Appearance is everything when highlighting a home’s strengths. Set your clients up for success by sharing these no-cost staging ideas from Amanda Nagle, realtor with Century 21 Signature Real Estate.
Scrub and deodorize: One of the most important things a client can do is clean. Dust the shelves, the speakers, the ceiling fans and blinds. Wipe down walls and trim. Scrub the grout between tiles. While time consuming, this is one of the easiest ways to help a home put its best foot forward. Smell can be a deal breaker, so make sure the house has been deodorized and has a fresh, clean scent.
Clear the clutter: Clearing the clutter will help people look at the house instead of the stuff that has collected over the years. Make sure the shelves aren’t full, the countertops are bare, the garage is organized and the bedrooms are free of laundry. Pack up extra decorations in boxes and ask a friend to store them until the house is sold. Ridding the house of everything that isn’t necessary will make it appear more spacious.
Depersonalize: Pack away personal items that can be distracting to potential buyers. People want to envision themselves living in the house instead of looking at photos of weddings and artwork made by your client’s kids.
Give each room a purpose: Each room should have a defined purpose — a bedroom, an office, a living room, a dining room, etc. You want to show potential buyers what the house has to offer and not how it is currently lived in. Pull furniture away from the walls and create symmetrical seating areas.
Give the house a unified theme: Avoid decorating the living room with mid-century modern furniture, the dining room with country accents and the kitchen with antiques. The themes will be confusing, which can deter buyers. You want rooms that transition seamlessly into each other.
Clean out and organize closets: Donate old clothes and shoes and hang only clothes that are seasonably appropriate. Storage is something that every buyer is looking for, so if the closets are only half full, it will give the impression there is more room to fill up. Before a showing, make sure everything is tidy and leave closet doors open to showcase spaciousness.
Let light in: Buyers want to look at houses that are bright and cheery. Dark, heavy drapes will dim a house. Before a showing, open the curtains and turn on the lights to create a merry, inviting space. When light bulbs need to be replaced, opt for bulbs with a higher wattage.
Don’t forget about the exterior: Sellers can be so consumed with staging the inside that the exterior gets neglected. Washing windows, trimming bushes, cutting the grass and pulling weeds will give the yard a polished look. If your clients have children, they should collect and organize toys, and if they have dogs, they should do a fresh sweep of the yard right before a showing.
Always be ready for a showing: You never know when a potential buyer will want to schedule a viewing. Clients should always be prepared. Wash, dry and put away dishes; put dirty clothes in the laundry room (or have your clients take them in their vehicles); clean the bathroom mirror; and make sure the floor is clean. This step is inconvenient but will get the house sold.