If you want to sell your home as quickly as possible, you need it to look attractive to potential buyers. Obviously, the most important features of your house are hard or impossible to change (such as its location, its overall structure, and so on), but how you arrange and present the remaining features can make or break a buyer’s impression of your home.
The process of specifically arranging your house to look good to potential buyers is known in the industry as “staging,” and could be the difference in a buyer being marginally interested and making a formal offer.
So what is it about staging that’s so important, and what can you do to make the most of the process?
Why Staging Matters
Staging does little to increase the objective value of your home, but it has a dramatic psychological effect on the people viewing it, making them more likely to put in an offer—and possibly making that offer higher. Because these strategies don’t take much time, money, or effort, but could lead to a much faster sales process, they’re almost always worth doing.
There are a few main goals:
- Appeal to a wide audience. First, you’ll want to appeal to the largest number of possible buyers by neutralizing the appearance of your home.
- Make a good first impression. You’ll also want to make a strong first impression; they’re as important for home viewings as they are for personal interactions, and may be all it takes to convince someone to buy (or walk away).
- Avoid points dissonance. Sometimes, a bad smell or point of poor taste can dissuade someone from an otherwise attractive purchase; staging gives you the opportunity to clear these up.
So what are the most important and effective ways to stage your home?
- Decluttering is one of the best staging tips you can use, because it has benefits both for the attractiveness of your home and the logistics of the moving process. Don’t have anything lying out that doesn’t need to be out; go through your items and get rid of anything you don’t need. Put the rest in drawers or closets, or better yet—pack it away. The fewer items you have, the neater and more organized the house will look, and the less you’ll have to eventually move.
- Clean everything. Once you’ve gotten rid of the majority of the items occupying space in your house, you can commit time to a deep clean. Don’t just clean the normal surfaces; check the corners, behind appliances, and in nooks you don’t ordinarily notice. People touring your house are going to be inspecting it thoroughly, and any egregious collection of dust or dirt might turn them off. While you’re at it, make sure there’s a pleasant scent throughout the house with a batch of incense, potpourri, or candles.
- Eliminate traces of pets. There are lots of happy pet owners out there who would love to meet your pets; however, for the broadest appeal, it’s better to stage your house as if you have no pets at all. If you can, have your pets stay somewhere else during the staging process, or at least lock them up in one specific room of the house during showings. Make sure all traces of odor or pet occupation, including claw marks, are removed.
- Move your furniture to add space. The bigger your house seems, the more attractive it’s going to be to potential buyers, so spend some time arranging your furniture to give it the appearance of as much space as possible. Common advice tells you to push your furniture against a wall, but that’s not always the best option; sometimes pushing it to the middle suggests the appearance of even more space.
- Remove personal touches. It’s a good idea to remove as much of your personal taste and personal life from the home as possible. If there are any photos of your family, take them down. If there are questionable pieces of artwork or personal belongings related only to your taste, remove them from view. Remember, your home should be as neutral and widely appealing as possible.
- One of the best things you can do to liven the interior of your home is to add a fresh coat of paint to each major room. Even if you hire a professional painter, you’ll only pay a few hundred dollars for the work, and it could have a dramatic effect on a buyer’s first impression of the home. Choose bright, neutral colors for each room for the best possible effect.
- Add accents. Though you don’t want anything too brash or off-putting, you should have strong accent pieces throughout the house, in every room. These could include things like pieces of art, sculptures, or other centerpieces—especially on your tables and in central areas.
- Consider your lighting. Lighting can make your house pop—and without it, even the best efforts to stage your home could fall flat. Invest in bright lighting on your most important accents, and make sure it’s easy to get the full view of your place.
- Incorporate plant life. If you want to add a touch of natural scenery for a low cost, buy a houseplant or two to include in your hallways or at the entrance to your most important rooms. It makes the home seem fuller and more welcoming, and plants are neutral enough to appeal to everyone.
- Make minor swaps and upgrades. Consider going around the house and making affordable swaps and upgrades where you can. For example, you might replace an old shower curtain or replace the cracked bathroom mirror. Every little touch counts, so spend a few hours and a few hundred dollars to make the best impression you can.
Are you looking for help buying or selling a home? Green Residential has all the resources you need. Find out what your home is worth and contact us today!