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Staging Your House to Sell

  • July 6, 2021

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It’s a common phrase we hear across the country: real estate his hot right now. Fueled by low interest rates and a low supply of houses for sale, some cities are seeing bidding wars on properties that have only been on the market for several hours. Whether or not you live in one of the hottest housing markets or not, it’s still a great time to consider selling your home. 

If you’re ready to sell, you’ll want to make sure you stage your home in a way that highlights the positives and downplays the negatives. One National Association of Realtors study found that 82% of buyers said properly staged homes make it easier for buyers to see the property as a future home. Here are five tips to stage your home for a quick sale.

Declutter and Open up Spaces

Buyers want to see your home, not your stuff. Decluttering is an inexpensive, simple way to help a buyer envision having a future inside your home. If you’ve lived in one place for an extended period of time and have accumulated a lot over the years, it may be time to have a garage sale or rent a storage unit to store some of your belongings.

Start with the obvious stuff. If you’ve had boxes tucked in corners, you’ll want to get rid of them or find a place to temporarily store them. Then, look at your furniture pieces. Are some bulky and taking up too much space? You may consider renting something smaller to show off your home’s space.

Then, consider your secondary pieces, coffee and end tables, for example. Does that bookshelf have too many books and nick-knacks stacked on it? Is your office crammed with miscellaneous belongings and loose-leaf papers? Clear out space and organize your belongings with storage supplies to decrease clutter throughout your home (more info here). 

Finally, assess pantries and closets. Organize and minimize these spaces so a buyer sees how spacious your home is. The same goes for walk-in closets. You’ll want to reorganize your wardrobe and accessories to appear less messy during your house showings. 

Make Kitchens and Bathrooms Sparkle

People often say kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. These areas are also the most popular for home improvement projects. Regardless of whether you’ve updated your bathroom or kitchen or not, you’ll want to ensure they’re neat and clean before anyone sees them. Caulk and seal up any cracks, replace broken tiles and clean up dirty grout lines.

Once spotless, make sure countertops are clear. In the bathrooms, minimal items like a soap dish, toothbrush holder and a vase on the counter is enough. Place a neatly folded hand towel on the counter or several rolled towels in a basket to create a spa-like atmosphere.

In the kitchen, stow away rarely used appliances. Only leave a few everyday items, like a knife set, toaster and coffeemaker, on the counter. Just like with the pantry, let the buyer see the open space to envision their things there. Set folded napkins and place settings at the dinner table for a lived-in, yet neat, look, and make sure your kitchen island is completely clear.

Neutralize and Depersonalize

Part of the move-in ready feel involves depersonalizing the home. You want to make sure the walls are painted with neutral colors, first. Soft, warm neutrals have been a go-to for many home sellers for a long time, and that’s still the case today. Buyers can see the depth of the space and have an easier time mentally placing their personal belongings there. As you're painting, AZ Flat Fee recommends that you give a fresh coat of paint to the trim along your baseboards because these can get surprisingly dirty over the years.

If you want to incorporate a pop of color to emphasize a nook, powder room or fireplace, do it subtly. You just don’t want accent walls as the primary focus in large, busy areas. They’ll distract guests and take away from the rest of the space.

You’ll also need to remove personal photos and kids’ art project. Showcase art prints or posters throughout your home with custom frames to elevate the atmosphere and brighten the space.

Make Sure It’s Well-Lit

Of course, natural light is always the best for showing off your home. See where natural lighting flows into your home and take advantage of it. Then, look at your artificial light, too. Generally, you’ll want about 100 watts of light for every 50 square feet. It also helps to vary the type of lighting throughout your home. Start with maximizing all your overhead lights. Then see where you can add an extra lamp on a coffee table, mount a wall light or a corner lamp in an unused space. Under-cabinet lighting is also a popular feature in kitchens these days.

Take a Walk to Your Front Door

They call it “curb appeal” for a reason. It’s important to put yourself in the buyer’s shoes when you’re outside your home as well. Start at the front curb of your home or your driveway, where you think a potential buyer may park their car, and walk to your front door. What do you/they see? 

It may be time to trim bushes, rent a pressure washer to remove stains from the sidewalk or house itself. Are those windows clean? Are there barren landscape areas? How is your exterior paint doing? Some exterior colors can boost a home’s selling price. It’s important to be honest with yourself – consider asking a real estate agent to walk through your home with you for an objective opinion on what improvements should be completed before showing. 

Cleaning, maintenance and exit strategies

Finally, it goes without saying that your home needs to be spotless, and all repairs, cracks or holes in drywall should be filled before putting your house on the market. Start by setting a daily schedule for cleaning and tidying up around the house, especially if you have a busy household with little ones. 

It’s also important to communicate with agents about showings. Buyers have limited time and you don’t want your personal schedule to be a barrier for potential viewings. Have a plan in place so you are able to relocate with short notice for an agent to show your home. The easier you make it, the quicker your home will likely sell.