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“Home staging” began in the early ’70s and has become a well-known concept. The point of home staging is to make a home sell faster and for more money by making it the most appealing home to the greatest number of potential buyers. To do this, you need to do things to your home that put it above the others currently for sale in your area. Staging is the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.

Here is a printable checklist how to stage your home. If you only have 1 hour or 10 minutes to a showing, here is a checklist of what to do fast!

Here are 7 home staging tips that will make your home stand out from the crowd.

Tip #1: Stage First

In fact, other than your realtor, no one should see your home before it is staged. This includes the photographer, the appraiser, broker walk-through, and potential buyers!

  • Photographer: Since over 90% of home searches are done online, it is necessary for you to put photos of your home on the Internet. You will want these photos to make your home look fantastic so that as many people as possible want to come to see the real thing. Staged homes look better in photographs.
  • Appraiser: Appraisers determine the value of your home by the square footage, the features, and how they believe it will sell in the current market. Clean, uncluttered, spacious, staged homes appraise better than similar non-staged homes.
  • Broker Walk-Through: Although your realtor may have seen your home before the staging process, no other agent should. They are not as invested in your home as your own sellers agent. To get them invested, you will want your home showing in its best light the first time they see it.
  • Potential Buyers: Buyers want to see a home that is ready to move in. Staged homes show better and allow buyers to see potential.

Tip #2: Fresh Paint is Essential

If your walls are painted colors that are not neutral or if your walls haven’t been painted in the last 2 to 3 years, you should definitely paint your walls. Paint is very inexpensive and gives you a big bang for your buck. Although a bit labor-intensive, it gives your home a new, fresh, clean look. Don’t offer money to a buyer towards painting. Remember, if you are not willing to do it, your buyer is not likely to either.

The walls in your home should be viewed as a canvas upon which a buyer will put their own personality. If your color choices reflect your own personality, then the buyer will have trouble seeing themselves in your home. However, you don’t want to make your walls boring, so don’t just think everything has to be white or beige.

  • Earth Tones: This includes shades of brown, green, blue, and tans that are reflected in nature. They are warm and inviting, especially for living rooms and dining rooms. These colors work well with wood tones, stone, metal, or glass.
  • Gray: This color helps your home look urban or sophisticated. However, make sure it fits the feel of your home. Gray in a cottage feels dingy and dirty, but in an urban loft, it looks sleek and trendy.
  • Blue: Blue is a great color for a bedroom since it invokes a feeling of quiet and calm. Stick with lighter blues that remind people of the outdoors.
  • Yellow: Yellow is a wonderful color for a kitchen. Stay away from bright yellows, sticking with the creamy, soft yellows that make people feel happy and warm.

Tip #3: Everything Has Its Place

When a buyer comes into your home, you want them to think neat, orderly, and spacious. You want them to feel that all of their things will fit easily into your home. They should be able to see themselves living in your space without any signs that you are currently doing so yourself.

  • Be appropriate: All items should be stored in appropriate places. Litter boxes in the kitchen and trashcans in the pantry are just two examples of inappropriate placement.
  • Do not have any cleaning products visible: You do not want to remind buyers that there will be work to do in this house, so put away laundry baskets and dish drainers as well. You want the buyer to think that the house cleans itself.
  • Get everything off the counters: Doing so will make you kitchen and bathrooms look larger and more spacious. It will also keep the buyer’s eye from stopping on a particular item rather than getting a full view of the room.
  • Get rid of unused items: If your cabinets, pantries, drawers, refrigerator, or shelves look jammed packed, it sends the negative message that there is not enough room in the house. The best way to change this negative first impression is to have as much “empty space” as possible.

Tip #4: Remove Excess Furniture

Too much furniture makes a room feel crowded and doesn’t allow free access throughout the room. Even if you typically use all of the furniture, consider removing some during the selling process.

  • Remove bulky pieces: If the dining room has an oversized china cabinet, consider removing it. If the cabinet has a top and bottom, remove the top. This will open up the space considerably
  • Remove extra chairs from the tables: Unless you have a massive space, you will not need more than 4 chairs around a table.
  • Remove extra leaves from the table: This will make the room feel larger.
  • See what the buyer sees: Look into the room to see what you see first. Whatever you see is the first thing that a buyer will see. Is it pretty? Is it bulky? Does it make the room feel small? Move anything from the doorway that is not inviting.

Tip #5: Don’t Take Away Too Much

Taking away unnecessary items is needed, but adding back is essential, too. Each room should feel inviting.

  • Embellish with accessories: Each room should include such things as artwork, mirrors, accent tables, silk trees and florals, dishes, bedding, and towels so all areas look inviting.
  • Follow the “like-with-like” rule of the thumb: Tall with tall, small with small, wide with wide, and narrow with narrow will guide you throughout the decorating process.
  • Mimic the shape of each space you are decorating: For example, a sofa should be accessorized with horizontal art so you are complementing wide with wide.
  • Select a focal point: Subtly orient other furnishings and some lighting toward a specific area of the room. If there is a fireplace, it will nearly always be the focal point. Other focal points might be bookcases or built-in shelving to house lovely collectibles or a sofa with a striking painting on the wall above it.
  • Add pampering accessories: Things like bath bubbles, fluffy towels, and candles not only add the pampering feeling you are trying to achieve, they offer visual comfort with color and texture as well.
  • Give each room a touch of the unexpected: This can be done with artwork placed in an unusual way, using a piece of furniture in a way that you normally would not use it, or adding a dash of color where the eye least expects to find it. Be creative.
  • Add a pop of color: One of the easiest ways to create color is to add beautiful accent pillows to any room. Introducing a complementary accent color in a room can make a room “pop” and come alive.

Tip #6: Make Your Spare Room a Bonus

A spare room should be viewed as a bonus. It is a “plus” feature of your home, but only if the buyers can view it as such.

  • Office: If your spare room is used mostly as an office, then, during the selling process, you need to make it just an office. Get rid of anything that is not home office material. Keep the essentials of your office such as a desk, filing cabinet, bookshelf, and a nice chair in the corner with a small table and lamp.
  • Guest Room: A guest room needs to be inviting so that they buyer feels they could come in and make themselves at home. Be sure the bed is comfortably made with plenty of pillows. Add accents, such as fresh flowers or plush towels on the dresser to make it feel like a welcomed guest is on their way.
  • Exercise Room: No one wants to exercise in a storage room. Be sure that if your extra room is being used for exercise that only exercise equipment is in the room. This could include machines, free weights, exercise mats, and even a mirror.

Tip #7: Make Your Garage Accessible

Many people use their garage as a storage unit. However, it is really supposed to house your car. During the selling process, make your garage feel as though someone could actually use it for its intended purpose.

Get rid of storage: If buyers see that the seller does not have enough storage and has to use the garage, they will begin to wonder if the same thing will happen if they buy the house. Box things up and move it to a rented storage unit if you have to.

  • Use hooks and shelves: Hooks are a great way to hang large items such as bikes or yard equipment. Shelves also help to give you as much floor space as possible.
  • Clean it up: It doesn’t have to be spotless, but you don’t want your garage full of dust and spiderwebs.
  • Replace light bulbs: The garage should not be dim and dingy. Make sure it is well lit. You may even want to install some lighting if this is an issue.
  • Clean the floor: Remove any oil stains from your car or lawn mower. If cleaning it is not enough, consider repainting and sealing the floor.

Here is a printable checklist how to stage your home. If you only have 1 hour or 10 minutes to a showing, here is a checklist of what to do fast!

Selling your home is like packaging. People look at the outside before deciding to come in. Then, they look at the inside before deciding to buy. Much of that decision is based on looks. Staging your property gives you a more competitive edge in today’s market by transforming it into a marketable product. Do not settle for less at the closing table simply because you did not understand the value of staging or did not want to take the time or spend the money to do it properly.