Putting your house up for sale on the market is a big step, and it’s one that calls for a ton of prep work. You need to have a strong sense of your house’s value, as well as the competition of the homes selling around you; a good real estate agent who is familiar with your local market can help you make sense of all this. Still, it’s important to be able to wrap your head around some of the most important parts of selling your home to potential buyers, such as staging your property.
What is Staging?
Staging is the process of making your home look as appealing as possible to potential buyers. This means going through your house and cleaning, decluttering, and potentially redesigning before taking listing photos, having buyers over for a walk-through, or hosting an open house. You don’t have to give the entire property an extensive makeover; however, the time and effort spent getting the house as presentable as possible are well worth it.
To get an idea of what a staged home should look like, poke around different listings online or go to local open houses. This kind of research serves a dual purpose: It allows you to gather inspiration as well as get a sense of the competition your buyers will be looking at. This puts you in a fantastic position to give your house the best chance possible.
Why Does Staging Matter?
Staging makes a big impact on how likely your home is to sell. There are several reasons for this. First and most simply, a nice-looking house is more likely to catch a buyer’s initial attention. Everyone wants to know they’ll live in a place they can be proud to show off. By making the house look good in listing photos and open houses, you’re establishing that it has potential.
Staging also includes a process called depersonalization – that is, the process of making the house look more neutral and less lived in. This is incredibly important. Home buyers want to be able to see themselves in the home they’re viewing. If someone else’s family portraits are on the wall, it’s harder for them to do so.
The same principle goes for stylized interior decor. Unless a bold or unique style happens to match a buyer’s taste, it’s likely to turn them off. This is true even though they know, logically, the house will be a blank slate when they move in. It’s all about capturing buyers’ imaginations and allowing them to envision their future in your space.
How You Can Nail It
Staging a home should be a carefully considered balance between investing in and increasing your home’s value. Don’t get carried away — if you spend a ton on staging, you may wind up putting more into the process than you get back in value. Focus on low-cost, simple ways to make the house look its best.
The first step should be giving your whole house a good, deep clean. This goes beyond a simple dusting – you want all of your surfaces as shiny and spotless as possible. You should also ensure that clutter is put in its proper place. If you haven’t already started packing, this can be a prime opportunity to start putting anything you don’t need into boxes and out of the way.
If you’re staging using your own furniture, make sure all the pieces are free of stains. If there’s a stain you can’t remove, you’ll likely have to hire a furniture cleaner for the job. When researching furniture cleaning companies, always take customer feedback and ratings into account. And beware of companies that only use one type of steam cleaner, and insist that they give you an estimate before starting work.
Next, try to identify any low-cost improvements you might be able to make to the space. For example, if your house has dated doorknobs, upgrade that hardware. This is a simple enough task that you can do on your own without spending too much money. If your house could use more curb appeal, put in some simple box flowers or paint your door a bold color.
Remember: Use the inspiration you’ve found online and at other open houses to make the most of your space. Focus on enhancing all the things you love most about your house, and sellers will see what makes the property great. Happy staging!