Note: This post was originally published on July 1, 2019 in RIS Housecall column.
Selling can be overwhelming. You’re packing everything up, trying to make the house look pristine when all around you is what feels like chaos. Since buyers want that great first impression, you know it’s important to declutter—often that means cleaning until your home looks like it’s never been lived in. And while you’re rushing around, trying to find a new place for your items, it may seem like an impossible task.
Take a breather—it’s actually easier than you think. Here are four staging tips that are so easy they may not have even crossed your mind:
Decorate for the potential buyer. You know who this is because you were once this person! If you’re in a starter home neighborhood, the buyer will likely be a younger individual or couple who is looking for more space after cramped apartment living. Pick some trendy paint colors like lilac gray or muted pastels and keep the decor minimalistic and modern. Forget decorating a kid’s bedroom and opt for an office layout in the second bedroom instead.
If you’re looking to downsize from a, say, four-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac, you’re probably going to attract the family crowd. Emphasize your space by decorating according to their needs. Have a finished basement? Amp up the recreational feel with some movie theater loungers or make it a game room!
Think about your neighborhood as well. If you’re in walking distance to a dog park, you may find that your buyer has a furry roommate. If your home is near a highly-rated school, that’s also an indicator that kids may come with the package for whoever owns your home next.
Use resources. You don’t have to take on this process all by yourself. Rent a storage unit so you don’t have to worry about hiding away your must-keeps. This way, these items are already neatly packed away and ready for your new home, and they won’t get in the way of a buyer who isn’t looking to see how bad your shopping addiction is.
Additionally, hire a cleaning company. You can find some relatively affordable options, and this will help you stay stress-free throughout the process. Once it’s clean, all you have to worry about is keeping it that way!
Focus on the small accessories. Take a tour of your own home, but with fresh eyes. What do you see that stands out as grungy, old and just a complete turn-off? This can be anything from a sticky, splattered garbage bin that needs a good cleaning to your shower curtain which has a dense layer of soap scum that’s going to scare even the bravest buyers away. Replace any small accessories that won’t cost you a fortune, and clean anything that can look like new with some TLC.
Use your nose. Again, take a tour of your home, but this time focus on what you’re smelling. A better option might be to find a friend or family member who can volunteer to do this for you—someone who doesn’t live with you or isn’t over all the time. Identify the sources of odor in your home and figure out a solution. The last thing you want is for a buyer to come in and quickly be hit by an unpleasant smell.
The cleaning and decluttering should help with this, but there are other things you can do to ensure your home is a breath of fresh air:
- Open up the windows! Let your home air out for an hour or two.
- Light some candles to freshen up the rooms.
- Bake a cake or some cookies right before a potential buyer comes over.
Staging can be easy if you just put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. It is, however, more than just moving around furniture and putting away the excess items. Think back to the tour you took yourself before buying this home. What stood out to you—both good and bad? Think about how it all impacts the senses. Of course, trends change, but the overall feeling of clean and tidy is always the first thing people notice. And customizing your home with some easy staging tricks can make a big difference!