If you are going to sell your home, you already know to keep it clean, fresh-smelling and clutter-free for photos to look their best and for potential buyers to walk-through with pocket books open.
But to get to that point, you might want to do some budget-friendly staging that could bring in a sale faster and possibly even increase the sale value.
Home staging is the act of making your house more appealing to more people by using furniture and décor that defines rooms. It also can entice the imaginations of buyers to see where their stuff could go if they choose to purchase it.
If you aren’t convinced that staging helps, read these statistics:
- In a recent Real Estate Staging Association survey, it stated that professionally staged homes spent 72 percent less time on the market.
- Over 95 percent of buyers look at photos of the home online before they visit or call an agent, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). A staged home makes for better photos.
- 81 percent of buyers said it was easier to visualize the staged property as their next home.
So the first thing to do before any staging is declutter and clean every single room. Rent a dumpster, get a storage unit, donate stuff, or give it away to college students or young people just starting out. They will cherish it.
“If it’s an older home, and it needs painting, that will bring the biggest bang for your buck, and never just paint all the walls white,” says Monique Barnum, owner and decorator at Serenity Designs in Wilmington, Mass. She also is a realtor with Keller Williams Realty.
Barnum rents several garages to store all of the furniture, rugs and décor she uses for her clients. But she adds that using one’s own furniture and accessories can save a homeowner tons of money with staging.
If the house is vacant, then buying inexpensive consignment or thrift store furniture or borrowing some key pieces from friends and family finds works well, too..
Staging is about making a blank canvas come alive with vignettes of chairs, tables, mirrors and area rugs, Barnum says. She downplays the furniture and accessories. They should be attractive, but don’t pick out too many bold colors or large dark objects.
Here are some other budget-friendly ideas for staging your home:
Dining room transformation
A round, glass table top and four chairs are all you need, Barnum says. Round makes your eyes look all around.“I found mine on Craigslist for $100. I highly recommend artwork, too, that’s very generic. I use artwork in dining rooms, entry ways and bedrooms,” she says.
Improve your great room
Barnum doesn’t believe in staging with televisions. You don’t have to be concerned about where the tv will go for buyers.
Instead, use a large console or sofa table with a larger piece of art to allow the buyers to think outside the box. Using a half round console table softens the room.
Round end tables are nice, too, and can go anywhere. If the couch you are using just isn’t cutting it, then purchase a neutral slipcover and some accent pillows.
“I call it fluffing them up with decorative towels, countertop accessories and pretty soaps. A new shower curtain is a must,” Barnum says.
If the home is vacant, then buy an inexpensive queen-sized air mattress. They run about $29, and then add a new comforter or quilt with pillows.
“That’s what I use all the time. I use moving boxes underneath the air mattresses to make it look higher,” she says.
Place a console table, which can double as a desk, next to the bed, and also consider adding a chair.
Lots of lamps, from floor lamps to table lamps, can help with the ambiance during open houses and tours. Thrift stores have many of them for less than $10. A can of spray paint can change the look from drab brass to modern black.
Depending on the house, a few sheers in soft colors draped in bedrooms or dining rooms can add simple lines and a sophistication that isn’t expected. The drapes can be picked up at big box discount stores for very little money.
A few colorful cookbooks on the counter along with a big bowl of bright fruit or a vase of real flowers are all you need. Make sure all the surfaces are clean. Setting the eat-in kitchen table or counter with pretty plates, napkins and glasses can also attract buyers.
Painting your scruffy, tired front door can greet potential buyers with a smile. If you have a landing, porch or steps to the front door, decorate them with pots of colorful flowers or plants during the warmer seasons.
“My philosophy with staging is to look at the house from a photographer’s standpoint. When placing furniture and staging, you want things like the architecture, the windows, doors, vaulted ceiling and fireplace to be the standout in the photo,” she says. “You don’t want the furniture to be the standout. The buyers aren’t buying the furniture.”