What is Home Staging Exactly?
For most people, one of the essential first steps in selling their house is the home staging process.
It involves a lot of redecorating, cleaning, rearranging furniture, and other such aesthetical processes that aim to make your home look it's very best. You are essentially prepping your house for the real estate marketplace stage and putting on a show for potential buyers.
It raises your house's appeal to the public and makes it an attractive and enticing product that people would want to purchase for themselves.
As it is, the comparisons to a theatrical production are very apt. Staging is what its name implies: it's a performance where your house is in the spotlight.
Its prospective buyers are the actors who are imagining themselves in the roles that they would be playing if they do purchase your house and move in.
They would be visualizing your property as their own future home.
And you, the homeowner, are the backstage crew. You will be constantly working behind the scenes to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible and that the actors (i.e. potential buyers) can fully immerse themselves in the space.
Why Stage a House for Selling?
It's important to note that not all sellers stage their homes for selling. There is quite a significant amount of time and money needed to be invested when it comes to staging, and this is a perfectly good reason why anyone would be hesitant to go through the process.
But most of the time, the benefits outweigh the costs. As a property seller, you want your property to be sold at the highest possible price it can reach and have it off the market at the soonest possible time.
The more effort you put into staging, the more interest your property can generate, and the higher the price it can command.
It makes it stand out among similar listings in your neighborhood. Havings lots of interested potential buyers also typically means that your house has higher chances of getting purchased quickly.
Is a Home Staging Worth It?
The answer is a surefire yes. It might seem like a lot of work (especially if you're going to do most of the staging tasks yourself), but home staging is probably one of the best investments you can do as someone who intends to sell their house.
A good home staging can lead to around a five to ten percent increase in price and generates more buyer interest for your property.
Options for Staging Your Home to Sell
There are various ways in which a property owner can do staging. They can either bring in a professional staging company or have their real estate agent do the work on their behalf. Alternatively, they can also go the DIY (do-it-yourself) route and do the whole process by themselves.
If you're selling your house with an agent, try to ask them if they provide home staging services. Some might give you recommendations on how you can stage the property yourself or point you to trusted home staging companies.
Others are more hands-on with the project, either opting to do the staging themselves or providing you with help and tips regarding how you can decorate and spruce up your property.
Those with extra cash to spare and/or who want a more hands-off approach to staging can hire full-service house stagers.
These are professionals who will not only determine which of your furniture and belongings need to be moved out of your house before you can stage it, but they'd also point out which redesigning/remodeling projects need to be undertaken (e.g installing new cabinets, repainting the living room, etcetera) so that you can maximize your property's sale price.
Their prices range from a few hundred dollars for a consultation, to a few thousand for a full-service staging. The staging company could also lend you furniture and decor should your house ever need it for the staging.
If you want to save on costs, a partial home staging can also be possible. This is where you do most of the initial prep work yourself (like the cleaning and decluttering), and then bring in the professional home stagers for the finishing touches once you've got the preliminary work done.
You could also hire a home stager for a consultation and then do the actual staging tasks yourself.
Of course, the most cost-effective option here is to do the DIY route. This is highly recommended for people who are confident in their design and remodeling abilities. It might take up a lot of one's time, but this is a great way to save a few thousand bucks versus hiring a professional stager.
For those who are going DIY, here are some home staging tips for making sure that your home is primed and ready to be seen by prospective buyers.
Tips for Staging Your House
1. Deep clean everything
A clean house is proof to buyers that a property is well-taken care of. You might even want to go overboard with the cleaning: clean so that your house looks as if no one is currently living there.
Remove all water marks on the tiles and counters, scrub away smudges and stains, and sweep away dust bunnies as soon as you see them.
Make everything sparkle. Everything should at least look brand new and pristine. Cleaning your house thoroughly also means removing allergens like dust, pollen, and pet hair from your home, since some potential buyers may have sensitive allergies.
2. Declutter and Throw Away Junk
Those knick-knacks and mementos that you keep around the house might have sentimental meaning to you, but they don't mean anything to potential buyers. They're a liability when it comes to selling.
Clutter provides distraction- they keep buyers' attention away from features in your house that you would normally want to highlight. They also make it look as if you have less space.
So throw away all the junk you don't need or keep your stuff stored away where nobody can see them. No clutter means more space and a cleaner-looking house.
3. Remove Personal Items
The whole point of staging is to allow other people to visualize themselves living on your property. And it's hard to do this if they see signs that there are people already living in it. Family photos, refrigerator art, keepsakes, and other personal items should be kept out of sight.
Some buyers would also have a hard time removing their own biases when touring a property, so some agents would often suggest keeping private all hints of the owner's race, nationality, and religion from the house.
4. Be neutral
This is related to the whole idea of depersonalization for house staging. Your eclectic taste in decor might not be someone else's cup of tea.
That cute and bright accent wall that you're proud of and which you think showcases your personality a lot might look unsightly to another person.
Remember, that people won't be using and viewing the rooms the same way you do. Staging experts recommend going for neutral colors to appeal to as a large number of potential buyers as possible. When it comes to furniture, simple and classic themes go a long way.
Modern furniture is also highly recommended. Instead of avant-garde seats and antique chaise lounges, go for traditional chairs and couches. The more basic everything is, the better.
5. Keep everything lighted
The amount of lighting in a house is probably one of the first things that buyers will notice about a property. They would usually notice and see immediately if a room is too dark or receives no sun at all.
For showings, turn on all the lights in your house and open all curtains and blinds if possible. A brighter house looks more inviting than one that is dimly lit. If there are any burned-out lightbulbs in your house, replace them with higher wattage ones.
6. Free pathways of obstructions
When you're staging a house for sale, potential buyers should be able to move from room to roam freely. They should be able to comfortably explore the spaces as they see fit, and not run into a weirdly placed piece of furniture while they're at it.
This is the reason why pathways should always be free of obstructions. Real estate professionals recommended at least a 36-inch pathway in between or around furniture.
Having clear pathways also tends to make spaces look larger than they are. If you have to rearrange or remove furniture to have more space, then it's best to do so.
7. Don't forget the exterior
As the old saying goes- first impressions last. Your house's exteriors are what people would first see upon setting foot on your property. Overgrown plants, messy shrubs, and other unkempt greenery can turn off visitors.
So before a showing, make sure that your lawn is trimmed and your plants are neatly pruned. Power wash your patio and walls if you deem it necessary. Clear the sidewalk leading up to your house, and remove grime from your house's windows.
Keep reading our full process on How To Sell Your Home