Hi Friends! Today I am sharing my top 10 tips for staging your home when selling your house. This is the third home I have staged and I absolutely LOVE this part of selling our homes. I hope my tips help you achieve top dollar for your house!
1. Know Your Buyer
When staging your home, know the buyers that are most likely to purchase your home. With our first two houses, we were in trendier neighborhoods that appealed to young professionals and couples that were beginning to start their families. We made sure to highlight entertainment spaces as well as kid friendly areas to appeal to our most likely buyers. With our current home, our buyer will most likely be a more established family that is looking for more space so we will highlight the three bedrooms on one floor and a great living space for both adults and kids.
2. Curb Appeal
I would argue that curb appeal is the most important area to stage because it is the buyers first impression of your home. You don't want a buyer to lose interest at the curb and move on to the next house if it looks terrible. Think about the first time you laid eyes on your home, what caught your eye? What did you like, what did you dislike?
With each of our homes we have done some exterior renovations, however, we always complete these simple tasks to add to the curb appeal when preparing it for the open house.
Manicured yard: Mow the lawn, water the grass to make it as green as possible, mulch where it is needed and clean out the flower beds.
Play up the porch: Add seating and pillows to welcome buyers. Add a welcome mat and a door wreath for some added character. Sweep the porch and dust off any cobwebs in the corners.
Fresh flowers: We always add fresh flowers to planters to bring some life to the front of the house.
Before and After:
Bring in all the light! Open every blind and curtain and turn on every light in each room. Buyers want a home to feel bright and airy, not dark and confined. Don't forget to wash your windows before the open house either (this is a MUST if you have toddlers and pups with wet noses)! This will continue to welcome potential buyers into your home.
4. List of Upgrades
Don't assume that the buyer will notice your updates. Provide a list of upgrades for the buyer to see at the open house and also for your realtor to reference when he is talking up your house. In our current home we want to make sure potential buyers know that the swamp cooler is brand new with added vents, the roof is new, all floors (including carpet is new), etc. When we sold our last home I created a full "Homeowner Guidebook" that included everything a buyer would want to know about the home and neighborhood. This book included all upgrades, names of paint colors for each room (in case touchups were needed), schools, amenities, and I made sure to address anything that could cause buyers concern, like the large nursing home across the street. I highlighted that the nursing home tenants are quiet, friendly neighbors and and my toddler son loved to go and visit his buddies at the "Neighborhood House".
Pack up as much as you can in your house and put it into storage (or the garage). Here are a few areas to focus on:
Closet: If you have a small closet and your clothes are jammed into the space, take out half of them so it looks like there is room to add more. You don't want your buyers first thought to be that they won't be able to fit their belongings in the bedroom closet.
Toiletries: Hide away all toothbrushes, hair brushes and all shower toiletries when showing your home.
Counters: Clear off all counters. I tend to keep soap and a few staging materials like flowers, fruit and a cookbook, but all appliances and piles of junk must go.
Kids Items: It is ok to know that kids are present in the home, but store all of the big items like the high chair, bulky seats, walkers, etc.
Personal Items: I am in favor of peppering in some personal photos, but if there are tables of picture frames displaying your memories, I would pare that down. I also recommend limiting fan memorabilia, religious and political objects.
6. Deep Clean Your House
We hire a cleaner before our open houses and make sure they do a deep clean. This includes the floors, baseboards, bathrooms and the refrigerator. With kids and dogs, this small fee is totally worth it.
7. Flow of the House - Room Layout
The way we set up our homes for convenience is not always the most appealing layout for potential buyers. Whenever staging our homes, we always remove furniture items and rugs to improve the flow of each room. We have removed dressers, chairs and even swapped out big kitchen tables for smaller ones to improve the walking paths in each room.
Ok, so this one is not imperative but it is a big item that a buyer can check off the list and you will always get your money back. In our last home, the Neighborhood House, we swapped out our old appliances for stainless steel and it gave our small kitchen a major upgrade. Big appliance stores have great financing options so you can pay off the purchase once you sell the house.
9. Air Out Your House
An hour before the open house, open your windows and bring some fresh air into your house! Buy "expensive" candles and light them in a few rooms. Avoid air fresheners and plug-ins. You may be ok with the smell but buyers can be sensitive to the strong scent. I personally hate the smell of both.
The goal is for the buyers to love your house so much that they don't want to leave. When preparing for the open house, turn on music, light gas fireplaces, sprinkle the rooms with fresh flowers and have a friendly realtor who loves to chat up each visitor.