Home staging is an art, and these tips – most of which just require a little elbow grease and sweat equity – can make a huge difference in selling a home.
Make a great impression at your open house with a few simple staging tips. Give your potential buyers a flyer on the way out so they will remember the experience and your listing!
1. Clutter & Grime = The Enemy
Making sure the home is de-cluttered and spotless is probably the number one (and least expensive!) tip for making a home showable. You have heard it before: less is more – and never is this adage more true than when you go to show a home.
Clutter will make the house feel smaller than it actually is – in fact, too many nicknacks, papers, haphazard bookcases and shelves, overflowing coffee tables, and stuffed countertops can make potential buyers feel claustrophobic.
In fact, even too much furniture (even if it is de-cluttered) can make rooms feel smaller than they are. If your clients don’t need that extra dresser, end table, or coffee table, recommend that they remove any extra furniture from the house.
Also, don’t neglect those rooms reserved for utilitarian tasks, such as the laundry room, garage, and closets. Seeing a huge pile of dirty laundry will remind potential buyers how much they hate doing the wash rather than how much they love the house!
When you are living in a home, sometimes it is easy to overlook deep cleaning tasks. Are your walls clean or have one of the kids wiped excess peanut butter on them on their way down the hall? How about those baseboards? Do they have a line of dirt on top? When is last time surfaces were dusted? Have the window sills been recently cleaned?
If the deep cleaning seems a little too daunting for your clients, recommend that they hire a professional cleaning service to take care of it for them – the expense will be a very worthwhile investment that they are sure to get back.
By removing your personal items from sight, from toothbrushes to nicknacks to photos, you allow the potential buyer to better envision the home as their own.
It is especially important that bathrooms are clean with all personal toiletries put away – potential buyers don’t want to see someone else’s toothbrush or deodorant sitting on the counter. By removing personal items, you’ll allow the potential buyer to better envision the space as their own. This applies not only to bathrooms, but to every space in the house (e.g. in a home office, put away bills or other personal paperwork; in a living room, favor artwork over personal photos, etc.)
What is that smell?
Hopefully if a potential buyer thinks or asks this, it is because they smell something wonderful. A clean home also tends to smell good (or at least neutral), but why stop there? There is a reason why you’ve heard of baking bread or chocolate chip cookies right before a showing – it makes a house smell like a home. A fantastic-smelling home. You can also use plug-in air fresheners or candles to create the scent you’re after.
Make your house smell like a home with fresh-baked cookies, bread, or scented candles.
Capture drive-bys with curb appeal
You only get one chance to give a great first impression of a house. You certainly don’t want potential buyers to drive on by because the leaves aren’t raked or the lawn looks over grown. Having your clients keep up on the yard work – whether themselves or through a yard service – is critical. Make sure flower beds are weeded and shrubs are trimmed. Consider a new layer of bark or decorative gravel where appropriate to make the yard appear nice and tidy and pleasant.
Where am I?
Sometimes we reinvent rooms, but this is usually a no-no when showing a home. For example, a spare bedroom may have been “reinvented” as a very convenient storage room. However, when staging a home, it really ought to be staged for what it is. Has a formal dining room with a lovely chandelier been turned into a home office? Make sure to turn that space back into a dining room before showing the house. Has the living room been serving as a multipurpose room – complete with toys, computer, television, and coat rack? To demonstrate the full value of the house and to avoid turning off your potential buyers with confusing spaces, make sure that each is staged in a manner that shows off its true purpose.
Real Estate Flyer: Remember how great that house was?
After deep cleaning, de-cluttering, baking cookies, weeding the flower bed, and un-inventing rooms, the open house is sure to be a success. But don’t let those potential buyers forget just how much they loved the house. Consider making a real estate flyer (www.realtormonkey.com) specifically for the open house or showings so that potential buyers have a reminder of the property. You may also include on the flyer any cool perks that come with the house, such as appliances, home theater systems, or other features that might help you seal the deal.
What have you done to help your clients stage their home? What other tips would you add here?