5 Simple Steps for Staging Your Home for Sale
We made around $50,000 when we sold our first home, and while we did an inexpensive DIY kitchen makeover, added a picket fence around the lot and did some electrical work, I can easily say that we made over $30,000 just by decorating the house well and staging it for sale. Many people argue that times are different now, and while the housing market most certainly plays a much bigger role in how much money you make when selling your home, staging your house for sale still can get you more money than when it's not staged. Real estate agents also like showing homes that they can proudly represent, and it's a good idea to make your home welcoming for the real estate agents as well; I always left imported chocolates on the table for the real estate agents and the prospective buyers.
Here are five simple steps for staging your home that everyone should follow before attempting to sell their home.
1. Distance yourself from your home.
Remember that when you are staging your home for sale, you are trying to get other people to like your home. Start thinking about your home as a house, not a home. A house that attracts different types of buyers.
Learn from my mistakes: I painted a Paris street scenery on my daughter's room in one of our houses. We designed it together, and I painted it with love, and the mural took a few weeks to finish. I didn't have the heart to paint over it when we were trying to sell the home. It would have only taken one day and a few buckets of paint, but it was so important to me that I couldn't do it. The one thing that was the closest to my heart ended up being one of the worst features when trying to sell the home. (The new owners, a young couple without kids, said painting over the mural was the only thing they ever did for the house after they bought it).
2. Depersonalize your home.
Similar to the first tip - your first step in staging your home for sale is taking everything personal out of it. When prospective buyers walk into your house, they want to see themselves living in it. If the walls are covered with photos of your family, it is difficult for them to see living in someone else's house. Instead of photos - frame pictures of flowers, travel destinations, art prints etc. Also, if you are a fan of a certain sports team, love everything Disney, collect miniature elephants or your favorite color is hot pink - none of these should be evident for the prospective buyers. Remember that their passions and hobbies might be completely opposite from yours. A cat person might not buy a house only because she is distracted when looking at the house covered with everything Pugs - items that home owners will take with them anyway when moving out. While you want to have some personal touches in your home when staging it for sale, all collections and personal items need to be removed.
3. Declutter and get rid of things.
Everything personal needs to come out! This is especially difficult for moms to do - taking down the kid art or all of the family photos is tough. Even tougher is trying to organize a home that has been well lived in for years. Get trash bags and large storage containers and make three piles of all nick nacks, decorative items, and half of the things you have in your bookshelves and other surfaces of your home. One container is for items you are keeping, the trash bags are for throwing away, and the the third one is for donations or selling (in a garage sale). I love hosting garage sales prior putting a house on the market, and I always make the yard look extra pretty and when people comment on it, I can already say the house is coming on the market soon. Remember the first two tips when decluttering your home.
4. Clean & Organize.
It might not be enough just to pack a few things away in boxes. If you don't have enough storage space for the additional boxes, I recommend getting a short term storage unit. I think you can get a small one for around $19 per month. It is worth the money to clear out some of your personal items, and also possibly some of your furniture if you have a lot of it. Also, I recommend taking all kids' large plastic toys etc. to storage. Your home must look uncluttered, clean and well organized. If your home looks like you can't fit all of your belongings in it - the prospective buyer will think she might not fit her stuff in it either. People DO look inside your closets, so make sure it is organized. Your house also needs to be clean. Get used to keeping your house spotless if you are trying to sell it, and also make sure you have at least an hour before each showing to do the last minute cleaning like wiping the faucets and the sinks, mirrors, finger prints off the fridge, the stove and vacuuming the house.
5. Finishing Touches
Now your home is clean, uncluttered and depersonalized - it's time to add a few finishing touches to make an impression for the prospective buyers. Fruit bowl for the look, scented air freshers for a welcoming scent, new pillows for the couch to make it look fresh. Think about how you can bring character to your home. Spending a few hundred dollars on nice crisp new towels for the bathrooms, fresh flowers in vases around the house and a new welcome mat at the front door will make your home look like you take good care of it, and the prospective buyers are more likely to turn into new owners.