Staging Tips To Sell Your House And The Secret Tips The Pros Don’t Tell You.
I think deep down I really wanted to be a home stager…or a realtor when I grew up.
But I’m neither
However, I’m the weirdo that is always on realtor.com looking at houses for no reason….everyday
And I love open houses. I’ll admit it
If there is an open house anywhere near me, I’m there scoping out the place.
Not in a creepy way though. I like to see how they staged the home and if it gives off that warm and fuzzy feeling.
Not that I have any intentions of moving; I’m just weird like that.
Spring is my favorite. Not because of the warmer weather or flowers. But because that is when houses start popping up on the market
A few years ago we listed our house without a realtor (we’ll talk more about that later) and not one week later our house was in a bidding war.
And years before that we listed our first house (with a realtor) and was in contract 5 days later.
While I’m not a realtor or a stager…. I’m a blogger.
And it’s my job to gather as much info as I can and type it out in this blog post.
Do you need to use a realtor?
This might be the #1 question people will ask.
Like I said, our first house we used a realtor and she was great. I can’t imagine doing it any other way (until a few years ago). I was 9 months pregnant with our first child and there was no way I was selling or buying a house on my own.
If you are also buying a house sometimes realtors will ask for less commission if you use them to both sell and buy your house
Make sure you trust your realtor though
We had one realtor who was giving us a great deal. He was going to only charge us 1% to sell our house if we used him to purchase our new house.
Sounded great until we realized he was trying to low ball the price of our house to unload it quickly so we could purchase our new house.
We caught on real quick. I’m not saying all realtors are like that but just be careful. Do your homework and know your comps
When it came time to sell our last house, we decided if it was meant to be, it was meant to be.
And we wanted to get the most we could out of our house.
We used a real estate broker. We paid her a flat fee and she had our house listed on all of the MLS sites.
Do a google search to see if there are any real estate brokers near you as I am sure there are. I don’t know if everyone will have the great experience we did but I couldn’t recommend going this route enough
Our broker was amazing. She was thorough and answered all of the questions we had….and we had a lot.
When it came time for showings, we would put this door lock on our door and gave the buyers’ realtor the code to get in.
When we started to get offers and my husband and I were beyond confused, our real estate broker helped us with that process as well.
I will have to say that our transaction was pretty easy and straight forward. If I thought there would be any issues with selling our house I would have used a realtor.
And for the record, we sold our house for over $60K more than what the shaddy realtor wanted to list our house at.
This just goes to show you that you should read the rest of this post…ha!
Take professional pictures
If you are using a realtor chances are that they will take good pictures of your home. That seems to be the norm these days.
If you are selling your house on your own, hire a professional photographer….or a really good friend that knows how take great pictures
My friend took pictures of our house for us and I think that is what helped us sell our house so quickly. I highly doubt if our pictures looked dark and dreary that we’d have as much foot traffic as we did.
If you think you can take your own pictures, invest in a good camera. Pictures really are everything
Before you list your house
You’re going to pack your stuff up anyways so get cracking. The more you can pack up and get out of sight, the better. Use your garage to store boxes or use a storage facility. Just start getting rid of the clutter….which leads me to my next point
Remove clutter and simplify
We’ll talk more about this down below but it’s never too late to start removing the clutter you and every other family has in their home.
Potential buyers just don’t want to see it.
Pretty much any surface.
I’m not saying remove everything, just start removing the clutter
Remove some personal items. You don’t have take down every single thing that has your child’s face on it but take as much as you can down.
Clean your house (and I mean CLEAN it)
If you aren’t much of a spring cleaner, it’s time to become one. Or hire someone to come do a deep clean. Remove the cobwebs….it shouldn’t look like a haunted house in your home for a showing.
Clean those windows and make them shine. Show off those windows people…not the fingerprints or dog drool (that is currently on my windows)
Wipe down baseboards. Better yet, give your baseboards a fresh coat of paint.
Dust off your ceiling fans because we all know they can get nasty. Isn’t it the worst when you shut your fans off in the fall when they have been going all summer? You look up and see what looks a giant animal hanging off your fan blades.
Buyers don’t want to see that.
Wipe down your kitchen cabinets, clean out the drawers.
Just clean, clean, clean until your fingers are bleeding.
Make closets look bigger
One of my biggest tips is to clean out your closets, especially if your home is lacking storage. You don’t want buyers opening a closet to be greeted by a mass mudslide of shoes and coats.
You want to make your home look as though there is plenty of storage.
A packed linen closet screams storage issue. Fold those towels and blankets. Make your closets look organized and neat. You know that buyers will be opening up those closet doors to take a peek.
Go all white in the bathrooms and add fresh flowers
Change out your shower curtain if you can to an all white one. Add some white fluffy towels to the counter or a nice neutral hand towel.
Remove any floor coverings in the bathrooms. They can make your bathroom feel cluttered.
Throw some pretty flowers in a vase.
Paint if you can
I’ll be honest with you….in our last house, I DESPISED our paint colors. I would have loved to have painted our whole house again well before we even considered moving but it was way down on the to do list.
But If you can justify the cost of painting your whole house one neutral color…do it! Our current home we are in had the oddest colors on the walls (weirder than what we moved from)
The family room was the darkest brown you’d ever see and the paint had glitter in it. The owner’s realtor sort of apologized for the room color when we went to look at the house.
Even she knew it was bad.
I was able to look past it but not everyone can. I really think the paint choices the current owner picked hurt her when she had her house on the market
If you can’t do a whole house paint job, try to remove all you can from your walls and patch any holes.
Buyers don’t want to have to think about patching holes.
It’s one less thing to worry about.
When it comes time for showings
This is when you want all of your hard work to shine. Most people fall in love with a home based on a feeling.
You want your buyers to walk in and immediately feel like they are “home”
Stage your home
Do you absolutely need to stage your home?
Yep, pretty much.
I’m not a numbers person but I do stalk home trends and this number stood out to me
According to the National Association of Realtors, 83% of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for their clients to visualize the property as their own.
There is a difference between decorating and staging your home.
When you are decorating, you are showing off your decor style and your personality.
When you are staging, you are showing off your home’s personality. You want to show off your home’s assets.
There’s a fine line where the two meet.
Potential buyers want to see the big rooms with the big windows and beautiful floors.
Remove the bulky furniture, heavy drapes or area rugs that aren’t aesthetically pleasing
Go through your home and remove ALL OF THE CLUTTER.
And I mean ALL OF IT
Hide the day to day things you use. Even if you need to hide your kitchen knives under your bed, just do it.
Toothbrushes, q-tips, makeup, towels, small kitchen appliances, shoes, coats…you get it, right?
Clear off as much clutter as you can from your coffee table (too many magazines?), console table (extra keys laying around?), kitchen table (hide the napkins).
For that one hour showing, you need to pretend like no one lives there.
I kept an extra laundry basket for the quick run through right before a showing. I’d just throw whatever clutter I could in the basket and take it with me in my car right before the showing.
Me, three kids, one dog and one overflowing laundry basket would all go to the park.
I know it sounds like a lot of work
And no, I really didn’t hide my kitchen knives under my bed, but I did bring the toaster with me to the park.
Once you remove any signs of life in your home, it’s time to add life back to it.
I know, it sounds backwards.
You need to lightly decorate your space.
Create vignettes around the house.
This is such an easy and affordable way to stage your home. A few pretty vases with fresh flowers, a few neutral pillows on your couch, a cozy corner with a reading light.
You want your home to feel inviting so the buyer can envision themselves in the space
Turn on all lights and open your blinds.
You want your house to look as bright and airy as you possibly can.
Nothing can kill the feeling of home like a dark dreary room.
If you have heavy blinds on your windows, pull them all the way up. Show off your windows and the sunlight pouring in.
Light candles/use room spray
I know you heard this before. Realtors tell you to bake cookies right before a showing. You can and then I’d leave those cookies out for the buyers. Or just light some candles. Spray your rooms with a clean smelling room spray right before.
(And can I also highly recommend making sure all of your toilets are flushed. For real, this can kill a sale like no other. We went to a showing once and there was a toilet full of grossness and I immediately crossed that house off our list. From then on, it was always known as the poop house)
Make your rooms feel bigger
I did a whole post on how to make a small room feel larger. Go check it out and try to use some of those ideas if you can.
Don’t forget about your exterior
First impressions. That’s all I am going to say.
Actually I’ll say more than that. Your front exterior is the first thing your buyers will see. Make the best first impression you can.
Give your front door a quick coat of paint if you can, plant pretty flowers in pots by your front door, plant a few flowers in your flower bed. We were selling our house in October so we were limited to what we were able to do with our landscaping.
Don’t forget about your outdoor living spaces either. Our back screened in porch was definitely a selling point. I gave it a quick clean and simplified that space as well.
What happens if your house is empty?
Do you still stage your home?
But you don’t have to stage your whole house. I would stage the important rooms. Y
According to the National Association of Realtors, 93% of living rooms were staged. After that, the most important rooms to stage, in this order are the kitchen, master bedroom, dining room, bathroom, outdoor/yard space, children’s bedroom and then the guest bedroom.
Even if you can only do a little staging, do what you can. Add some fresh flowers in a pretty vase on your kitchen counters. Same for your bathrooms.
Staging an empty house can sound annoying and costly but it doesn’t have to be. Do a google search and I am sure you will find home stagers in your area. You can also check out the Real Estate Staging Association
After writing this post I feel like I need to go spring clean my house and then try to sell it. Actually, there is an open house up the street that I am going to go snoop on.
Click on any image to shop, these pieces are great for staging your home:
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