Everyone has been told to not judge a book by its cover, but in reality, they do. And when that “book” is your $500,000 home, it’s very important to put in a bit of extra effort upfront so that you can be ready when buyers walk through. On average, staged homes sell faster and for higher prices than those that are not. Knowing this, you want to highlight your home’s strengths and downplay its weaknesses. Below are 9 valuable home staging tips you should know that will help increase the perceived value of your home.
1. Clear the Clutter
Of all the home staging tips, this one is arguably most important. A huge aspect of staging a home is helping potential buyers envision themselves living in your home. Although real estate agents will encourage buyers to look past clutter and see the bones of the home, to be honest, most potential buyers have a really hard time seeing themselves there when they are knee-deep in someone else’s stuff.
Clear the clutter of your home category by category or room by room. One strategy when approaching this task is to pay attention to sight lines. Stand at the entrance to a room, and see where your eyes naturally go as you walk through the space. You want your buyer to focus on the room’s best features. Unnecessary or distracting items should go. (If not all, most, of the items on the kitchen and bathroom counters should be removed or hidden from sight.) While decluttering sounds easy, it can be hard to emotionally detach yourself from some items. If this is the case, simply store your things in a different location, such as a storage unit or very neatly in a garage or basement. (But remember, it’s important the garage and basement are clutter-free too.)
2. Make it Bigger
Even if you live in a smaller apartment, there are ways to make your home look and feel bigger. And bigger is better when it comes to buying and selling homes. One way to make the kitchen or bathroom appear bigger is to remove rugs (including by the tub). Some rooms look better with area rugs because the rug can help define the space. Chances are your kitchen and bathroom already have that defined space, and getting rid of rugs in those rooms really opens up the space and creates a sense of flow through the area.
Another way to make your home look bigger is by painting adjacent rooms the same color. Like rugs, paint color can help define spaces, and keeping to one paint color can expand the space. Light paint colors especially enlarge a room, because darker colors create a cozier, tighter feel.
3. Deep Clean
That sparkle that potential buyers want to see in your home won’t happen if it’s covered in dust. Deep clean each area of your home and yard. This includes making sure you dust, wipe baseboards, vacuum, mop, hand wash walls and doors, clean windows, sweep the garage, and pull the weeds. (Tip: Be sure to clean rooms from top to bottom because dirt and dust fall downward.) While this task may seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve been avoiding the vacuum or mop for a few months, it is totally doable. Give yourself a cleaning schedule (e.g., one room per day) and stick to it. After a week or so, your home will be a place that is significantly more show-ready.
4. Improve Lighting
Good lighting can be a key factor on some potential buyers’ must-have list. In fact, it can be a deal breaker or deal maker. To bring more natural sunlight into your home, be sure to have blinds and curtains pulled all the way open. (Good thing you already deep cleaned those windows, right?) To artificially add to the natural sunlight feel, replace any warm/soft white light bulbs with bright/daylight light bulbs. Warm and soft white light bulbs produce a yellow hue; bright and daylight light bulbs produce a whiter light, close to that of the sun. Especially in rooms without windows, this simple fix will add perceived value to your home.
5. Depersonalize the Space
When you begin staging your home, try to think of it as someone else’s already. After all, it will be the property of the person who gives you the highest offer. This mindset is important because, as mentioned above, potential buyers should easily be able to envision themselves living in your home. To assist in this, your staged home should be free of personalized things. Depersonalize the space by removing photos and photo albums, magnets, children’s artwork, diplomas, trophies, razors, used soap bars, toothbrushes, taste-specific furniture and decor, collections, toys, and laundry. Remember, you’re selling your home, not your stuff.
6. Keep it Neutral
Not everyone’s favorite color is fuchsia, so keeping colors throughout your home in a neutral palette will appeal to most potential buyers. Neutral colors also help keep the buyer from being distracted by your style. Remember, the term “neutral” doesn’t necessarily mean white or beige. With a bit of research and planning, you can use browns, greens, and even bolder color choices to paint your walls while staying within a neutral color palette. Simply keep in mind that colors should be tailored to the buyer. Help potential buyers see your walls as a blank canvas on which they can project their own preferences.
7. Find Something Fresh
One little thing you can do that will go a long way is adding something fresh to the home. Some ideas include displaying fresh plants/flowers with little odor in any room, fresh fruit in the kitchen, or a cake stand with fresh cookies in the kitchen. Simple is best, so be careful not to overdo it. Just a small piece of freshness will add a nice finishing touch to the overall look of your home.
8. Follow the Rule of Three
When placing decorations or accessories on surfaces, follow the rule of three. Objects appear more visually appealing this way, whether it’s on a wall, mantel, or tabletop. Three asymmetrical decorative items that have a unifying element (e.g., color, texture, shape, style) should vary in height and width and should be arranged in a triangular grouping instead of in a row (largest item at the back). The rule of three will give your home a more pleasant feel that buyers will appreciate.
9. Appeal to Both Sexes
Chances are men and women are involved in the buying process of your home, so it’s important to appeal to both sexes when staging your home. Especially when it comes to the master bedroom/bathroom, both sexes need to feel like they can relate to the space. Keep bedding and decor in a neutral tone that is warm and inviting. Implementing different textures (e.g., pillows, throws, rugs) will help add interest while still appealing to both sexes. Remember, as the seller, you want both men and women to feel a connection with your home.
Hopefully you found these 9 home staging tips helpful as you prepare to sell your home. Please feel free to comment below with additional home staging suggestions.