Stage and Prepare Your Home for Sale
Here are a few great tips on creating an atmosphere that will charm buyers and create desire to purchase your home. Remember, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression – and impressions count! Follow theses simple tips and create the competitive edge that will help you sell your home for a higher price and much faster.
Start by making all those small repairs you’ve been meaning to get to.
Buyers really want a home in move-in condition. Clean, clean, and clean some more.
Clear clutter, rearrange and remove furniture, and depersonalize.
Make it easy and convenient for Realtors to show your home. Get it ready for all showings.
Now that you’ve spent the last 5, 10, or 15 years living in your home, it’s time to step back and take a look at your abode from an entirely new perspective. Now, it must be looked at a piece of property, a valuable asset similar to a car that you are anxious to sell quickly.
Like most sellers, you likely want to get the most money in the shortest period of time, which means you have to get your property ready to compete against several other listings available on the market.
Selling your home quickly will require that you take preliminary steps to get the house ready in advance of putting it on the market.
“Staging” or increasing the market appeal of your home, has become an important part of the resale process. Together, our job is to package your home so it appeals to as many home-shoppers as possible.
Buyers respond to a home emotionally. We want their feelings to be positive and excited. Since buyers do not have the same warm memories and familiarity you have, they will look at your home with a critical eye.
Consider the builder’s model homes – simply and beautifully decorated and they smell nice too.
The goal is to reach the buyer emotionally, and sell your house quickly and profitably.
Learn More About Staging to Sell
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Staging Tips for a Faster Sale and a Higher Price
Home staging is the act of preparing a home (and the contents of the home) for the market, emphasising presentation and appearance.
Staging a home for sale normally involves things of an aesthetic nature, such as design, organization, and overall appearance (as opposed to mechanical or functional improvements.)
The goal of home staging then is to improve the home’s appearance in the eyes of potential buyers, with the ultimate goal of selling the home more quickly and for the highest possible price.
Refine Your Curb-Appeal
Start by creating a list of items needing attention. Go out to the curb and jot down anything that “leaps” out at you. Have a friend do the same thing Add their list to your list. Trim trees and shrubs, clean out the flower beds, and invest in seasonal flowers. Mow and edge the lawn.
Welcome the Home-Shopper
Make your stoop say “welcome home” with a clean doormat, potted plants in bloom, and even a piece of neat porch furniture. Keep your porch lights on in the evenings, in case potential buyers drive by. Clean, repaint, or replace the front door and doorbell (use a toothbrush and toothpick.)
Pre-Pack | Clear Clutter | Make Space
Consider a storage unit or POD and de-clutter all the personal items from your home. Empty your closets and cabinets. If you have knickknacks and family photos, box them all up. Remove as much as possible so potential buyers can envision living there.
Create an Easy Flow
Clear all unnecessary objects and furniture throughout the house. Rearrange or remove some of the furniture and accessories from your home, if necessary. When it comes to selling your home, thin out overcrowded rooms to make the rooms appear larger. Remove anything blocking doors or doorways.
Clean, Clean, & Clean Some More
When the buyers of your home walk in for the first time, the best thing they can smell is the scent of cleaning products. Hire professionals or go through the house yourself from top to bottom, washing floors and windows, scrubbing fixtures, eliminating cobwebs and dusting every inch of the home.
The All Important Kitchen
Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. Empty your cabinets and store small appliances. Pack away what you haven’t used in months. Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, magnets, pictures, etc. Upgrade your old kitchen faucet. Mop and wax the kitchen floor. Display a fresh bowl of fruit.
Be Ruthless About Odors
Strong odors can instantly kill a sale – especially strong pet odors. Remove cat litter boxes during showings. Avoid cooking anything with a strong scent during the markting period. Carpets and curtains hold odors so have them cleaned or replaced.
Fresh Coat of Paint
A fresh coat of paint in the key rooms like the living room, master bedroom and kitchen can go a long way. Pick something neutral and give the home a fresh look with new paint. Search the web for the current popular interior colors.
Brighten with High-output LED Bulbs
LED Bulbs allow you to increase the brightness without exceeding the watt limitations of most fixures. The light is also whiter. While you are at it, wipe down the fixures and remove any bugs that have accumulated.
Update Your Bathroom Linens
If it has been a while since you have replaced your towels and shower curtain, now is the time. Fluffy white towels show well. Box-up any extra items from your bathroom drawers and cabinets and tuck away anything you normally keep on the counter.
Clarify "Extra" Rooms
Each room should have a clearly defined purpose – what buyers might like to use it for. Whether you buy inexpensive furnishings, rent them, or borrow some from friends, making a real room out of a junk room will have a big payoff.
You want to enable potential buyers to easily imagine themselves living in your place—so don’t compromise the fantasy with pictures of your extended family. Instead, help other people connect with the house by disconnecting yourself from it. Removew all personal photos.
Don't Forget the Windows
Sparkling clean windows let the light in. A light, bright interior is one of the most important staging tips. Cut back shrubs to below the height of the bottom of the windows and tree limbs to the tops. Replace any broken glass or torn /missing screens.
Many people are allergic to or simply afraid of animals. Hampsters, birds, and even fish can put off a strong odor that can repel buyers. If possible, house your pets with family or friends until your home is under contract. Otherwise, take them away whenever you have a showing.
Clean the Carpets
Carpets clean-up remarkably well. When a home-shopper sees a dirty or stained carpet they imagine it will take thousands of dollars to replace it. Buyers will immediately lower their offer if they smell pets or smoke, and nothing retains the smell more than carpets.
Freshen the Exterior
An exterior paint job might be out of the budget, but if there’s any peeling paint, hire someone to scrape and paint the peeling areas. There are some mortgage programs that require this to be done prior to closing. It’s also not a bad idea to powerwash the exterior so it looks fresh on the outside for potential buyers.
Style Your Dining Table
The dining room is often a blind spot in staging the home. Between dinners, a large dining table can look bare and uninviting, so styling it up with visitors in mind can increase the appeal. An oversize arrangement can look too stiff and formal, so try lining up a series of smaller vessels down the center of the table instead.
Beds are the focal point of most bedrooms. Replace your out-of-date bedspread with high-end duvets, pillows, throws, and shams. Macy’s frequently has heavliy discounted bedding as does Ross and TJ Max. Even Tuesday Morning frequently has good deals.
Pictures and Posters
Strong political or artistic statements are not helpful. We do not want buyers to focus on these matters while viewing your house.
Large groups of family photos are distracting. It is hard for buyers to look past these and visualize themselves in your house.
Keep Closets Two Thirds Empty
Storage space is high on a buyer’s list. Many home-shoppers will open closet doors to discover how much storage there actually is. If your closets are full and cluttered, space will seem insufficient. Put all extra and non-essential items and clothing into storage.
Clear Clutter the Yard
Remove all toys and bikes from the front yard. Move trash cans from the front. Now is the time to haul off any wood, cars, or other items that are found around your house. Coil hoses. Weed your flower beds and trim the shrubs.
Home Repairs to Complete Prior to Marketing
Staging will not work without making any underlying repairs. Decades old décor and renovation has-beens will do nothing for your bottom line. Would you go into a store and buy an item off the shelf if it was broken? If you said yes, wouldn’t you also ask for a discount at the register? When a house needs obvious repairs, buyers always assume there are even more problems than meet the eye. It is in your best interest to get minor repairs fixed.
That’s exactly what homebuyers will do—either walk away or provide a lowball offer. So, start by walking through each room, taking note of the four walls, ceiling and floor to determine what repairs need to be made big or small. (You should find at least five repairs to make.)
Windows and Doors
Fix any cracked or broken windows. Replace torn or missing screens. Potential buyers cringe at the sound of a squeaky door or drawer. Grab an inexpensive can of silicone spray and spray the hinges and drawer tracks.
Walls and Floors
Fill in any nail holes and repair any wall damage. Replace cracked or missing light plates and plug plates. If you are not replacing the carpet, pay to have it stretched and cleaned. Fresh paint is the easiest way to enhance the appearance of your home.
Plumbing and Fixtures
Fix any leaking faucets or running toilets. These shout lack of maintenance. Fix any undersink leaks as they frighten buyers who instantly think “mold”.
One of the problems we often see in kitchens is worn out cabinet finish. Enamel paint and new cabinet pulls work wonders. A product called “Howard’s Restor-A-Finish” (Wal-Mart, Amazon, paint stores) works wonders on scratched and faded cabinets.
Dated Interior Materials
Dark, worn wood paneling can be painted with enamel paint for a fresh new look. If you have dated wallpaper, consider replacing it with light, neutral paint. Scrape and repaint popcorn ceilings. Fix or replace damaged blinds.
Blinds and Window Coverings
Dirty blinds can easily be cleaned with a wet cloth. If they are damaged, replace them. Even knotted-up strings, missing wands, and bent hardware can turn-off buyers. Most parts are easily replaceable from a local hardware store.
Home-shoppers make a purchasing decision on emotion, not logic. Staging often brings a higher price for the home; most estimate that sellers make 7 to 10 percent more when a home properly prepared for sale. Staging is done to evoke emotions and make buyers fall in love with your home.
Staging Tips for a Faster Sale and a Higher Price
Should I order a home pre-inspection?
- If you have an older property, you may wish to get a professional home inspection before putting your home on the market. This will help you identify and address any repairs that may be required.
- Unless you are prepared to significantly compromise on price, some home repairs are essential. These include repairs to broken mechanical and heating systems, siding and gutters, broken appliances, major fixtures and structural deficiencies such as leaky roofs.
Will I get my money back from repairs?
- Cosmetic improvements, including fresh paint and landscaping, are quick and affordable ways to help a home “show” better and often result in positive returns.
- At the same time you should minimize capital investments and over-improvements that may not be recovered from the sale.
- In general, home buyers and real estate investors seek the least expensive property in the best neighborhood they can afford. Repairs and improvements should be made so the property shows well and is consistent with the neighborhood’s standards and preferences.
How can I get rid of clutter?
Have a garage sale before the home is listed. Get rid of clutter so that the buyer can really see your home. Clean out what you think you won’t need in your next home.
Pack away all that you can. Home buyers will expect you to be preparing to move, so a few packing boxes here and there can be used to your advantage. They could be a good visual stimulant to someone who is “on the fence;” they show that you are moving and are serious about finding a buyer.
Be sure, though, to find the fine line between clutter and emptiness.
How can I improve my first impression?
Welcome the buyer at the entry. Put out a new doormat, but avoid mats with cutesy sayings.
Clean and polish the brass door knocker and the doorknob. Scub all fingerprints and scuff marks off the front door. Paint it if needed or even replace it if required.
Put potted flowers on the porch. Make sure the front entry floor is always sparkling clean and the porch and steps are always swept.
Clean the doorbell button. Use cotten swabs and toothpicks, if necessary.
First impressions count.
How do I add emotion to home showings?
- Stimulate the buyer’s imagination by setting the stage. Set the dinner table with your best china. Place a fresh bouquet of flowers on the kitchen table.
- Use the coziness and romance of the fireplace to advantage. If you have a gas fireplace, light it up, even in the summer.
- Keep the home warm in the winter and very cool in the summer. Let buyers visualize how comfortable the home would be to live in.
- Use cleaning products right before the showing to have that freshly-cleaned smell as they enter.
How do I improve the "Flow" of my home?
Make sure that all doors, cabinets, and drawers open all the way without bumping into anything or sticking.
Clean out the entry closet and put only a few hangers so that the buyer can visualize winter coats.
Move oversized furniture to a storage facility.
Make sure entrances to all rooms have an open flow.
What are some money-saving tips for Staging?
1. Declutter. Remove as much “stuff” as you can bear. Get rid of all stacks of newspapers or magazines. Pack-away 50% – 75% of your nic-nacks.
2. Depersonalize. Now is the time to take-down all those family photos and get ready to move.
3. Storage. Consider renting a storage unit for the next couple of months to store any over-sized furniture and all the boxes you fill from emptying closets, book shelves, corners, etc. If your garage is full, buyers may think your home doesn’t have enough space.
4. Create Space. Relocate furniture, end tables, bedroom furniture, kitchen chairs, etc. to create flowing open space.
5. Clean Diligently. Wash the baseboards, clean the corners, remove fingerprints and grim from walls and light switches, dust the blinds, wash the windows, and pay particular attention to the bathrooms and kitchen.
Free Home Staging PDF Downloads
12 Tips for Showing Your Home
Download our free cheat-sheet of 12 things to remember to do before a buyer previews your home. First impressions count!
What to Declutter
Download our free checklist for opening up space in your home. We all know how hard it is to get rid of excess and this checklist will guide you on what you could consider departing with.
How to Declutter Your Books
Download our free list of questions to help you perform one of the most difficult tasks for readers and collectors – downsizing your library.
Download our free list of actions to perform prior to any showing. Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is critical.
Download our tips for the best and worst places to hide things when you are in a hurry.
Selling with Children
Download our free suggestions for how to engage your children in the home staging process. We know how difficult it can be.