Staging Tips for Home Sellers on a Budget

If plans for selling your home are in the near future, you’re going to want to start strategizing the most cost- and time-effective ways to make your home irresistible to potential buyers. One of the most proven ways of giving your home the edge it needs to stand out from the competition is good photography and attractive staging.

In today’s post, I’m going to share my tips on home staging that can be achieved on a budget and in a short period of time. That way you can focus more time on finding a new home and stop worrying about selling your current one.

Tip 1: Start packing

Before you start worrying about arranging furniture, it’s important to make sure you have a clean slate to work with. Start by packing personal effects into boxes and labeling them accordingly.

Staged homes are homes that look appealing to the widest audience as possible. Having personal reminders, like family photos, trophies, etc., makes it harder for viewers to picture themselves living in the home.

Most of us keep our homes arranged in a way that is convenient to our lives. And. let’s face it–life can be messy. But, when it comes to staging, less is usually more.

Not only will this cleaning process help you reduce clutter and make the home look better for staging, but it will also make your moving process easier since many of your boxes will already be organized and sealed.

Tip 2: Color scheming

Expertly staged homes tend to have one thing in common–a cohesive color scheme. Think of choosing your color scheme like creating an artist’s palette. You want a few colors that compliment one another and that will work together to brighten up your home.

If you have any furniture that appears worn, dated, or that clashes with the scheme of the room, it’s a good idea to place them in storage while you prepare for photographs and visitors.

Tip 3: Decorate sparingly

Now that you’ve packed away your family photos, you might be wondering what to put on the walls in their place. The best answer is often nothing. However, that doesn’t mean the walls need to be completely bare.

For smaller rooms, you can make them appear more spacious with the use of hanging mirrors (just make sure you can’t see yourself in any of those mirrors when you take your photos!).

Tip 4: Don’t forget the outside of your home

The value of curb appeal can’t be overemphasized. The exterior of our homes, along with our yard and driveway, are essentially what we show the world about our lives. Since most home buyers want their house to look nice, fit in with the neighborhood, but have its own unique flair all at the same time. They want to know that your house has that potential.

Furthermore, the driveway and yard are two of the first things people see when they visit. You’ll want to take advantage of this moment by making a good impression.

Where to Get Good Home Staging Advice

If you’re considering putting your home on the market, one of your first priorities should be making the property look its absolute best — without spending a pile of money, in the process.

Sometimes a do-it-yourself approach is the most economical way to handle home staging, but getting professional advice can help you stay on track, in terms of both money and time.

There are a lot of talented and knowledgeable home staging consultants out there, but the benefits of hiring them are not always worth the cost.

An advantage of working with a seasoned real estate agent or Realtor is that they have the ability to size up the visual appeal of a home and make recommendations on how to improve it. If they’ve been in the real estate business for a few years, they’ve received buyer feedback from literally hundreds of house hunters. As a result, they’re very familiar with all the pet peeves potential buyers typically have, such as outdated decor, ugly wallpaper, cluttered living spaces, hideous artwork, tacky wallpaper, inadequate lighting, unpleasant odors, overgrown yards, or any aspect of a property that is cracked, peeling, broken, or in disrepair.

Where to Begin With Home Staging

If you’re looking for free home staging ideas, you can always ask your friends and family for suggestions, but they might be hesitant to give you the unvarnished truth. Not only that, but their taste in decorating or landscaping may be less than exemplary! However, if you do know someone who has a knack for decorating, furniture arrangement, and/or landscaping, then they could be a great source of helpful suggestions, ideas, and inspiration.

A good starting point for discovering economical ways to bring out the best in your home is the Internet. You’ll get a wealth of practical ideas by Googling the phrase “increasing your home’s value.” Not only will you learn some useful home staging ideas from reputable websites, but you’ll also notice many recurring themes for improving the look and feel of your property.

Staging your home effectively involves a combination of common sense, knowledge of home buyer psychology, and the ability to objectively evaluate (and improve upon) a property’s marketability.

Cost-Effective Home Staging Advice

A real estate agent or Realtor who has been showing houses for years has gathered an immense amount of informal feedback on what attracts and repels prospective buyers. While it doesn’t take a home staging expert to pick out the obvious issues that need to be addressed, you’d be surprised at what a real estate agent with a trained eye and a few years of experience can notice. Improvements and changes which seem trivial to you may actually have a significant impact on how fast you’re able to sell your home.

In preparing your property for sale, one of the major factors to consider is the age-old concept of “cost versus benefits”. Enhancing the appearance of your home beyond a certain point can produce diminishing returns, so it’s a good idea to get a professional opinion when mapping out a house staging strategy.

If you’re lucky enough not to need any major repairs on your home, then preparing to put your property on the market can be as simple as eliminating clutter, keeping your home impeccably clean, and making sure your lawn is consistently well manicured — which, of course, is easier said than done! A fresh coat of paint, here and there, can also make a world of difference, when it comes to making a positive first impression on potential buyers.

Selling Your Home in a Competitive Market

Creating curb appeal is an essential ingredient to attracting potential buyers to a house for sale. Similar to the concept of “dressing for success,” when you make a strong first impression, your chances for producing positive results are greatly enhanced.

Looking good from the outside is the first step to capturing people’s interest, but that’s only the first of several hurdles that you have to clear. The last thing you want to do as a home seller is disappoint prospective buyers when they start looking around inside. That’s why it’s important to start strong and finish strong! While that may be easier said than done, it’s a principle of success you can’t afford to ignore.

Once you put your house on the market, there are two factors that could potentially work against you: the elements of time and competition.

  • Time is of the essence: Time can either be your friend or your adversary, depending on how long your house has been on the market. When house hunters see the words “just listed,” it creates a feeling of excitement and urgency. For many eager home buyers, those two words mean there’s a fresh opportunity to discover the house of their dreams… or at least a reasonable facsimile! It’s especially enticing to frustrated buyers who have already looked at a lot of homes, without having found the right one yet. When a new house is listed and put on the market, couples will be thinking and saying “Maybe this house will be the one!” Your challenge as a home seller is to do everything possible and cost-effective to live up to their expectations! An important factor to keep in mind is that the longer a house is on the market, the less appealing it generally is to prospective buyers. Once a house has been languishing on the market for more than a couple months or so, it also puts the sellers at a negotiating disadvantage.
  • Competition is a fact of life: Buying a house is weighty decision. No one takes it lightly, and few buyers are going to make an offer on a house if they haven’t looked at several others, too. Well-organized house hunters will have wish lists, “must have” requirements, and detailed notes and recollections about how each house stacks up. So it’s important to work with your real estate agent to present your home in its best possible light. When your home compares favorably to other similar properties on market, your chances of getting it sold within a reasonable period of time are greatly improved.

Maintaining an appealing exterior will help give you an inside track in the competitive real estate market, but making sure your property is in good shape from top to bottom will often be the deciding factor in how soon you get to the finish line!

Pets and Staging Your Home

Staging your home for potential buyers can be quite the hassle. You may start moving your furniture around spontaneously, or become tense when your children or spouse make messes in a room that you just prepped for show. With all of the planning that one can put into making their home shine, one crucial step in home staging is often overlooked: your family pet.

For the sake of simplicity, I will outline a few things that you must keep in mind when cleaning up after your pet in a home for sale.

Pet presence – For obvious reasons, some pets can’t leave the house. Giant enclosures, aquariums, and disabled pets are hard to relocate sometimes, and a lot of people will be understanding of this. But if your dog or cat is healthy, then you’ll want to strongly consider relocating your pets temporarily. Many people aren’t pet owners, and don’t like being around an excitable golden retriever or a yippy chihuahua when they are trying to imagine their family occupying your home. Remember….You are trying to make the potential buyer as relaxed as possible. Ask a friend if they wouldn’t mind looking after your loved one for a bit, and if all else fails, look into a reputable boarding service for your pet.

Fur – Fur can get everywhere. Even in places that you, as a resident of your home, don’t necessarily notice all of the time. Be sure to give your couches, chairs, and love seats proper attention. That means taking the pillows and cushions off, and using a hand vacuum or brush to remove all of the fur you see. After you are sure that they are thoroughly cleaned, use a fabric freshener to finish it off. Try to do this well in advance of the potential buyer, as some people have sensitivities to fabric fresheners.

Litter – No matter what kind of animal you have, odds are you have do deal with some form of waste. It may sound pretty obvious, but make sure your litter beds are clean and well hidden. Even if you own an exotic pet like a reptile of amphibian, this includes you too. Many people don’t like snakes, but they’ll like a messy snake cage even less. Another important thing to remember as an exotic pet owner is this: even though you may not be able to smell anything offensive coming from your reptile’s cage, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an odor. Many people who live with reptiles get used to the subtle odors that emit from the cages, and will tend to spot-clean their animal’s cage without giving it the proper scrub-down that it needs.

Odors – Don’t use air fresheners to mask pet odor. It is meant to freshen the air…Not cover pet odors up. Instead, use powdered cleaners on carpets and rugs that your pets frequent. These can be purchased at your local pet store in the cleaning isle. Odds are, if someone has a severe allergy to animals, then they are going to be at risk of having a reaction. The cleaner the house, the less dander will be in the home.