So you've painted, repaired, cleaned and gardened to within an inch of your life – yet buyers are still underwhelmed with your castle. What do you have to do to get your home a little love? You might want to try staging your home. A study by Coldwell Banker Realty
found that homes that had been staged sold in just under half the time, and for over 5% more than homes that hadn't been.
Home staging can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You can pay a professional, or you can follow this guide we've put together by consulting with professional home stagers. Start by assuming your house is cleaner than it’s ever been, and there are no minor repairs that need to be done.
What you’ll need:
- A critical friend who hates clutter
- Containers and boxes for storing extra possessions in
- A strong will
- Lots of Patience
- People to help you move furniture
Step 1: Review
Invite your critical friend over and tell them they don’t get a snack until you walk them though the house. Ask them to point out everything that they think is cluttering up your rooms and take notes. Observe where their eyes are drawn when they enter a room, what features they like best, and what puts them off. If they notice dirt, grime or little things that need to be fixed, make note to go back and take care of those spots.
Step 2: Purge and Pack
Now that you know that your bookcases look overstuffed and your personal collection of vintage staplers is weird, you can start taking things out of your space. Don’t think of it as a chore either – think of it as pre-packing for your big move. Ditch family photos and personal brick-a-brack. Take your groaning stack of old magazines to be recycled and pack away all those extra shampoo bottles lining your bathtub. Consider donating extra stuff you know you don’t really need (books you’ll never read again, unwanted Christmas gifts) and renting a storage locker for the things you do (out of season clothes, extra bedding, personal pictures, family heirlooms etc). Getting rid of little things like fridge magnets, countertop appliances, figurines, and floor mats can make a room look much bigger and making your home impersonal works wonders because it helps buyers imagine they could live there.
Step 3: Clean Out Your Closets
Buyers are just like you. They have a mountain of stuff they’ll need to stash away once they’re in their new home. Take half the things out of your closets and neatly sort the rest. Invest in some storage boxes to hold little things and colour coordinate the rest. This way when buyers look in your linen closet (and you know they will), they’ll see a neat pile of linens, and not a mess of multicoloured beach towels jammed into every available inch of space.
Step 4: Clear the Way
Consider getting rid of some furniture. Yes, having an extra couch is great because of the kids and the dogs, but if getting rid of it makes the living room look much more airy and open – not to mention easier to get around, it should be a no brainer! If your basement is filled with shabby old furniture, it might make the whole room look shabby, even if it’s in good repair. Ditch the old stuff and put in more contemporary furniture. You can rent furniture, borrow from friends and family, or even move your furniture around within the house. Don’t forget pictures and artwork for the walls either – the house should look like someone lives there, but they don’t have a lot of stuff.
Step 5: Maximize and Minimize
Rearrange your rooms to take advantage of your home’s best features. Move the sofa away from the bay window to let it give more impact – conversely move a bookcase in front of faded wallpaper. While these layouts might not be how you’re used to having your furniture, they’ll be the best for showing off your home’s assets and minimizing flaws.
Step 6: Freshen Up
Now that your house is de-personalized, de-cluttered and sparkling clean bring in some life. Fresh flowers can bring a big impact to a room and make it smell great. Open all the windows for at least 10 minutes the day of your open house to clear out the air. If your house still has some lingering personal odours, try baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies right before the showing! Buyers will smell the cookies and not your dog.
Step 7: Set the mood
Turn on all the lights, open all the blinds and clean any last minute messes up. Voila – your home is ready to knock people’s socks off.