If you’re selling your home, you’ve probably had someone say you need to stage it. Depending on who you ask, proper home staging will make or break your sale. So, does it actually matter?
Yes, it does. However, you don’t always need to break the bank hiring professionals or remove all of your personal touches. Even a few quick fixes can make a home look properly staged and ready to fetch the highest bid.
What is Home Staging?
Home staging is the act of taking your lived in, homey home and making it look like a carefully designed—or staged—room like you’d see on a movie set or home decorating show. Staging typically means cleaning and rearranging, but occasionally can involve remodeling, fresh coats of paint, and new or rented furniture.
The goal of staging is to show a home’s full potential: to use color, design elements, and furniture to create that magazine spread-ready look that will have a buyer’s mind running wild. Proper staging can make a home more inviting and open, getting rid of a lot of the lived-in clutter that makes a home feel like your space and not the buyer’s. With a more neutral layout, the buyer is able to move beyond what you’ve done with a space and start thinking about what they would do with it.
Of course, the extent of staging you’ll be able to do depends on if you are still living in a home. It can be more than a little painful to take down all of your family photos and sit around on rented furniture for three to six months while you close the deal. Determining how your home will be used while it’s listed will help you determine the extent to which you should stage a home.
Should You Stage Your Home?
Professional staging is a common practice for new builds. The model home in every new subdivision has been meticulously staged by professional interior designers to convey the lifestyle the builder has in mind for future residents.
If you’re here, you most likely aren’t staging a model home, though. You’re probably selling a home you’ve lived in for at least a couple of years. In a perfect world, you’ll be able to move out of your house entirely before it has been listed. If that’s the case, you and your belongings will already be comfortably settled in somewhere else, and staging experts can go to town.
For empty homes, many experts consider staging essential. While showing off a “blank canvas” seems like a good idea, wandering an empty home can actually be off-putting for buyers. While some people can visualize how they’ll use an empty space, others just see the barren walls and echoing foyer.
How Do You Stage a Home You’re Living In?
Of course, it’s likely you’re still living in your home while it’s on the market. That’s okay too! Your budget might be tight, especially if you’re buying a new home while trying to sell your current one. Fortunately, you don’t need professional stagers, so long as you’re committed to doing a little work.
For one, you need to get rid of any clutter. A junk drawer won’t be so bad to clean out, but a junk closet, room, or basement might take a weekend or two to clear out. Think of it this way: you need to do that stuff anyways when you move, might as well get it over with now.
Clutter extends to odds and ends left out on the table. Too many kitchen gadgets on your counter will make the kitchen seem smaller than it is. Phone chargers and laptop cables running over every surface are utilitarian while you’re living there, but they also look messy. If you’re the type to stack books on the floor or pile shoes by the front door, those habits need to change too—at least until you hand those keys over.
Next, you’ll want to rearrange the furniture to make the floorplan feel as open as possible. Some of us are instinctive feng shui experts, but that’s certainly not a universal trait. The thing to look out for is an easy flow between places. You might like having your sectional divide a room in half, but it might be better served up against the walls where the entire floor is wide open. If this is beyond your skillset, ask your realtor. They’ve seen hundreds of homes and probably moved a couch or two in their time!
Lastly, set up each room like it is ready to be used. The kitchen is a great example. Put four placesettings out at the table. This helps buyers imagine having breakfast there on a Saturday morning—they’ll practically be able to smell the bacon. (Note: probably don’t cook bacon though, that tends to be a very messy process, and the actual smell can be unappealing for vegans!)
Get the Most Out of Your Showings
A properly staged home will make a huge impact on your selling experience. A layout that is inviting, warm, and inspires buyers to picture their life in your home will motivate them to make better offers sooner. While a full staging by professionals is certainly the ideal situation, you can make your listing more appealing with just a few simple moves. Declutter, rearrange, and maybe repaint, and you’ll be on your way to a successful sale. As always, your Keller Williams Asheville agent is here to help with whatever it takes to get your home ready for a showing.
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