally have a large picture or framed mirror on it, or it should have a cluster of smaller, corresponding items. A small wall should not have a large picture of it. The furniture needs to be scaled in this same way. Avoid blocking doorways and entryways with furniture. If necessary, move some pieces into different rooms or into an off-site storage unit.
Many home tours will take place in the daytime, and buyers do not want to walk into a dark, dreary house. Some real estate agents recommend that their clients remove all screens from windows and get the windows professionally cleaned inside and out before listing the home if funds allow. Another idea is to remove heavy drapes and decorate with sheers. Leave blinds open or pulled all the way up during a showing. On a cloudy or rainy day, leave the lights on in every room when a showing is scheduled.
When a listed home stays on the market for too long, buyers may think that something is wrong with it. They may avoid even looking at it, or they may be inclined to make a very low offer. It is in your interest to attract attention from interested parties quickly, and staging a home can help you to accomplish this goal.