Real estate agents and homeowners know that showcasing a house’s assets – which is what home staging does – attracts buyers and speeds up the selling process.
Home staging brings out an emotional response in buyers. The National Association of Realtors says 83% of buyers’ agents agree home staging helps buyers see themselves living in the home. Thus, staged homes sell 88% faster and are priced 20% more than non-staged ones.
Staged homes also solve problems that may have stayed hidden for years. This saves home sellers from awkward situations that force them to lower the price of their house.
The pandemic made DIY home staging (versus getting a professional home stager) more popular, as sellers have avoided open houses and become wary of having tradespeople visit their property. But staging remains a good way of boosting online presence through attractive photos.
Some home staging tips:
Make every part of the home – from floor to ceiling – sparkle. Kitchen appliances should be spotless. Bathrooms – the sink drain, tub corners, the area behind the toilet seat – must be immaculate. The aim is to make things look new.
- Away with clutter
Clutter takes the focus away from the home’s assets and limits space. Box up things you don’t use regularly. Throw away the unnecessary (e.g. expired food, medicine, old clothes, outworn toys). Strive for more storage space by emptying a third of your closet space, drawers, cabinets, and shelves (put the discarded items in storage or donate them to charity.)
- Don’t get personal
Let the buyers picture themselves taking over the home. Store family pictures, souvenirs, refrigerator magnets, and art. Hide clothes, toys, and empty bathroom counters (leave a fresh bar of soap). Depersonalize.
- Stay fresh
Green is the way to go this pandemic season. Have potted plants for a more inviting home. Space your plants for a cleaner look (unless there’s a greenhouse). Throw dead plants with dry, yellow, dust-filled leaves away.
Get rid of unpleasant odors – from pets, last night’s dinner, unaired rooms, storage spaces, etc. Bake cookies, brew a fresh batch of coffee, or light vanilla-scented candles before a scheduled private house tour.
Essential oils, herbs, flowers, beeswax candles, air purifiers also do the trick but stick to universally liked scents. Wipe the kitchen sink with half a lemon and take out the trash.
- Give rooms a purpose
Find a purpose for every room. Turn the attic into an office; the basement into an entertainment room. Use every available space, like alcoves, window seat corners, patios, etc.
- Stay neutral
Strip wallpaper off and paint the wall a neutral color. Never paint over wallpaper because it will show – and show shabbily
Use warm, neutrals like beige, gray, or off-white that invite buyers to put their personal stamp on the area.
- Mind the floor
Shampoos carpets or throw them out if threadbare – who knows, there may be hardwood floors beneath the carpeting. Replace cracked tiles or update the vinyl flooring in the kitchen if it’s scratchy or punctured. Consider laminates for other areas of the house. Regrout bathroom tiles if needed.
- Pay attention to curb appeal
Make a great first impression by enlivening the exterior or entryway with neatly pruned plants, trees, and hedges; a manicured lawn, flower boxes, and welcome doormats. Wash windows. Sweep the front yard and sidewalk leading to the house. Apply the appropriate detergent on oil-stained driveways before scrubbing or pressure washing the spots away.
If you’re selling your house in the Washington DC metro area, Heller Coley Reed is ready to serve. Zelda Heller, Jamie Coley, and Leigh Reed’s team of professionals includes an in-house home stager who will offer advice for the best results. Call the team at Heller Coley Reed at 240.800.5155, email hellercoleyreed(at)gmail(dotted)com, or contact them here.