Skillful staging can make the difference between a quick sale and a house that lingers on the market for months. But how do you know which staging projects will have the biggest impact?
We highlight the most important things you can do to make sure your house shows well.
1. Clean, clean, clean
We all live with a few dust bunnies, but noticeable dirt makes a potential buyer think your home may not be well cared for. If you can’t deep-clean the place yourself, hire a cleaning service to give it a good once-over. Pay special attention to things such as windows and light fixtures — anything to make the place feel brighter and more cheerful. Before showings, wipe down a few of your home’s surfaces with your favorite cleaning product. Don’t overdo it, but a faint smell of furniture polish or cleanser helps give buyers an impression of cleanliness.
2. Remove quirky or overly personal decor
It may break your heart to take down your wedding photos, but you want a buyer to be able to imagine themselves filling the home with their own memories. So pack up your collection of vintage punk rock posters and your Precious Moments figurines. Doing so will also help you let go of the home emotionally as you prepare to pass it on to someone else.
3. Reduce, remove, declutter
Excess stuff makes a home feel smaller, darker, and more cramped. Take the time to clear horizontal surfaces — no more piles of mail on the hall table or pill bottles on the bathroom counter. When the odds and ends of daily life are cleared away, select one or two attractive pieces that will photograph well, such as a brightly colored vase or a few coffee-table books. If you’re planning to move soon after the sale, it might be worth it to pack up things such as books and off-season clothing and move them out of the house entirely to make storage spaces look larger.
4. There’s nothing like a new coat of paint
Paint brightens things up, masks old odors, and gives a general impression of newness and good maintenance. Even touch-up paint makes a big difference, but it can be hard to match an existing color. If you have leftover paint, keep in mind that the paint on the walls may have faded over time, making the touched-up spots stand out too much. Instead, pick one wall in each of the main rooms to repaint entirely. If you can’t match the room’s original color, use a lighter complementary color or even white. Even a few repainted walls throughout the home will give buyers an impression of freshness. You want your home to feel like a clean slate.
5. Light things up
This is the easiest thing in the world, but it makes a big difference. When you prepare your home for an open house or a showing, open curtains and turn on a few lamps. This will make the house feel more inviting. A vase or two of fresh flowers also helps brighten things up, but don’t go overboard.
Finally, don’t try to make your home look too fancy. Ultimately, you want your home to look like the best version of itself, not pretend to be something it’s not. If your home is a solid starter home for a new family, don’t try to gussy it up to look like a luxury pad for well-heeled singles. Some professional staging companies go over the top, with fancy place settings on the dining room table or rose petals floating in the bathtub. Buyers will be quick to notice if you’re trying too hard. Focus on cleanliness, good lighting, and clutter-free surfaces, and let your home’s charm speak for itself.