Last Updated on December 1, 2023 by Asfa Rasheed
The last year or two saw something of an unprecedented spike in the value of residential properties. While the market is finally showing signs of cooling off a little, the market will likely remain very strong for anyone looking to sell their homes over the next year.
Despite the strength of the market, you must still put in the effort to achieve a fast sale. After all, nobody wants to pay top-tier prices for a place that looks like a wreck.
If you think this is your year to sell your home, keep reading for our guide to staging properties.
Depersonalizing is one of the first and often hardest things you’ll have to do when you finally decide, “It’s time to sell my house.” Potential buyers need the room to imagine themselves and all of their stuff in that space. Personal items make that much more difficult for buyers because it still looks like someone else’s house.
You should scour your home of things like family photos and box them up for the inevitable move. Pull everything off the fridge, such as a child’s artwork or current grocery shopping list. Store anything in the bathroom that suggests a person lives in the house now.
While removing your personal items and personality from the home will feel weird, it will also make it much more appealing for potential buyers.
Homes accumulate stuff. It’s inevitable unless you engage in some highly disciplined behavior.
For example, you probably have a kitchen gadget or two that you never use stored in a cabinet or even out in the garage. Old sports equipment hangs out because you’re sure that, this year, you’ll join that league. You keep boxes filled with the gear for long-abandoned hobbies because you might pick it up again, someday.
Then there are clothes that accumulate because you’re confident you’ll lose those ten pounds and fit into them again one day. All of that stuff adds up and clutters your home.
While you don’t need a full-on, Marie Kondo decluttering, you do need that stuff out of the house. It helps open the space up and lets buyers imagine their own clutter in the same space.
Some people repaint every room in the home before they try to sell it. If you have the time and money for that, it’s effective. It’s not necessarily the best use of time and resources.
Most potential buyers will focus their attention on a few main areas in a home they may buy. Specifically, they look at areas like:
- Master bathrooms
- Livings rooms
A fresh coat of paint in those rooms can go a long way toward giving your home a fresh look and shine that everyday use can wear down over time. If you do go with a repainting strategy, stick with tried-and-true neutral colors like gray or white.
The exception to the repainting approach is when there are rooms with very bold colors. Bold colors in any room can turn off potential buyers who just see it as a thing they’ll have to fix.
Clean is a relative thing in a home. For busy families, there is typically an acceptable level of clean that everyone tolerates. When it comes time for putting a home on the market, that acceptable level of clean isn’t acceptable anymore.
Your home will need at least one deep cleaning ahead of anyone coming in for a tour or before a realtor has pictures taken of the place.
That means doing things like bringing in a rug shampooer for all the carpets and cleaning your blinds. It also means sanitizing your kitchen and bathrooms nearly to death.
That kind of cleaning is often a taxing and time-consuming process that some homeowners prefer to avoid. If you can afford it, you can often find a local professional cleaning service to do the job for you.
Light Is Your Friend
While you might prefer heavy curtains for enhanced privacy, that will work against you in terms of home staging. You want the maximum amount of natural light entering your home during showings. All of that extra, natural light makes your house feel warmer and more inviting for potential buyers.
Minimally, you should open all of the curtains and blinds before any showings. Just make sure you clean the windows. Dirty windows won’t help your cause.
Bring in Some Green
You don’t want a home that looks like a jungle, but some houseplants can freshen up the look and feel when staging homes. You should, of course, avoid plants that will likely trigger allergies. Potential buyers won’t thank you for triggering their hay fever.
Keep it simple with things like a spider plant in one room, a peace lily in another, and even an aloe plant on a side table.
Staging houses isn’t just about the interior. One of the very first things a potential buyer will see is your lawn. You don’t necessarily need someone to come in and redo your entire exterior.
You should, however, make sure the lawn is properly mowed and edged. If you have shrubs, they should be trimmed.
If you have flower beds, you don’t need actual flowers in them. There should be some kind of plants in them so those areas don’t look neglected. You can just plant some evergreen groundcover plants like wall germander or bugleweed.
Staging Properties and You
Staging properties is a complicated process. There are parts of it that it makes sense to take on yourself, like depersonalizing and decluttering. Only you really know how you want family photos stored and what clutter you’re willing to throw away.
Deep cleaning, painting, and landscaping are gray areas. Some people feel comfortable taking those on, while other people prefer to hire professionals for those kinds of tasks. You must make your own decision about whether it’s practical for you time-wise and financially.
Looking for more tips? Check out the posts over in our Home Improvement section.