Staging – you’re heard the word a thousand times. You hear it on TV and you’ve certainly heard it from your real estate agent if you’ve sold a house in the past ten years. An entire industry has sprouted up around it and there are countless articles with tons of staging tips out there on the internet. There are a million ways to go when it comes to staging, but the basics are always the same – take away the distractions and let the buyers see themselves in your home. You’ve been told to stage your home in order to get it sold and you the basics, like decluttering and removing family photos, but if you’ve done all that and you’re thinking it’s still not enough, maybe it’s time to think outside the box for some new staging tips for getting your home set to sell.
Staging Tips That You Can Use
Remove furniture: Not all of it, but if you have a couch, loveseat, two chairs, and a whole entertainment center wall full of electronics, buyers may focus on all of the “stuff” and won’t feel the size of the room and how it works for them. You don’t want the room to be too empty, but as you start to pull pieces out, you’ll start to notice the space and not the stuff.
Rearrange: Let’s face it living and/or family rooms were designed to entertain, and for a large number of us, that means television. We’ve seen windows, fireplaces, and even kitchen pass-throughs covered up for the sake of arranging a room around the TV. But don’t forget that a buyer may not have your giant entertainment center, or they may actually enjoy sitting in a chair watching a fire in the fireplace. It may be a bit different than what you’re used to, but moving a few pieces around can accentuate your home’s features and could lead to a quicker sale. Just keep telling yourself that it’s only for a short while. Rearranging and removing furniture is probably one of the best staging tips you’ll ever take on – a little work, but it can have a huge impact.
Cover Up: Just can’t bring yourself to organize that stack of paperwork on your kitchen table? Put it in a drawer. Just stained your rug? Put a chair over it. Have a closet overflowing with treasures? Put them in boxes and consider moving those boxes to a shed or the garage. Out of sight is out of mind. And that trick works for buyers too. If they don’t see the mess, they can’t dwell on it.
Label: If you have a room that you use differently than intended – say you have a workout room in one of the bedrooms or you’ve converted a breakfast area to your work command center, label it. Let buyers know that each space has potential to fit their specific needs – they don’t need to be locked into your usage. We once listed a house that had a giant room attached to the master bedroom. It had it’s own private entry, but the only way to get to it from the house was through the master bedroom. This perplexed many buyers, so we made a list of all of the possibilities – nursery, dance studio, workout room, man cave, conference room, his and hers masters, etc. Some of the ideas may have been a little non-traditional, but it started to give buyers ideas and get their imaginations going. Feedback on showings improved dramatically and the home sold quickly thereafter.
Bring Life:We won’t go all Feng-Shui on you here, but it really is remarkable what a few plants can bring to a room. Even if they are fake plants, when they are present, there’s a new energy to the room. People start to notice the natural light from windows. They feel “homier” in the space. Add a bit of nature and you’ll see amazing effects.
Think Neutral: Let’s take a moment first to air our complaints about this one. Beige is boring. You’re an individual and you have great taste. You want to pay tribute to your alma matter in every way. It took nineteen long hours to hang all of that floral wallpaper. We get it. We’re not discrediting any of that. We love that you love who you are and where you came from. But this is not about you. The more you can appeal to a mass audience, the better off you will be when selling your home. It’s a numbers game. The odds of finding someone who is looking for a burnt orange bedroom are much smaller than the odds that you will find someone who either 1) likes beige, 2) is too uninspired to come up with their own ideas, or 3) sees beige as a challenge waiting to be overcome. Think about it.
Give, Don’t Just Take: Decluttering is an amazing thing (that’s why you hear it mentioned so often). But you may end up taking some charm when you take away some things. Maybe building a headboard (plywood plus fabric and batting plus a staplegun equals done) can actually make that never used guest bedroom feel less like a prison cell. Or putting up nice neutral curtains can actually highlight the windows. Less is more, but sometimes a little more is actually more too.
Cheat a Little: Stick cookies in the oven to bake (on low so they don’t burn), light candles, spray air fresheners, etc. Leave snacks or bottles of water for buyers. Or even offer roses or candies on the table alongside your home’s flyer or information sheet. The smells will make the buyer feel at home. And most will appreciate the nice gesture of a practical gift, even if they don’t take it (I mean, who hates having cookies available to them?). Good smells or memories in a home can actually have an impact on the buyer’s frame of mind. Good becomes a word they may start to associate with your house. And that’s the goal we’ve been chasing with all these staging tips, isn’t it?