As you prepare to list your home for sale, you’ll have to determine whether or not you want to stage your home. The decision to stage your home or not comes down to whether the benefits outweigh the costs. According to Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corp, staged homes spend half the time on the market than non-staged homes. Plus, potential home buyers are willing to offer around 6% more money for a staged home over one that is not staged. Despite these statistics, it can still be hard to justify spending money on a professional home staging company. It’s hard to find options for affordable home staging. Luckily, there are plenty of inexpensive ways you can stage your home to still get the benefits without breaking the bank. Below are 11 of the best tips to stage your home on a budget.
Declutter Your Home
The very first step to staging your home is getting rid of clutter. Think of how much more spacious your rooms feel after you spend a day cleaning and putting everything away. That’s exactly why decluttering is so important for showing your home. Clutter in your home makes the rooms feel smaller and distract potential home buyers. They’ll spend more time looking at your stuff and less time looking at your home. Start by packing up anything that makes it feel like “your” home, as you want your potential homebuyers to be able to visualize themselves living there. Then, pack up anything that you won’t need leading up to the move. Potential buyers will open cabinets and closets to get an idea of storage space. A half-full closet will seem much more spacious than one filled with all of your things. You’ll want to leave about 30% of your space empty so the potential homebuyers can visualize what the space will look like without your belongings in it. To help store your items while making your home appear clutter-free, consider renting a short-term storage unit for everything you need to get out of your house during walkthroughs.
Spruce Up the Exterior
The exterior of our home is the first impression most potential homebuyers will get of your place. In fact, if the exterior of your home does not look appealing, many homebuyers may not even opt to look inside. Improve your curb appeal by making sure your landscaping is well-maintained. Trim bushes and trees, pull any weeds, mow your lawn, and do all the edging. To make the colors on the outside of your home pop, powerwash the siding to get rid of all dirt and grime. Purchase a new doormat, and potentially, look into repainting your front door. If your house has a pool, make sure it is cleaned and free of leaves or bugs. Right before homebuyers are scheduled to come, sweep the sidewalk and walkway to make sure they get a good first impression.
Reset Walls to Neutral
Walls that are brightly colored or covered in wallpaper may be your cup of tea, but you want to appeal to the largest pool of people. Wallpaper should be removed where applicable and other brightly colored walls should all be repainted. Stick with light, neutral shades to make rooms feel bigger and brighter. Opting for a neutral palette throughout your home goes a long way toward impressing buyers, and allows for more options when choosing décor for each room. Take this opportunity to touch up paint for your baseboards, stairwells, and crown molding as well.
Give Rooms a Purpose
When staging your home, you want to help your potential homebuyers see how to maximize every inch of your home’s space. To do this, make sure every room, window seat, and alcove has a specific purpose. Even if that purpose differs from what the homebuyer would use it for, it’s important that they view it as usable space. You’ll also want to stage rooms that are underused to make them feel more marketable. For example, if you are staging your home on a budget, you may choose to create a staged nursery from a crib and other items you have in storage. Now, instead of a storage room, your buyer will see the potential for a child’s room, making them more excited to buy your home. When doing your own affordable home staging, it’s all about repurposing what you have to tell a story to your buyers.
Make Rooms Feel Larger
Homebuyers are always looking for rooms that look and feel large, especially when it comes to bedrooms and bathrooms. Even if the rooms in your home are not particularly big, you can make the feel larger with a few tricks. First and foremost, get rid of all clutter in the room, as it will automatically make it feel smaller. Next, remove any bulky furniture that does not serve a purpose in the room. If the room is not already painted in a light, neutral color, doing so will add more like to the room, making it appear larger. Mirrors are another great way to make a small room feel bigger. Strategically place mirrors to reflect light around the room and give the illusion of a larger space. Make sure any windows in the room are uncovered to let as much light in as possible.
You shouldn’t have to go out and purchase any new furniture when staging your home. Rearrange the furniture you have to create an open traffic flow in the room. By creating a layout where you can move freely around the room, you make it feel less closed off, giving the room the appearance of being larger. If you find that you cannot move around the room freely, remove any furniture pieces that are prohibiting you from doing so. For any furniture that feels too dated or beat up, ask friends and family if they have something similar they would be willing to let you borrow for a week or two. If that doesn’t work, you can get cheap furniture for staging your home at local thrift stores or yard sales.
Assess Your Lighting
Assess the lighting in your home to make sure all rooms feel well-lit. Open up all blinds and curtains and take full advantage of any natural light in your home. Make sure all windows are wiped down and clean, as dirty windows can let in spotty light and be a huge turn-off to buyers. Add any supplemental lighting where necessary. Replace or spray paint dated light fixtures to give them a fresh new look. Consider swapping out lightbulbs with daylight versions, as they make the space feel brighter and less yellow than standard bulbs. For particularly dark rooms in your home, check out our blog on how to add light to a dark space for more tips.
Use What You Have
Look through the items you already have for things that look modern and would have mass appeal. Simple things like a vase filled with flowers, a bowl of lemons on the kitchen table, or a neat stack of books on a bookshelf make a home feel lived in, but not overdone. You shouldn’t have to go out and buy new items to stage your home, especially when you are trying to stage your home on a budget. Be purposeful with the things you already have. Over-staging a home can make it look inauthentic, so stick with what feels right to you.
Deep Clean Your Home
Aside from decluttering, the single most important thing to do before showing your home is getting it cleaned. You can choose to do this yourself, or you can hire a professional cleaning service. It’s very hard for anyone to visualize themselves living in a home when it’s unclean; cleaning is the easiest way to stage your home on a budget. Things like unmade beds or stains on the carpet can be simple fixes that make or break whether or not you receive an offer. Before you have a single potential homebuyer step foot into your house, you must make sure it is 100% clean.
Organize Your Closets
Closet space is one of the most important things buyers look for during a tour. The best way to stage your house for sale is to organize all of the closets. An organized closet can give your buyers a better idea of how large the space is, and makes your home more sellable. If you don’t have time to organize all of your closets, simply remove anything that is causing it to become over-stuffed and put the excess in storage for the time being. Make sure all of the remaining coats and clothes are hung correctly with the hangers facing the same direction. Check that the floors of the closet are clean and that there is no musty smell. For more information on this, we have an entire blog about how to make your closet appear larger when home staging on a budget.
Clear Off All Surfaces
Before showing your home, make sure all countertops, tables (including side tables), dressers, desks, and shelves are free of clutter. Clutter on surfaces can make an entire room seem messy and may detract your sellers from the potential of the space. Knick knacks and clutter will draw the eye, whereas the buyers should be focused on the benefits of the home. Instead, aim to only have a few items, like flowers or a lamp on surfaces to keep the room clear.
Buy New Towels
One of the only new items we recommend buying for staging your home is new, white fluffy towels. It may seem simple, but it makes a huge difference in how potential homebuyers view your bathroom. Old, dingy towels make the space feel worn and used. Brand new, spa-like towels make the bathroom feel more luxurious and allow homebuyers to see themselves in the space. Plus, now you have fresh new towels to enjoy in your new home.
Eliminate Bad Odors
Nobody wants to buy a home that doesn’t smell good. Make sure every room in your home smells clean. At least ten minutes before showing your home, open up windows to allow fresh air in to make your home feel less stuffy. Take out any trash well ahead of time. If you have pets, make sure their beds are washed, they are not in the home (if possible), and their litter boxes are refreshed or elsewhere. If you typically smoke in your house, try to only smoke outside in the week leading up to showing your home. To reduce odors from your sink, grind half a lemon in the garbage disposal 30 minutes before potential homebuyers arrive. For a clean scent in each room, you can light neutralizing candles, spray non-invasive smelling air fresheners, or use plug-in diffusers. Some sellers may also choose to make their home smell good by sticking some slice-and-bake cookies in the oven a few minutes ahead of time.
To Stage Your Home on a Budget, Keep it Simple!
Overall, don’t go overboard and spend too much money on staging your home. It’s possible to do affordable home staging that still looks professional! Keep it simple and remember that less is more when it comes to staging your home on a budget. Make sure to stage your house to appeal to the widest range of people. This way, you increase the likelihood of buyers making offers, which increases the selling price of your home. Whatever you choose to do, stay true to yourself, and remember what you would look for if you were a buyer walking through your home. For more tips on moving, sign up for our once-monthly blog newsletter.