These 7 affordable home staging tips can help you sell faster
Imagine your $300,000 home languishes on the market for six months. You become frustrated and consider dropping the price $15,000 (5 percent).
Now imagine investing only a fraction of that sum in staging, and the home sells faster. That’s the value of staging, which is not decorating. “Decorating is personalizing your home, staging is depersonalizing the house to show it as a product,” explains Barb Schwarz, president and CEO of StagedHomes.com.
If you want potential buyers to fall in love with your home, there are inexpensive ways to make your home more appealing – inside and out.
- Shift into neutrals: Your child may have enjoyed sleeping in a bedroom with navy walls covered with glow-in-the-dark stars, but potential buyers might not agree it’s out-of-this-world. Go for neutral walls and “movable” color accents (e.g., area rugs, artwork, bedspreads, towels, toss pillows, and throws), advises Schwarz. Not only will the room look brighter, it will appear larger and appeal to a broader range of house hunters. The floors and carpeting should follow the same rule.
- Give spaces a purpose: If there’s a space that’s half office and half catchall for storage boxes and random stuff, it’s time to give that area a purpose. For example, a shelving area with a little extra room could easily be turned into a reading nook with the addition of a comfy chair (draped with a blanket, of course), area rug, and a lamp. Make use of the space you have to showcase the possibilities the new owner could enjoy. Just remember to keep furniture proportional to the room size.
- Tidy up: It seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people leave their house as-is. It doesn’t look lived in; it looks like you’re not really planning to move! While you don’t want your house to look sterile, you should take time to remove clutter, clear off counters, and remove personal items like photographs, memorabilia collections, and that high school track trophy. You can replace them with more widely-appealing items like an interesting vase or a pleasant smelling candle.
- Sweat the details: People tend to notice the details – a basement cobweb, a random light switch plate a different color than the others in the room. View your home through the eyes of a buyer. Are the walls clean? Is the ceiling fan dusty? Does the doorbell work? Are the closets chaotic? Straightening up, cleaning all of the nooks and crannies, and adding thoughtful touches are critical. Something as simple as making sure there are hand towels in the bathroom (in case people need to use it) can help buyers imagine themselves living in the home.
While the inside needs to be inviting, don’t overlook the exterior, as it provides the all-important first impression. If your home looks neglected outside, buyers may not come in. Think of the exterior of your house as the lure to reel buyers in.
- Spruce up the landscape. Trim trees and shrubs and depending on the time of year you could plant colorful flowers or add a flower pot to the porch. Repaint the address numbers. Clean the windows and power wash the garage door. Remember some people may stop in at night, so install or check exterior lighting. And keep outdoor décor to a minimum, especially during any holidays.
- Have cracks inspected. Some buyers might assume you aren’t maintaining your home if they notice cracks or may wonder if cracks could indicate larger problems with drainage or the foundation. To be on the safe side, have damage inspected and consider making repairs before you list your home for sale.
- Clear gutters and rooftops. While debris in your gutters or the roof could be a cosmetic issue rather than a more serious concern, it’s something that could distract buyers and lead them into thinking you’ve let the place go. To be on the safe side, get them cleared when debris can be seen from inside or outside of your home.
Staging your home can be fun and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. “Staging is an investment that will set your home apart and help you sell faster,” says Schwarz.
“A house that does not appeal to buyers will sit on the market for months and often will require a significant price reduction to eventually sell.”
Victoria Araj is the team leader for the Quicken Loans Zing Blog, offering tips on all things home, money, and lifestyle.