Home Staging: Does It Make A Difference?

Laurie WallBuying and Selling, Cleaning and Organization

Home staging is extremely popular and effective among buyers and sellers alike. If you’ve never staged your home to sell before, you may be wondering whether or not you should. Is it worth it? Does it actually make a difference? Here is a quick overview of this strategy and some tips on how you can make it work for you.

Why Stage Your Home

Home staging removes all the clutter, and perhaps even your own furniture, from your home. Those items are then replaced with carefully selected furnishings and accessories that will make your home look its best to prospective buyers. Staging serves several important purposes:

  • Staging creates a neutrally furnished home with a lived-in look that allows potential buyers to easily imagine themselves living there.
  • It clears out clutter to make your home look its best.
  • Staging creates an emotional experience and response from buyers.
  • Staging your home helps your home sell faster and potentially for more money.
  • It helps your home stand out from other similar homes on the market.
  • Staging makes the home selling process better, easier and more enjoyable for you.

Stage to Sell

Download our free guide for quick, simple staging tips to help your home sell fast!

Tips for Home Staging

Now that you know a few reasons why home staging is important, let’s talk about how to stage your home to get the best results.

Know Your Market 

When it comes to staging your home, it’s important to know who your home is likely to appeal to. Then, you can stage your home with decor that reflects that audience. For instance, a trendy urban apartment and a high-end property should have completely different furnishings and accessories than a farmhouse in a small country town. This is where rented furnishings and accessories, or even a professional staging company, may come into play. By staging to impress the buyers that are most likely to view your home, you immediately grab their attention and appeal to their sense of style.

Start With the FrontStaging Your Home - Front porch with furniture decorated for Fall

Why stage your home? Because first impressions really do matter. The front of your home is what will draw in prospective buyers, so you want to make sure it looks its best. Freshen up the paint, pretty up the porch with flowers, and add some quaint and comfortable outdoor furniture to the porch to evoke thoughts of relaxing outdoors with a cup of coffee. Even if your porch is small, add some elements to make it warm and inviting. Put a clean welcome mat in front of the door and set out a blooming potted plant or two. This will make potential buyers feel welcome and at home before they even see the inside.

If you have an outdoor living space in your backyard, make sure it is clean and organized. Buyers can’t see its true beauty if it’s covered in leaves and dirty outdoor furniture. Take some time to clean up your landscaping and consider adding features such as a fire pit or outdoor kitchen. These can be huge selling points for buyers, and can go a long way in adding value to your home. 

Learn More: How to Add Curb Appeal to Your Home

Make it Squeaky Clean

When potential buyers come to visit, the last thing you want them to see is an unkempt house. Before welcoming people in, one of the first things you need to do is clean your home from top to bottom. Clean and clear off countertops, dust the shelves, and vacuum and mop the floors. Clean your sinks, tubs and toilets, empty the trash cans and wipe down your mirrors and windows. A cluttered and messy house is one of the fastest ways to sway a potential buyers’ interest in your Staging Your Home - Clean white kitchen stagedhome. And, believe it or not, they will notice even the smallest of details. Leave nothing untouched.

Give special attention to places that can easily get cluttered, like closets, cabinets, and drawers. You would ideally like to aim for about 20 to 30 percent free space in cabinets or closets. When they’re packed full, it makes the storage space seem much smaller than it really is, which could be a deciding factor for some. Clearing out the clutter will make everything seem open and spacious, a big selling point for most buyers.

When it comes to cleaning your home, it may be beneficial to invest some money in hiring a professional cleaning company. This gets your home ready to sell and makes it a lot easier for you to keep clean and take care of from day to day. If you are having professional photography done for an online listing, a cleaning company will help make your space look like a million bucks.

Learn More: Six Ways to Prep for a Smooth Open House

Think NeutralStaging Your Home - Neutral Living Room with Fireplace

It’s no secret that when it comes to selling your home, your goal is to permit prospective buyers to envision themselves in your home. You don’t want to turn them off with decor that doesn’t jibe with their own personal style. Paint, furnishings, and decorations can all easily be changed. But they can often be really difficult for potential buyers to look past if they aren’t what they themselves would choose. For this reason, color palettes and decor should be kept fairly neutral, simple and classic. This allows people the freedom to imagine their own personal style and belongings when they imagine themselves living there.

Keeping things neutral, however, doesn’t just apply to wall color and decor. Take some time to remove any personal touches throughout your home. This includes things like family portraits and personalized or monogrammed items. You want your home to be a clean slate; a place where buyers can envision their own belongings ending up. If they can easily imagine their life in your home, they’re much more likely to make an offer.

Staging Your Home - Living room with fireplace and coffee table staged for saleAccessorize With Style

The goal of staging is not to create a sterile environment, but to give the home a gently lived-in feel. Once you finish staging the furniture, add a few tasteful accessories – a basket here and there, a chair with a throw blanket draped over it, and some carefully placed coffee-table books. To add a pop of color and lend a warmer, more welcoming atmosphere, add a vase of fresh flowers, a few houseplants, or a bowl of lemons.

Re-Configure the Furniture

Staging Your Home - home office with couch, desk and desk chairWhen staging your home, be sure to highlight its best features. While the layout of your furniture has been practical and worked well for your family’s everyday needs, it may not have the best visual impact to impress potential buyers. Keep symmetry in mind, and try to create a sense of balance in every room. Remove large, bulky furniture that could block traffic or make the space seem smaller or more cluttered. Pay attention to the flow and purpose of each room, and make sure their use is clear. Rooms such as offices, game rooms, and studies are great selling points for potential buyers. If you’ve been using an office as a spare bedroom, it could be much more beneficial to stage it as an office. Add a small desk and chair to make the room’s true purpose clear. Buyers can become confused and overwhelmed if the purpose of a room is unclear. It often makes it difficult for them to envision what they would do with the space if they moved in.

Stage Every Square Foot

Staging Your Home - Front entry with curved staircase and staged alcoveMany homes have small, awkward spaces that are not always practical or widely utilized. While they may seem useless at first glance, it’s important to not overlook “hidden” square footage. If your home has open space under the stairs, or a small nook or alcove, try to find a way to make the most out them. Find a small bookcase, a vase of flowers, or a piece of artwork that fits each space perfectly. These spaces could actually end up being huge selling features for potential buyers.

When viewing your home, a lot of buyers will open every door and look inside every room. They want to make sure the home has everything they need. This means that no space goes unseen. Places like closets, pantries, cabinets, and yes, even the garage, should be staged properly. Make sure they are functional and organized in a visually appealing way. This will help buyers easily imagine their belongings fitting in each space.

Don’t underestimate the impact staging can have on the sale of your home. Remember, when selling your home, you’re not just selling four walls and a roof. You’re selling a vision of a life lived there, and without proper staging, that vision may fall short. The right staging could set your home apart from the rest and could be the deciding factor for many potential buyers.

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