You probably have heard of or seen those “staging shows” on TV – the ones in which home sellers spend several thousand dollars before opening their home to potential buyers through showings and open houses.
That's staging? That's expensive – not to mention a lot of hard work. Experts in Your Home supports the idea of presenting a home in the best light possible. But we think you can stage your home to good effect with the items you already have, without spending a dime, and exerting just a little hard work beforehand. Here's how:
How to Stage Your Home
Attend to “Heavy Lifting” Tasks First
- Prune the items in each room by at least 25 percent (and more if you can) to create open space. (If you don't have room in the basement or garage to store items, consider renting a storage unit.) This step is vital; buyers have different budgets, but they all crave space.
- Do the same with closets (to give the impression of ample storage).
- Ensure that furniture is arranged so that it's easy to navigate and circulate around each room, especially around doors and closets.
- Read a previous Experts' piece on interior and exterior cleaning and maintenance tasks: “Selling Your Home? Follow this Handy Checklist to Make a Good First Impression.”
Depersonalize Your Home (As Difficult as it Might Be)
- Clear your home of family photos and especially wall montages. They could interfere with potential buyers trying to envision your home as their own.
- Pack up and store memorabilia areas and keepsake collections, which can distract potential buyers.
- Revert heavily themed rooms into neutral space. If you're stuck for ideas, a small bistro table and chair can plant the notion of either a place to relax or a place to work with a laptop.
Put Your Best “Face” Forward
- Try to view your foyer through the eyes of a newcomer – or ask an honest neighbor for help – and create a welcoming aura.
- Put away coat racks, key holders, stacks of mail and catch-all baskets.
- Consider placing a vase of flowers or a plant and either a large candle holder or lantern on a console table near the front door.
Put Care Into the Kitchen
- Organize the inside of your pantry and cabinets so they are neat and orderly.
- Stow tabletop appliances – the coffee maker, toaster, toaster oven – so your counters look uncluttered and open.
- Remove the leaf from your table to make the room look more spacious.
- Set the table with your best placemats, plates and glasses as if you were expecting special dinner guests.
Beautify Your Bathrooms
- Keep toilet lids down and shower doors closed.
- Place clean towels next to the sink and on towel racks.
- Give the rooms a spa-like feel by placing a decorative basket of soaps, moisturizer and hand towels in a prominent place.
Know that Odors Matter and Aromas Can Be Soothing
- Pour hot salt water down your kitchen sink twice a week and grind lemon rind to keep it smelling fresh.
- Vacuum your carpets after sprinkling baking soda on top to lift odors.
- Burn vanilla-scented wax pieces or candles.
Make Smart Moves Right Before a Showing or Open House
- Empty garbage cans.
- Clean mirrors and windows.
- Dust and vacuum the entire house.
- Open window treatments.
- Turn on lights in every room to brighten them.
- Turn off television sets (unless, perhaps, there is a major sporting event taking place that day).
- Turn on a radio to a classical music station (because it's soothing).
- Put pets in a place where they won't come into (much) contact with potential buyers.
- Consider popping an apple pie or cookies into the oven, if you can, so that your home exudes warmth and coziness.
There's nothing like selling a home that leads you to find more projects, big and small, that could be undertaken to improve its appeal to potential buyers. You probably cannot do them all, and you may need help getting some of them done. Contact Experts in Your Home, and together, we'll make your home look even better than any upstart you'll see on TV.