Selling Your House: Home Staging

One way to ensure that you get top dollar when selling your house is by home staging.  Before we get ready to build our new house we have to get our current home ready for sale.  Selling your house in an uncertain real estate market can be nerve racking, especially when our new house build depends on us getting our current home sold in a timely manner and at a reasonable price.

Home staging is all about making your house look bigger, brighter, and more inviting so that it will stand out to potential home buyers.  When I worked in the hotel industry we did this all the time when we toured the hotel with prospective clients.

Related: 4 Hidden Costs When Buying And Selling Your House

By selecting a few key rooms in the hotel and ensuring that the cleanliness, lighting, decor, and other details in the rooms were perfect, we were able to highlight the most positive aspects of the hotel while hiding any potential negative features to the clients.

Preparing Your House For Sale

Home staging is about more than just preparing your house for sale.  Before you even think about home staging you need to clean, declutter, paint, and make any necessary minor repairs to your home.

Walk through your house like a prospective buyer would, and have a really good look around for anything that stands out.  Better yet, get a friend or relative to do this since they won’t be as likely to overlook unusual things in your house that you may have become too familiar with.

Buyers want to know that your house has been taken care of before they make an offer.

According to Barb Schwarz, founder of home staging, there are a few tips to tackle each room in the house:

  • Living areas should be spacious and light.
  • Kitchens should be light and bright with all counters bare.
  • Pantries should contain a minimum amount of neatly arranged canned goods and bottled water.  No bags of pet food.
  • Create an open, airy and romantic master bedroom.
  • Clean and polish foyer floors.
  • Remove stacks of mail & overstuffed coat trees.
  • De-clutter family room or den.
  • Set the dining room table with chargers, china and centerpiece. No flatware because people steal it.
  • Involve children.  Make their closets roomy and unclutter shelves.
  • Buy pretty hangers for your closets and show lots of space.

Hiring a Professional For Home Staging

These days many real estate agents recommend home staging when selling your house.  Once you’ve prepared your house for sale you may want to check out a professional home stager.

Related: Saving Real Estate Fees: Is It Worth It?

A home stager will bring in a variety of items to spruce up your house and help define your space to potential buyers.  They should stage the house to play up the features that make it unique.  Professional stagers have skills of a top-level designer and they can create scenery that appeals to all five senses.

Here are some of their secrets:

  • Arrange sparse pieces of furniture in an appealing grouping known as a vignette
  • Showcase a generous usage of soft fabrics such as silk, lambswool, satin
  • Display unusual knickknacks in units of 1, 3 or 5
  • Drape window coverings with simple lines
  • Add unique elements to shelving, bookcases and fireplace mantels, which draw attention to predetermined areas

Whether you use a professional for home staging or you want to do it yourself, be prepared to spend between $500 – $5,000 depending on your square footage and number of rooms being staged.

When it comes to selling your house, appearances matter and home staging can make all the difference between getting a full priced offer on your house or settling for an offer below market value.

Have you ever used home staging techniques to sell your house?  What are your best house selling tips?

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  1. Sustainable PF on January 31, 2011 at 7:18 am

    We staged our home last June (after doing 3.5 months of modernizing upgrades and cleaning) and our house sold in 28 days. While the staging was important, the upgrading was even more important as our house was very “80s”.
    Some other staging tricks we employed include:
    – removal of window coverings. Our living room was kind of dark so removing the curtains really brightened it up
    – careful “hiding” of cat litter box. We got it out of the way
    – it may seem obvious, but no dirty dishes on counters or in sink or even clean ones in dish rack! (believe it or not a house we viewed, twice, for sale by a REA had dirty dishes in the sink both times!)
    – fix all those minor things you always meant to fix. Buyers are spoiled by the home TV shows and expect everything to be “right”. If you think it should have been fixed, fix it
    – crate your dog. We hated doing it, but with a 105 lb dog who is overly friendly, she had to be crated. Some people don’t want to deal with dogs. Heck, i’ve even read you should kennel your dog/cats/pets to get the animal smell out of the house. We didn’t go that far.
    – clean your windows. dirty windows are noticed a mile away and block light from entering a room
    – organized closets. people WILL look in them, so organize and declutter them!
    – you mentioned declutter family room or den – you should declutter the entire house and garage / shed. rent a storage unit if you need to.
    – plant flowers on the property. people like colour and flowers. yellow is most popular.
    – make sure your lawn is well kept and has been re-seeded if required. Sweep your sidewalks and driveawy.
    – bake cookies prior to a showing. Get some nice smells happening in your house.

    I’m sure there are more that I forgot about!

    • Echo on January 31, 2011 at 7:56 am

      Wow, great tips SPF! We’ll need to make sure we do all of these things before we sell. I’ve heard that opening a bottle of vanilla and leaving it in the kitchen can create that nice smell without having to go to the trouble of baking every time you show your house.

      Also, we have a toddler running around who can be pretty messy with all of her toys, etc. We’ll need to make sure that we do a thorough job tidying up after her.

  2. Yes I Am Cheap on January 31, 2011 at 10:51 am

    The baking cookies one gets them every time. 🙂 Nothing better than something smelling enticing to make someone want to stay. That’s why it works for Santa.

    • Echo on January 31, 2011 at 10:56 am

      On that note I should be careful with what we cook for dinner before showing the house. You never know what kind of odors are lingering in the house after cooking up a storm.

  3. Taylor on January 31, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    People steal flatware? Seriously?

    There was a real estate show on TV a few weeks ago where a man stole the home owner’s underwear.

  4. Funny about Money on March 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

    hm. Not so sure about that. Friend of mine tried staging her own place; then they hired a professional. Still couldn’t unload the place. It was a nice house in a less than perfect location (backed on to a supermarket parking lot). They ended up defaulting.

    On the doggy thing: I asked my Realtor to set a rule that people had to let me know when they were on their way. Then I arranged for either me or (if I was in class) a neighbor to take the dogs out of the house while prospects were there. Also, I cleaned the house from stem to stern EVERY DAY, including steam-mopping the floors (the entire house was tiled) to ensure the Eau de Doggo wasn’t wafting through the air. The greyhound, particularly, could be pretty stinky…we get used to it and don’t realize how much our furry friends perfume our homes.

    • Echo on March 8, 2011 at 9:58 am

      We’ve spent the last two weeks de-cluttering, cleaning and doing paint touchups. We also needed a new dining room table, but rather than waiting until we were in the new house we bought it now to help with the “look” of our current home. It’s looking pretty good right now, maybe we’ll stay 🙂

  5. Tammy on April 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I am planning to sell our home as early as now so that we could purchase a bigger home. But my problem is that I am confused because they said that I can earn from my own house by renting it to other people. Is this reasonable?

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