Home Staging Tips and Tricks
There are SO many misconceptions when it comes to home staging. Often people feel overwhelmed, like they need to get rid of everything they own and pay big bucks for a professional staging company to come in. Sometime, yes, you need to do that. More often than not though, it's simply a matter of working with what you have, paring down and simplifying. Here are some of our top tips and tricks for making your home look picture perfect:
Do an initial clean out. You're going to be moving anyways and will need to pack so start with clearing out the things you no longer use, will not be taking to your next home or that need to get boxed up. We recommend taking it one room at a time. Have a box for trash, one for garage sale or donate, and one for things you want to keep but can get packed up for now.
Designate an area in either a spare bedroom, basement, or garage to store your packed boxes, donate bins, and furniture not being used for staging. Often people feel like every room and wall needs to be perfect and they need these items out of the home, but it's not necessary. Buyers understand you are moving. Having a dedicated storage space for this will help the rest of the home show well and can often even show buyers how much storage the home has!
Place large furniture pieces. How you use your home may not be the most practical way to show it. Your agent can help with this but think of opening rooms up and using key pieces to show off corners and nooks versus a bunch of smaller, clutter-y pieces like book shelves and bins. You want to show rooms off as MOST people will likely use them. That means if you are using a living room as an office, you'll want to adjust. If you are still living in the home and this is a huge inconvenience then try staging your office in just one corner of the living room while showing how you can also include a couch or sitting area. It doesn't have to look like a magazine but potential buyers need to be able to see the best possible use of each room.
Lose MOST of the knick knacks and personal items but not all! Buyers want to see a home. They want to feel the energy and warmth. Packing up every last thing can make a home feel cold. Leaving a few photos and some well placed decor gives a home life. Something unique or funny can also help to make the home memorable. This is where we encourage clients to work with what they have. You don't need to go buy a bunch of new, trendy things. Use your own personal style to show off how you've made the house a home.
Keep the things you use, just relocate them. If you normally keep your tooth brushes on the counter, you will need to deal with keeping them in the cabinet for a while. Things often kept on kitchen counter tops may need to be relocated to a cabinet temporarily. There will be adjustments to your daily life while selling a home, but it's only temporary and not usually as drastic as people think.
Now that you have the key furniture pieces and certain decor items left, work with your agent on placement and final staging. It's VERY rare we ever tell someone they need to go buy anything new, we almost always can work with whatever items you have to make the home look good. When we are placing things we're considering what it's going to look like in a picture, as well as the flow when potential buyers walk through.
Double check in cupboards and closets. While these spaces don't need to look like Martha Stewart organized them, buyers will be looking in there. Just make sure things aren't overpacked or outrageously messy so buyers don't walk away with concerns of lack of storage space.
Deep clean! Now that your items are placed and things are packed up, it's time for a deep cleaning. Dust, vacuum, mop, get the windows, the baseboards, all of it. A well staged home means nothing if it's dirty.
Add some fresh flowers or a few live plants. Seriously. . THE easiest way to bring life and good energy to your home.
Set the appropriate temperature. If it's winter, ensure the home is warm and cozy. If it's summer, make sure it's cool and refreshing. If it's in between and windows can be open, air it out! You want buyers to feel comfortable enough to want to stay.
Smells. For the love of HGTV, please skip the plug-ins. Anything too potent, flowery or overwhelming is a HUGE turn off. A clean, airy smell or something natural like fresh baked cookies or bread is all you want. A very lightly scented candle or light citrus type fabric spray is generally more than enough to offer a fresh, pleasant scent.
Lighting. Do a walk through in the evening to make sure all bulbs are working and there are lamps anywhere that is too dark. Depending on the time of year, showings often take place in the evening when it gets dark so you want to make sure all areas of the home are able to be seen.
Don't forget the outdoors! Basic yard clean up, a fresh welcome mat, and a few flower pots go a very long way.
Take it one room at a time, and ask your agent for help! They are going to be able to view your home from a different lens and can help you transition from home owner to home seller in no time.