One of the most powerful tools a seller can use to sell a home quickly and effectively at any price level is staging. When you take the extra step and professionally stage a home, so many wonderful things follow. Your home photography and internet presence has more emotional impact (90% of buyers start their home search online). The home sells faster (50% faster than non-staged homes). And, most importantly, you make more money (6-8% more than non-staged homes).
The problem is, most sellers don’t bother, and most agents don’t know how and won’t pay for a professional stager to intervene. In this post, I offer a do-it-yourself staging guide for sellers to follow. But I also recommend using a professional stager when neither the seller nor agent has the will or knowledge to properly stage a home for sale.
" Staging is the process of properly preparing a home for sale so the buyer can mentally move in. "Barb Schwarz, President of International Association of Home Staging Professionals
In addition, remember that before staging even begins, a seller needs to complete proper home preparation basics, including: a thorough home cleaning (including window washing); decluttering, depersonalizing, and consolidation of all non-essential, non-staging personal property to a central location (garage, basement, POD); and a basic landscaping “refresh” in the front and back of home (new chips, perennials, trim or remove scrub trees and bushes). So, with that in mind, here are the top 6 home staging tips that will help maximize the appeal of your home:
First things first, my friends. You have to remove the veneer of the past from your home. The most impactful improvements with the highest ROI are (in order) new paint, new carpeting and flooring, new lighting, and new window treatments. If your budget is tight, at the very least, take down the old, dated, oversized curtains, patch the holes, paint the walls, and expose the hardwoods underneath the old carpeting.
2. Put Yours Rugs Into Service, The Right Way.
Even without furniture, a rug can improve the visual appeal and warmth of a room. Pick the right size, color, and placement for each room (see diagram for living room, dining room, bedroom). Rugs should complement your artwork and walls in terms of color and design.
3. Make Your Bookshelves Shine.
Bookshelves have a lot of effect when used properly in a staging plan. First, take the old books and baubles down. Pick the best books you have: in the best condition, multiple sizes and colors, with the least controversial content (no politics or religion). Restage the shelves with groups of books and baubles, some horizontal, some vertical, and don’t forget to leave some open space (for fireplace mantles see here).
4. Arrange Your Furniture Conversationally.
Furniture needs to be arranged in groups that encourage conversation and face-to-face interaction, that invite people in to gather, and that are open to the room. Use rugs effectively in these spaces as outlined above. Augment the look and feel with nice accessories and throws.
5. Get Emotional with Your Artwork
Like rugs, artwork of the proper size, color, and pattern can greatly influence the emotional impact of a room. I consider art to be a focal point both in terms of content and color in a room. Artwork should generally be hung so the mid-point is at eye level, and so it naturally aligns with architectural elements like windows and doors.
6. Hotel the Rest.
Make it feel like a luxury vacation for the buyer. White, fresh towels in the bathroom. Fluffy bedding with multiple pillows and layers in the bedroom. Fresh fruit in the kitchen. And fresh flowers in the living room, dining room, and entry.