In today’s fast-paced real estate market, staging your house for sale can be an enormous advantage. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, homes that are staged spend 78% LESS time on the market than homes that are not staged.
Staging your house for sale can help a buyer form a first impression that is welcoming and inviting as they explore each room. This puts the buyer in a positive frame of mind that helps them stay focused on imagining themselves living there rather than picking apart the things they don’t like.
Buyers will plan each room out, imagining how their own furniture, art, treasured keepsakes and window treatments would look there. Clearing out unnecessary items and opening up floor space, frees the buyer from wondering about hidden damage to to the home and deferred maintenance. A staged home also sends a strong message to the buyer that the seller is serious, ready to sell and prepared to move.
The 3 Phases of Staging
- Pre-staging your home includes tasks like deep cleaning, repairs, and packing for your next move. This can take place months before you contact an agent.
- Staging your home involves de-cluttering, rehanging artwork and painting.
- Showing your home involves surface cleaning, tidying, lighting and leaving!
This is the first stage of getting ready to sell your home. If you’re like most of us, you have lived in your home for quite some time and have accumulated a lot of stuff. It’s time to deep clean, have a yard sale and pack up the stuff that you want to keep but doesn’t belong on the shelves or walls for prospective buyers to see.
Your home is about to be scrutinized down to the last detail – every corner, nook and cranny. It’s time you take a look at what they will see.
Deep cleaning first involves going through your garage and storage closets. After all, these are the places where we tend to keep the junk that we think we will one day use but may not have been touched for years. Getting rid of the stuff here allows you to have some storage for your boxes if needed. While you’re pulling out things to get rid of, clean the spaces you haven’t seen in a while and take note of needed repairs (see below).
Think about having to move in a week’s time. Can you do it with your home in its current condition? This is what will happen after your buyer’s inspections end, so get ready!
Set aside things of value that you think you can sell at a yard sale or flea market. Box up the items that you want to take with you. If you need to, rent a remote storage unit or secure a pod that you can keep on a corner of your lot. When it comes time to close the sale, you’ll be ready to move in a few days. This also sets the buyer’s mind at ease, knowing that you are truly looking to sell your home and see the transaction through to the end.
Next, it’s time to go through your cabinets and bedroom closets – yes, buyers will look inside! Pack up clothes that won’t be needed for this season. Get rid of old toiletry items and pack up non-essentials. Think about what you will need for the next 3 months and then find a place for it, buy plastic bins or dividers to make the cabinets and closets look tidy.
In the kitchen, pack up your fancy china, tea sets and any small appliances that you don’t use on a regular basis. Your cabinets should display nicely with stacks of matching plates, utensils and glassware. Clean inside the cabinets and drawers. Deep clean your refrigerator and oven. If the bottom of your oven can not get totally clean from using the self-cleaning feature, consider buying a drip pan or placing aluminum foil there. Buy boxes of baking soda to have on hand for keeping your refrigerator free of smells.
Begin to de-personalize your walls and shelves by taking down any pictures of friends and family. Remove anything that makes a statement about religion, political affiliation, choice of music, sports mobilia, etc. You don’t want to “turn off” ANY potential buyer.
Remove extra clutter. How many items do you have on a shelf? Most of us can probably remove half of what is there and still have enough pieces to stage the area. Remember, think about moving out in a few days time. Leave the items that are neutral decor that can fill the space nicely. Get rid of stacks of magazines and newspapers. Take down dish plate displays in the kitchen that may look dated. Take down excessive artwork: too many pieces on one wall can feel heavy and claustrophobic to a buyer.
Pre-staging also is a time to take note of the things that need to be repaired. This is very important because it can save you money, perhaps 1000’s of dollars in the long run.
Don’t just take a mental note. Take pictures and notes of the items that need to be fixed. Read the Home Inspection section to find out more about WHY getting a home inspection before you list your home for sale is important.
The pre-staging phase includes fixing minor issues like:
- Installing electric outlet or light switch plate covers
- Repairing any exposed electrical wires
- Fixing lighting that doesn’t work and changing out light bulbs
- Installing missing AC floor register covers
- Fixing doors that don’t close or adding hardware to those folding doors to help them stay on their tracks
- Patching cracks and holes with spackling
- Replace chipped or cracked tile (Most homeowners will keep extra tiles from a project for times like these)
- Pull up carpeting if the underlying floor is hardwood.
- Check ceilings for water stains (Do you need a roof repair?)
- Paint ceilings if you’ve fixed roof leaks or have grease stains in your kitchen
- Re-caulk bathtubs and sinks if they look less than water tight
- Caulk windows and doors as needed
- Fix leaky faucets (Sometimes this can be easily accomplished by replacing washers. Bring your old washers with you to the hardware store)
Remove any lighting fixtures, drapes, and appliances that you wish to take with you to your next home. When a buyer walks through your home, they may assume the chandelier conveys, which could cause problems at the closing table, so replace or remove anything a buyer may expect to be included in the purchase of the home.