THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED ON HOUSE LOGIC.
Their agent won’t have to say, “Picture this.” Buyers will see your home at its best.
Staging your house can make you money. Seventy-one percent of sellers’ agents believe a well-staged environment increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer, according to the National Association of REALTORS® “2015 Profile of Home Staging.”
Just take this real world tale of two condo listings from Terrylynn Fisher, a REALTOR® with Dudum Real Estate Group in Walnut Creek, Calif., who also stages:
Both units were in the same complex. One hadn’t been staged or updated since it was built; the other was staged and had been slightly refreshed (a little paint here and there and one redone bath). Otherwise, both units were the same size and layout. The staged condo sold for about $30,000 more than the unstaged unit, she says. “People couldn’t believe it was the same model.”
Before your eyes turn into dollar signs, keep in mind staging isn’t guaranteed to get you more money. But it’s an important marketing tool to help you compete at the right price, which means you can sell faster. (A study from the Real Estate Staging Association bears this out.)
Helping buyers fall in love with your property takes more than running the vacuum and fluffing the pillows: It’s all about decluttering, repairing, updating, and depersonalizing, say real estate agents and stagers.
With help from Fisher and other sources, we’ve compiled the ultimate home staging checklist.
Jump to a specific room or area of the house:
- When placing anything from accent pillows and table lamps, go for symmetry, which is pleasing to the eye.
- Light it up with lamps. Chic lamps provide both added lighting and appealing decor.
- Make that fireplace glow. Scrub away soot stains and replace the old screen.
- If you’re using staging furniture or buying slip covers, choose light colors for an airy, inviting feel.
- Whatever amount of furniture you have in your living room, remove a few pieces to make the room feel spacious.
- Use bright, coordinated accessories like accent pillows and throw blankets for a chic splash of color.
- Help buyers imagine their life in your home. Set the scene by displaying a board game or tea service on the coffee table, and arrange furniture in conversational groups.
- Let a slideshow of beautiful images play on your television like a screensaver.
- Clear everything from countertops except one or two decorative items, like a vase of flowers or bowl of fresh fruit.
- Pack up all the dishes except one attractive, matching set. Do the same with glassware, flatware, and cookware, and pare down all other cupboard and drawer items down to the minimum.
- Freshen up and modernize those cabinets with a fresh coat of paint or stain and new hardware.
- Seriously evaluate your appliances. Can they look new again with a good scrubbing? Give it the old college try or consider replacing with new models. The Real Estate Staging Association strongly recommends stainless steel. Tip: You can get the look of stainless for the cost of a cheap dinner with stainless films.
- Remove those fridge magnets and give the door and handles a good cleaning.
- Scrub dirt, grime, and stains from walls, cabinets, and backsplashes.
- Clean cabinet interiors, especially under the sink.
- Clean and organize the pantry, leaving some empty space to make it look bigger. Store items in decorative baskets and display a few jars of fancy jam and other upscale condiments.
- Empty all trash cans and move them out of sight
- Go gender neutral in the master bedroom. Ditch those dainty, floral pillow shams or NASCAR posters.
- Pack up all but the clothes you’re wearing this season to make you closets look larger.
- Swap out the motley crew of mismatched hangers in your closet for a set of wooden ones to create a classy, boutique look.
- Put jewelry and other valuables in a safe spot.
- Consider giving extra bedrooms a new identity as a home office, sewing room, or another interesting function.
- Remove televisions or video game consoles from bedrooms to depersonalize and create a serene setting.
- Let buyers entertain the idea of entertaining. Set out some chic place settings around the table, or a few wine glasses and a decanter on the buffet.
- Strike a balance between overly formal and too casual with an attractive runner and a few fun, decorative elements — think small floral vases or short candle holders.