Six essential staging tips for selling your home
This is a 5 minute read, listing a few simple things you can do to stage your home for maximum buyer interest.
1. De-personalize your home.
I have a funny story about this one. A few years ago, back before I knew anything about interior design, I asked my mom and sister to decorate some of my first apartment. One of the things they put up was a stick-on phrase in my bathroom wall: “relax, refresh and renew.” Being a 24 year old bachelor, I found it especially fitting (sarcasm.) Every time I stepped into my bathroom I felt emasculated by the domineering cursive commands commandeering my wall (how’s that alliteration?). In selling your home, you want to avoid any words on walls. A common one is to put up words like “love” or “family,” or “live, laugh, love,” etc. While these commands are universally appealing in a sense, they are a problem in a few ways
No one likes being told what to do. I don’t walk up to a girl I like and yell “love me.” People like feeling love, but a giant bold command on the living room wall instructing you to do so is off-putting to prospective buyers.
When people shop for homes, it’s like trying on a pair of jeans at a clothing store.
The jeans have to be nice, but what’s more important is that you feel good about yourself wearing them. They might arguably be the best jeans money can buy, but if they don’t fit why would you buy them? Same thing goes for buying a home. The person has to be able envision living in the home. It may be hard for the young newly-weds to imagine starting their own family in your house when you have pictures of your own kids hanging on the wall with the words “live laugh love” underneath. It’s just too personal. It’d be like if you were trying on a pair of jeans and someone came up and was like “Oh I just tried those on. I think they looked nicer on me.” A little off-putting, even if you liked those jeans.
2. They just hate us 'cause they paint us.
If you decide to repaint, use a neutral color! You might be thinking, “do I need to repaint?” Well good sir, if you have to ask then you probably should. Your 5th grade son might love the Spongebob-yellow walls in his bedroom. But maybe the perspective buyer doesn’t have kids and was planning to turn an extra bedroom into an office. It’ll probably be hard to picture for that buyer if all they can think of when looking at that room is “who lives in a pineapple under the sea?” Also, even if the color isn’t obnoxious like that example, consider going neutral over your currently colored walls. You may love baby blue, but I know there are many young buyers that equate baby blue designs of the 80s. Maybe the red on your walls isn’t going to appeal to the perspective buyer that is a former matador with PTSD. A fresh coat of a soft earthy gray, or greige (gray + beige) will go very far in making your home palatable to the masses, and allow their imagination to work with what is in front of them. I sound dreary, but avoid bold colors in general, even on accent walls.
I have news for you. You are going to have to pack at some point. Why not do most of it now?
This costs you no money and has a huge impact on appeal. Remove and or pack as much as you can. Throw it in your basement, attic, a friend’s house, etc. until you’re ready to move. I guarantee that the more you pack away, the larger, cleaner and more inviting your space will appear to perspective buyers.
4. Bathrooms and kitchens.
You may have heard that bathrooms and kitchens sell homes. I guess it’s because people love to eat and as a result have to use the bathroom.
When it comes to your kitchen, clear away as many appliances as possible. You want negative space. Negative space is beautiful in interior design. If you are handy and want to go the extra mile, install a simple backsplash. If the design is congruent with your space, a white subway tile backslash is cheap, modern and non-alienating to young buyers that tend to avoid browns and bold color. Painting cabinets is a huge job that I don’t recommend trying to squeeze in unless you have a lot of time, energy and know how. Something simple you can do however is purchase brushed nickel hardware. You can get great hardware from Amazon for a third of the price compared to Home Depot or Lowes. Installation is easy peasy with a template like this one: (template). When it comes to bathrooms, there are two things to remember: clean it thoroughly (no grime in your tile. Get in there with CLR and a toothbrush if need be), and put your toiletries out of site. Throw them in your vanity or somewhere no one can see them. Toiletries are both unappealing and alienate buyers by being personal. Put out clean white towels on towel racks, make it smell nice and don’t poop before a walkthrough.
5. Make the space look larger.
There are a few things you can do here: The easiest is to make sure all drapes and curtains are pulled open so the room is flooded with as much light as possible. I’m a light freak. I bought my first home with based on how much light it gets and I haven’t regretted it. It’s really important to some people so don’t underestimate this tactic. Consider mounting your drapes higher on the wall. This makes the ceiling look higher and the room larger. And of course, the less stuff you have, the bigger the house is going to feel, so pre-pack!
6. Consider updating your home:
Updating your home is not for the faint of heart. If you do it yourself it takes a lot of time, energy and stress. If you hire someone it can be very costly and still take some time. Consider however that when you update your home you will get your money back and then some. Updating a kitchen and bathroom will give you the most return on your investment. Make sure however that you do not spend money on updating these rooms only to have a design that is unappealing. It’s a sad story when I see someone spend a lot of money on redoing a bathroom or kitchen and the design is outdated.
Just because something is new doesn’t mean it is going to look new to a buyer.
And sadly, many contractors are stuck in the 80s and 90s and just don’t understand what a good kitchen and bathroom looks like in the year 2015. Clean lines and neutral colors will appeal to the masses. Stay away from brown cabinets, brown countertops and pretty much anything brown. Brown was in during the 90s. Guess what it will look like if you go brown? Probably about 15 years old. Pinterest, Houzz and HGTV are great ways to find modern deigns that sell. Gray, white and neutral colors are in at the moment. Another thing to consider: do you have carpet? Is there a wood floor under the carpet? If so, you’re sitting ongold mine. Okay not really a gold mine, but it’s a no-brainer to rip that sucker up and buff that floor. The 80s and 90s were a very strange time. Why would anyone put a nasty carpet over that gorgeous floor!? Time for you to benefit from someone else’s (or your own) silly 80s antics. Hardwood floors are in.
I hope you enjoyed this article on tips for staging your home! Please share it with your friends and family.
My name is Brandon Rasmussen and I’m a Realtor. If you are thinking of buying, selling, or renting a home I can make it simple and stress free. Give me a call or text at 609-651-5167. Or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.