Do-It-Yourself Home Staging Advice
You want your home to sell quickly, for the right price, but it’s hard to stand out in a buyer’s market. Home staging is an increasingly popular, cost-effective way to give your home the punch it needs to catch a buyer’s eye. One survey by the International Association of Home Staging Professionals even claims an 83 percent reduction in time on market for staged versus non-staged homes.
Even a fraction of that could more than pay for the cost of home staging, but why throw away money if you don’t need to? Here are four tips to follow before you bring in a home stager to make sure your staging experience is as inexpensive and productive as possible.
Before they build up, home stagers need to tear down. To become the roomy, airy canvas a home stager requires, your house needs to be thoroughly cleaned and decluttered. The more of this you do beforehand, the faster and less expensive your staging will be. And if your house is on the market, you really should think abbot packing, anyway. Later, when you do your initial walk-through with the stager, ask which pieces of decor and furniture should stay, and sell or pack as much as you can of the rest.
Avoid “Junk Drawers”
Open houses are invasive, and you can’t expect to hide much from a prospective buyer. Don’t declutter your living areas by cluttering sheds, garages, and closets. If you hide it, someone will find it, and all of your junk won’t leave room for the buyer’s dreams. Look into self-storage units and portable storage nits that can be dropped back at your house after the open house–or delivered directly to your new home.
Hit the Cheap Fixes
Inside or out, paint is the single easiest, cheapest way to freshen up your home. Just exercise some restraint. Stick to neutral colors, classic colors and let your decor do the talking instead. Art, lighting, and furniture are all far less permanent ways to make an impression, and can be changed by a buyer without any hassle.
Another low-cost fix is as simple as opening the curtains. Letting natural light into your home makes it appear larger and more inviting. Tie back drapes, and consider removing heavier, more oppressive window treatments altogether. And don’t forget to trim back trees and bushes that might be obscuring natural light. Your stager may suggest alternate window dressings, as well.
A good home stager will cost you, beginning with the initial consultation. As a result, it’s important to get as many references as possible before beginning. The best place to start is your REALTOR®, who can offer the names of home stagers who have proven useful, personable, and worth the investment. Next, get referrals from the prospective stager. These will be overwhelmingly positive, but you can pick up some interesting tidbits (like the names of other stagers the homeowner considered) along the way. Finally, search locally focused sites like Angie’s List and Yelp for unsolicited reviews.
You should also ask the stager for before and after pictures of a number of rooms and homes, to get a feel for his or her style. You can do this over email to keep down costs and time involved for both parties.