Best Tips for Staging Your Home

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Highlight your home’s strengths and appeal to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers with these 10 best tips for staging your home.

Staging our home was very important and we knew it would be key to attracting the right buyer.

We listed our home on a Thursday and by Saturday afternoon we had 48 showings, 17 offers, a bidding war, no inspection, no appraisal and signed a contract by Sunday afternoon for $130K over our asking price. It was crazy and believe that staging our home was the secret!

Even though when we sold the real estate market was super hot, and still is in most placers, competition is still tough especially if you want to attract the right buyer at the right price. We didn’t just want to sell our home; we wanted to sell it to the right buyer at the right price. Why not maximize your home’s potential for getting top dollar? That is where home staging comes into place and it’s very important!

A well-staged environment increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer and it’s important to help buyers fall in love with your property. Staging will take more than running the vacuum and fluffing the pillows.

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living room with white painted brick fireplace, sofa and fiddle leaf tree

Rug |  Ottoman  | Pillow | Chair | Mantle | Vase | Mirror |  Sofas  | Ceiling Fan | Glass Jar | Lamp | Wood Tray | Candlesticks | Plant



What is Home Staging?

Home staging is not decorating!

Decorating is about personal style. Staging is about making your home appeal to the largest pool of buyers and garner the largest profit from your sale.

Home staging involves adding decor, rearranging furniture, and expertly dressing up the home to make it look stunning for listing photos and walkthroughs. Home staging can make even the most dark, drab space feel bright, energetic, and homey.

black vintage vase with greenery sitting on kitchen marble countertop

Round Wood Tray | Wood Tray | Wood Tray | Range | Frame | Greenery

Why Home Staging Is Important

Selling your home is a large financial transaction and you don’t want to settle for a lower selling price or a home listing that is too long on the market than you have to.

That is where home staging comes into play.

A home is personal; it evokes emotions. Potential buyers aren’t just looking for a house to inhabit; they’re looking for a way to fulfill their dreams and improve their lifestyle. Staging your home creates a more emotional purchase for the buyer, which ultimately can generate more money for you the seller.

According to the Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report, 82 percent of urban sellers, 71 percent of suburban sellers, and 61 percent of rural sellers say that staging their home is one of the top pre-listing activities they complete.

How Staging Affects Sale Price and Time on Market

Potential buyers don’t want to see repairs or work that might need to be done after moving into the home because for every problem they see, they’ll deduct its cost from their offering price. If they see too many problems, they may pass completely on buying the home.

According to the 2019 Profile of Home Staging, a report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 25% of buyers’ agents and 22% of sellers’ agents said that staging a home increases the offer price by between 1% and 5%, compared to other similar homes on the market that aren’t staged.

Let’s dive into these home staging tips so you can get top dollar and fast!

white kitchen with wood floors, gas range, microwave in island and vase of greenery on island countertop

Range | Rug | Greenery | Large Vase | Plant | Plant | Wood Board | Towel | Soap | Wood Tray | Cookie Jar | Topiary | Light

10 Home Staging Tips

1. Declutter Your Home

Show off your space; not your stuff. Potential buyers aren’t coming to see your sofa, dog bed or baby toys; they want to see potential space for themselves and their stuff.

One of the simplest things you can do is declutter and it doesn’t cost much to store items while your house is on the market or donating to Goodwill is free and helps others.

Clutter distracts buyers from your home’s features and makes it seem like the home has less space.

  • Closets should be at least one-third empty; not crammed with everything you are trying to hide
  • Organize and structure your storage room, if you have one
  • Straighten up your pantry and your kitchen cabinets

Be prepared for buyers to look behind closed drawers and doors so think of staging every aspect of your home. Nothing is off limits.

open drawer with jars of organized and labeled spices

Towel | Spice Jars | Spice Rack Insert | Cookie Jar | Wooden Spoon | Spice Labels | Planter | Plant

2. Clean Your Home

When I say clean I mean clean!!

You want potential buyers to know you’ve taken good care of the property. You should clean every part and nook and cranny of your home. Floors, showers, dust baseboards, windows, clean food from pantry and the fridge.

Don’t forget appliances too. Clean the oven and the microwave from any splatters. Ensure the dishwasher is empty and the fridge is wiped down.

white bathroom with two sinks, hexagon tile floor and window

Cabinet | Floor Tile | Shower Tile | Shower Curtain | Bath Rug | Hand Towel | Bath Towel | Faucet Blinds Lights | Basket | Topiary

3. Depersonalize Your Home

Once you decide to list your house you need to understand that your home is really no longer yours. The focus needs to be on the next family if you want to maximize your profit. You want to ensure any potential buyers can see themselves in your home.

Some say remove all personal photos, but I feel some personal photos are ok and so did our realtor. If you have a nice and neat gallery wall displaying family photos then you are fine as shown below from our listing.

Even though you want future buyer to see themselves in your home you also want them to see life and a feeling of comfort; someone else really enjoyed this home and they can too.

living room with white sofa, black frame gallery wall

Image by Redfin

4. Erase Signs of Pets When Staging Your Home

We have a dog, but we didn’t want people touring our house to really know that. Not that you are hiding something but not everyone is a pet person and what you might like or think is cute others might not or have allergies to. Make sure to clean thoroughly and remove toys, food dishes, and water bowls.

golden doodle sitting next to cane bench in foyer of home.

5. Let the Light in

Now that you’ve taken care of the basics it’s time to move onto staging your home.

Bright and light is where it’s at here folks. You may have a gorgeous home but it it’s dark it’s going to feel dingy and uncomfortable.

One of the first things many potential buyers comment on is the amount of light in a home. Replace any burned-out lightbulbs, swap out for higher wattage bulbs, clean your windows, open the blinds, and turn on all the lights before any showing. The brighter the better!

wooden chair with white cushions sitting between two windows next to a white brick painted fireplace

Rug | Pillow | Chair | Mantle | Vase | Mirror | Plant

6. Re-Arrange the Furniture to Show Your Home

Take a look at each room and ensure that each room has a single, defined purpose. Play around with your furniture if you have to in order to create more conversational spaces. Point loveseats and couches toward each other, which will actually increase the amount of space in rooms. Don’t be afraid to mix things completely up. Staging your home isn’t about living in it. It’s about selling it. Remove furniture that is blocking pathways or is too big for the space.

living room with sofa, gray chair next to window, glass coffee table with fern and blue and white pillows on couch

Living Room Rug | Sofa | Gold Floor Lamp | Coffee Table Arm Chair | Velvet Pillow | Floral Pillow | Fern

7. Stay Neutral

Neutrals are your friends when it comes to staging your house. Our home was already neutral, but if you have a bright red wall or a purple bathroom you might want to give it a dose of neutral paint to entice more clientele. Remember, it’s not your home anymore and the more neutral you stay when staging the more a potential buyer will be able to see themselves in your home.

dining room with farmhouse table, wood cane chairs with windows in background and oil painting on wall

Chair | Rug | Chandelier | Greenery | Vase | Table | Curtain Rod | Curtains

8. Update any Finishes

Cracks in the walls or ceiling are red flags because they may indicate foundation problems or leaks in the roof even if nothing is amiss. Take time to walk through your home and take notes of each room and the issue that might need to be addressed. Likely it won’t take you long to update these items.

  • Paint a room – select a neutral paint color or a soft white.
  • Caulk any cracks between walls and baseboards or crown molding
  • Re-grout any cracked grout between tile
  • Remove and place a fresh strip of caulking around tubs or bases of showers
  • Replace or paint outdated hardware – Most of our doorknobs were rubbed bronze but we had a few in the basement that were still old and dated brass. Instead of replacing all of them I sprayed them to match the others. The styles were a bit different but the colors were the same and most won’t recognize the difference.
  • Replace shower heads or faucets
  • Replace cabinet hardware if necessary
  • Paint cabinets instead of replacing them – We painted our bathroom cabinets to ensure they matched with the decor in the rest of the house.
blue painted bathroom cabinet

Soap Towel | Faucet Greenery Rug Frames | Blinds

9. Add Life and Visual Interest

Plants bring life to a space. Anything green automatically feels alive and it can be faux or real. I tend to like a mixture of the two. There should be greenery in every single room. (Look at each picture and you will see some soft of greenery in every single space) Don’t overdo it though. If you are a plant enthusiast maybe clear some out, but if you have nothing green in your house now is the time to add some.

Add visual interest be decorating in threes, fives, and sevens. This provides visual interest to otherwise symmetrical spaces. Think pillows and wall decor.

white bedroom with black iron bed and red velvet comforter

Bed Frame | Basket | Chair | Velvet Comforter | Blinds | Pillow | Fern | Brass Lamp

10. Make Sure to Stage Your Exterior

Curb appeal is so VERY important. As you know it’s the first thing someone will see even before setting foot into your home.

Ensure the grass is cut, the beds are weed free and mulched, the front door has a nice fresh coat of paint. Pressure wash anything that looks dingy, arrange your patio furniture, plant some fresh flowers in the garden beds. Stage the exterior too so buyers can visualize that there is more living space than just inside the four walls.

exterior home with deck

Images by Redfin

Home Staging – DIY or Hire a Pro?

There are different packages when it comes to home staging. It’s not a one size fits all. Do you need furniture brought in? Can you use what you have? How large is your house? Do you only need a few rooms staged?

Try and find a very good experienced agent; one that can do the staging and includes that in their listing fees. Our realtor was not only a fantastic agent but she was trained in staging. However, our home was very much ready for listing so she did not have to stage and gave us a listing discount.

She gave us a few pointers such as: remove some art in our bathroom and add a large vase with greenery instead. Paint the basement bathroom cabinet and move a chair from the guest room so it wouldn’t be cramped.

You can save on costs by paying a stager to rearrange items that you already own. The cost for staging jumps significantly when they have to bring in furniture.

foyer with bench used to stage home

The Bottom Line of Staging Your Home

Your goal is to emphasize the home’s best features, but keep in mind that what sells the home and what makes the home usable for the buyer are not necessarily the same thing. Home staging efforts should be designed to appeal to the widest possible range of buyers. The more people willing to submit offers for your home, the higher the selling price will be.

Hope these were helpful tips when you find it time to stage and sell your home!

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