Home staging tips
Start With Curb Appeal
First impressions matter, so make your home stand out the instant buyers pull up to the curb. Some upgrades can be done in a weekend and will cost more in sweat equity than actual dollars. A few suggestions: rent a pressure washer to remove dirt and grime from your siding, roof, fascia, and gutters. Paint the front door and/or shutters a bright color, but make sure it coordinates well with the rest of the home’s colors. Replace old house numbers, lighting, the mailbox, and welcome mat. Clean up the edging around flowerbeds and lay down fresh mulch. Fill in empty beds with small shrubs, seasonal flowers, and greenery. Even if it’s the dead of winter, get a pair of urns or large planters and fill them with small evergreen shrubs and cold-hardy annuals. If you have window boxes, fill them with fresh greenery too. If your porch or stoop has room for furniture, add a couple of chairs to expand your outdoor living space.
Give the Kitchen a Facelift
Kitchens sell houses, so any updates you make have the potential to go a long way. And they don’t have to be expensive; some upgrades can be accomplished with mostly elbow grease. Start by showing off your storage. Pack up the seldom-used small appliances and holiday dishware for your next house and use up all the dry goods in the back of the pantry. Clear clutter off the countertops. Consider giving your cabinets a facelift with paint; go for classic white or try a dark neutral like gray or slate blue. At the very least, change the outdated hardware for an easy DIY. A corroded faucet or one caked with hard-water stains can be a big turn-off; swap it out for one with style and added function. Instead of replacing the dishwasher, check with the manufacturer to see if they sell replacement panels for your model. If not, peel-and-stick contact paper can be used to make your dishwasher and your other appliances look like stainless steel. To update a backsplash on the cheap, try peel-and-stick faux tile, tin tile, beadboard paneling or try painting the existing tile.
Pare Down Furniture
The most important thing you can do to prepare your home for sale is to get rid of clutter. One of the major contributors to a cluttered look is having too much furniture. When professional stagers descend on a home being prepped for market, they often whisk away as much as half the owner's furnishings, so the house looks bigger. You want potential buyers to be able to move around each room without being blocked by furniture. Make sure they can easily access your home’s best features like the fireplace or built-in bookshelves, and make sure they can look out all the windows. Avoid a cluttered look by minimizing items on the coffee table and not piling so many pillows on the couch that nobody can sit on it.
Rethink Furniture Placement
There's a common belief that rooms will feel larger if all the furniture is pushed against the walls, but that isn't the case. Instead, furnish your space by floating furniture away from walls. Reposition sofas and chairs into cozy conversational groups, and place pieces so that the traffic flow in a room is obvious. Not only will this make the space more user-friendly, but it will open the room and make it seem larger.
Add Functional Office Space
These days more people are working from home and homeschooling is becoming commonplace, so a workspace may be essential for your potential buyers. If you don’t have an entire room to dedicate to a home office, carve out a nook in a spare bedroom, a corner of the living room or even a closet.
Potential buyers want to be able to picture themselves in your home, and that’s hard to do if all they see are your personal items. Remove family photos, your kids’ artwork, framed diplomas, and personal collections. Pack these items up to take to your new home and replace them with generic artwork.
Show Off Your Storage
Storage always ranks high on buyers' priority list. Show off yours by decluttering your closets and cabinets. Keep closets neat by stashing items in matching baskets and cloth bins. Implement shoe racks and under-shelf baskets to demonstrate the versatility of your storage. Straighten out the linen closet and add a couple of satchels of potpourri so when buyers peek inside, they’ll be greeted by fresh-smelling sheets and towels.
Make Bathrooms Shine
Scrub the bathrooms, then scrub them all again. Nothing is going to turn off a potential buyer more than a scuzzy bathroom. Remove hard-water stains from faucets, make sure there is no sign of mold and remove clutter by whittling down your cosmetics and products in the vanity and medicine cabinet. Invest in new shower curtains, rugs, and bathmats (you can always take them with you when you move). If the tile is looking old, consider having it repainted. If discolored grout is an issue, you can fix that with a $15 bottle of grout stain. If there's moldy caulk around the tub or shower, remove it using a razor blade then recaulk the entire area. Then when all that cleaning is done, create a spa look with fluffy white towels, candles, a few fancy soaps, and a couple of apothecary-style accessories.
Amp Up the Lighting
One of the things that make staged homes look so warm and welcoming is great lighting. Increase the wattage in your lamps and fixtures. Aim for a total of 100 watts for every 50 square feet. Don't depend on just one or two light fixtures per room, either. Make sure you have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading) and accent (table and wall).
Erase Signs of Pets
We totally understand how much you love your pets (we do, too), but potential buyers may be turned off by pet odors or be allergic to fur and dander. Thoroughly clean the areas where your pets spend most of their time and add air fresheners. When potential buyers come calling, throw the pet beds, crates, toys, food dishes and litter boxes in your car then take Fido or Fluffy for a walk in the park.