The importance of staging your house before listing it cannot be overstated. One more time for emphasis: the importance of staging your house before listing it cannot be overstated. Skipping the house staging step leaves money on the table and extends the days-on-market.
House staging can feel like one extra thing to do and pay for on a pretty long list of to-do’s and expenses when selling your house, and it may feel like the only thing you can cut out. We’re here to tell you that is doesn’t have to take as much time or money as you might think.
Think of house staging as a part of the packing and cleaning process of selling your house. You are already planning to clean before the listing photos are taken and before showings, and you’re going to have to pack when you move – so staging your house is already “baked in” to the process. All you need is some encouragement and direction to make sure you are spending your time and resources wisely and to ensure that you get the best price possible for your house.
Top Tips for Staging Your House to Sell
HINT: Let’s make sure that we are doing things in order so that we are being as efficient as possible. [Example: If we deep clean before we pack out a room, we will have to clean again once items are moved and reveal additional marks, debris, or dust. So we will clean last.]
- Depersonalize | First, go through each room and remove all photos or personalized items (diplomas, certificates, Artwork using your names, etc). It’s imperative that a buyer can see themselves living in the house when they walk through – that will be a lot easier for them if “you” aren’t around during the showing. The “feel” you should be going for in each room is “vacation rental.” Think AirBnB or HomeAway vibes, and feel free to check out their rental photos to get an idea of what we mean. You may also consider packing away any art or items of significant or sentimental value at this time. This is also the time to remove any religious, political, or divisive decor that may offend someone with a different view.
- Declutter | You are going to have to pack everything in your house anyway. So why not get a jump on it now, especially if it will help your house sell faster and for more money? Even if you intend to use movers, you can cut costs if you do the packing yourselves. Pack away all non-essential items and furniture on floors and counters and in closets in each room. It is important for each room, and the house as a whole, to feel as spacious and neutral as possible. You can hide personal items (toiletries, prescriptions, CPAP machines, jewelry, etc) in drawers, closets, or under beds to get them out of the way for photos and showings.
- Deep Clean Everything | If you’d prefer and you can afford it, you can hire a cleaning service to do this part. Or you can do it yourself. The thing you should NOT do is: Not do it. Clean it all. Clean the things you hate to clean and especially anything you’ve been avoiding for an extended period of time. If you are selling your appliances with the house, clean those extra well. Buyers will look in the oven, in the shower, in the basement, everywhere. Clean it all. Don’t forget the cupboards and drawers (inside and out), baseboards, marks on the walls, the doors (near the handles where they tend to get gross), under the furniture if possible, and the windows. If the carpets needs to be cleaned you might consider renting a carpet cleaning machine or hiring a company to come and clean them. Soiled carpets can lower the perceived and real value of the house.
- Don’t Forget The Exterior | Make sure basic exterior maintenance is completed and any exterior decor or clutter is removed or packed away. Keep the lawn mowed and the edges trimmed. Consider a couple of potted seasonal plants to bring the front door area to life and to up curb appeal. This can be a low-cost high-impact improvement. If your patio furniture or cushions are tattered or soiled, consider packing them. It’s best to not have visible signs of extended wear and tear inside or outside the house, but especially in the areas where a buyer will be getting their first impression as they walk up to the door. Another low-cost high-impact idea is to add a new Welcome mat. Lastly, do not forget to make sure that your house numbers are easily identifiable even in the evenings. You may consider adding solar lights near your house numbers to help buyers with evening showings find the house if you don’t have exterior lights that reach the area where they are.
- Be A Buyer In Your Own House | Once you’ve completed the steps above leave your house and drive around the block and pull up as if you are going to a showing at your own house. Bring a notepad and be critical of what you see, hear, and even smell as you walk up to and walk through the house. Pretend that it isn’t your house. Pretend that you have just arrived at a vacation rental, would you be happy to stay here? Remember back to when you were buying this very same house, what drew you in? Are those same features being played to their strengths now? Is a new buyer going to notice them too?
That’s it. 5 steps. Once you’ve made it through those steps your house will be clean and half packed, leaving you to focus on other aspects of selling – like being a buyer yourself, or making plans for your next steps. And you’ll be able to spend the last few weeks in your house feeling a little like you’re living in a clean and spacious vacation rental!
You can do it! And if you need further advice, please give one of our agents a call. They’ll be happy to do a walk-through and help you make your to-do list!