Home Selling Strategy: DIY Home Staging

Examples of staged homes

Does staging actually work? Absolutely! According to the Accredited Staging Professionals (ASP) at StagedHomes.com, 94 percent of staged homes sell within 29 days of hitting the market compared to non-staged homes sitting on the market for an average of 145 days.

What is Staging?

There are a lot of different aspects involved in staging which we’ll describe below, but the concept of staging simply involves optimizing your home to be sold. This includes decluttering, cleaning and arranging the home’s interior contents to appeal to potential buyers. According to a 2012 survey conducted by the real estate experts at HomeGain.com, staging ranks as the fifth most important do-it-yourself project for home sellers, offering a 196-percent return on investment (ROI). The key is doing it correctly.

Home Staging Tips

1. Clean and Declutter

The number one way to improve the likelihood your house sells quickly is to thoroughly clean and declutter it from the inside and out. This will often consume a weekend or longer of your time, but it’s well worth it. According to StagedHomes.com, cleaning and decluttering the house offers an incredible 872 percent ROI! It doesn’t matter what you do with it, but get rid of as much clutter as possible. Consider a dumpster rental if you have lots of clutter to offload. If you don’t have time to clean out the house yourself, consider hiring a junk removal service to do it for you. Other decluttering ideas include donating, recycling, giving stuff away, having a garage sale or selling online. Your home should look pristine during a showing or open house. Clean not only the common areas, like countertops and sinks, but also the more inconspicuous areas, such as ceilings, lighting fixtures, trim and inside cabinets.

2. Each Room has a Purpose

Remember that each room in your home has a purpose. Although you may use the dining room as a storage area or office, that arrangement may not appeal to potential buyers. So, stage each room according to its intended purpose. A dining room, for example, should contain a kitchen table and chairs, not a desk and computer.

3. Good Lighting Sells

During a showing or open house, always turn on all of the lights in the home and open all curtains or blinds to allow natural light to flow into the home. Replace any broken bulbs or lighting fixtures. According to the aforementioned survey conducted by HomeGain.com, lighting is the second most important home improvement item you can address to add value to the house, offering an ROI of up to 299 percent.

4. Paint

Applying a fresh coat of paint to the interior and exterior (if applicable) of the house is an excellent way to freshen up its appearance. Choose neutral colors that would appeal to the majority of buyers (i.e., beige, greens, tans, and grays). Also, paint the molding and trim in the home to make it look like new again. By painting adjacent rooms the same color, you can give the appearance of a larger space, according to HGTV.com. This would be useful, for instance, if you have a living room next to a den or foyer area. Painting not only gives the home a brand-new appearance, but it also helps to cover up certain odors, such as cigarette smoke and pet odor.

5. Accessorizing

In many ways, accessories can make or break a sale. The home experts at HGTV.com suggest accessorizing in odd numbers, such as one, three, five, etc. (less is better). Instead of littering the walls, tables, and shelves with dozens of items, stick to a few pieces that fit well together. Vary the sizes of each item to make it more visually appealing.

6. Fix Floors

Potential buyers can spot cracks, splits or stains in flooring like an eagle spots its prey. Spending a few dollars to repair flooring is well worth the investment, according to StagedHomes.com, which states repairing damaged floors delivers a 250 percent ROI. Always hire a carpet cleaning company to clean your carpets, or rent a commercial-grade carpet cleaner and do it yourself. Be sure to vacuum the carpets and mop/Swiffer the floors just before an open house or showing.

7. Outside the House

The yard and exterior of the house is obviously the first thing a potential buyer sees when visiting the property, so properly addressing this area is critical. According to HomeGain.com, improving the look of the home's landscaping can bring on a 215 percent return, and painting the exterior of the home offers an additional 55 percent ROI. The key is making the house look as fresh and new as possible.

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