Staging your home is crucial to selling your home quickly and for the highest price. A well-staged home allows potential buyers to see everything your home has to offer and really picture themselves in the space. This makes home staging a critical pre-listing first step. Below is a list of helpful and easy to execute tips for staging your home for maximum impact:

  1. DECLUTTER: Nobody likes a crowded, disorganized space. In fact, research shows that clutter actually contributes to anxiety and stress. The last thing you want is for buyers to enter your home and immediatly feel overwhelmed by “stuff.” If it seems as though your house is packed full, buyers might perceive the home doesn’t have enough storage space or is simply too small. If you’re having a hard time deciding what to part with, consider renting a storage unit temporarily. It might be an added expenense, but just think about the fact that a cluttered house will most likely increase your house’s time on the market. Time is money, right?
  2. REMOVE EXCESSIVE PERSONALIZATION: There’s no need to remove every single family photo. After all, there’s nothing wrong with buyers seeing a happy family currently resides in the home they’re considering purchasing. But, take a look around and see if perhaps you have too many personal artifacts about. Remove children’s artwork from the front of your fridge; pare down from 10 picture frames on your mantle to a couple of well-positioned frames; move collections of personal memoriabilia to storage for the time being. We want buyers to know it’s a happy space, but we also want them to be able to picture themselves in the space, and that’s hard if they’re seeing signs of someone else at every turn.
  3. ERASE SIGNS OF PETS: Every pet owner loves his/her animal. I, myself, have 2 toy poodles I adore. But our love for our pets can’t blind us to the fact that pets are animals and thus create odors and mess. Try to objectively look at your house for signs of pets living there and do all you can to mimimize the impact they leave on your home. Because you might be so used to the smell of your own house, ask your most honest friend to come over and tell you if your house has a pet odor. If she says yes, take steps to remedy the problem. You might need to rent a carpet cleaner. Consider getting an essential oil diffuser with a fresh, pleasing aroma. Erasing signs of pets will go far in leaving a postive impression upon potential buyers.
  4. GO NEUTRAL: Neutral colors have a broader appeal than bold, loud colors. While you might love your bright orange accent wall, not everybody will, and that could cost you a potential buyer. Most buyers have a difficult time seeing past certain design choices and might outright elimitate your home based on one dramatic feature.
  5. INCREASE NATURAL LIGHT: Natural light greatly improves the look and feel of any space. You might love your dupioni silk drapes and want to showcase them, but you’d be far better off opening the drapes and allowing natural light to flow through. Go through rooms and look to see where you can increase natural light. Be particularly mindful of this in your living space, as it’s usually the first area a buyer will see and first impressions are lasting impressions.
  6. REPLACE OLD FIXTURES AND DECOR: You want your home to feel as fresh and new as possible. Walk through your house and look at the lighting fixtures, faucets, door knobs, etc. Are they old, tarnished and dated? If so, consider investing in some updates. Updating fixtures is a relatively inexpensive way to aesthetically improve your home and will go a long way in making your home feel fresh and clean. Look at your kitchen and bathroom towels. Are they stained and ragged? Even if they look OK but have been used for a long time, you might consider getting some plush new towels. Even the seemingly smallest thing could help create a favorable impression of your home.
  7. ENLARGE THE SPACE: Now that you’ve decluttered your space, you should look around and find subtle ways to make your space appear larger. Does your table have a leaf in it? Consider removing it to make your dining room or kitchen feel more spacious. Do you have several accent chairs or large recliners in your living room? Remove some to open up the space. You’d be shocked what removing just one large chair can do to increase the feeling of size. Also, mirrors are a good way to make space feel larger because they reflect light. Purchase a couple and arrange throughout your space.
  8. ORGANIZE TOYS/BABY GEAR: If you have a house with children living in it, you undoubtedly have tons of toys and baby gear. Buyers will appreciate a well-organized kids’ or playroom. If they see you can keep a tidy, organized space with your kids living there, they’ll be able to envision themselves doing the same. Buy cubbies with baskets, bookshelves, or maybe some under-the-bed storage bins to help contain everything. Make sure baby gear, such as swings and pack-in-plays, are folded and put away prior to showings. Even though these things are functional and necessary for you, buyers might not be able to appreciate their necessity and only see a cluttered, tight space.
  9. STAGE EXTRA ROOMS: If you have extra rooms that aren’t in use, try to find a way to make them functional. Put in a small bed with a night stand, or an office desk with filing cabinet, rather than keeping a room completely empty. Although it seems counter-intuitive, the right amount of furnishings can actually make an empty space look larger.
  10. ENHANCE CURB APPEAL: The exterior of your home is equally important. It’s the first thing a buyer sees and can make or break a house showing. You want buyers to pull up and see a well-manicured lawn and garden and a fresh house facade. Go outside and, with an objective eye, look at the entire exterior of your home. Pull weeds and trim errant branches on bushes. If your garden is sparse and dull, consider spreading some fresh mulch. It’s a relatively inexpensive way to make your garden look fresh and new. If you don’t feel like planting flowers directly in your garden bed, purchase some potted plants and flowers (in pretty planters and pots) and arrange them throughout for pops of color. Pressure wash the exterior of your house and driveway/sidewalk. This is a surefire way to make your house look fresh and clean. Also, remove debris from your roof. Buyers are usually wary of roofs because they are such an expense to replace. If they see collections of leaves and pine needles on your roof, they might assume the roof hasn’t been properly cared for and need replacing.

This list is an excellent starting point if you’re considering selling your home. Take it one step at a time and you’ll be on your way to show-stopping showings. Do you have any staging ideas I haven’t suggested? Please share them in a comment!

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