MN Realtor on Home Staging

MN Realtor on the Importance of Home Staging

Just a few years ago, staging a home for sale was rare. It was also generally for homes on the higher end of the pricing scale, new homes or empty homes. Today the story of home staging is entirely different.

The National Association of Realtors study conducted in 2017 found that 58% of real estate professionals said that when you stage, the sale price can increase as much as 20%. This same study found that 39% said staged homes sell much faster. The message of staging and selling a house quickly and for more money resonates with today’s home sellers at all price points and for all types of housing options.

Even sellers with starter homes or small condos with a limited budget can stage their property to make it more desirable. I will share some great tips that I guarantee will make your home more marketable and cost very little as long as you are prepared to invest some time into the project.

The Five Basic Building Blocks of Home Staging

What I am about to share can be considered the foundation of staging a home. Whether the seller has a small or large budget, these are five rules that everyone will incorporate into the staging plan. Those with a generous budget will spend money instead of time, and those with fewer funds will sacrifice their time.

Home Staging Tip #1 – Remove Your Clutter

Those of you who have read some of my other posts will probably sigh and say, “Joe, I have heard you suggest this many times before.” That is true because no matter how many times I say start with decluttering when you want to sell your home, many people don’t do it. The fact is you are going to do it when you move, so why not get a head start on packing and get it done before you put your home on the market? It makes sense, right?

Clean out your closets, cabinets, drawers, basement, and attic, or anywhere you store your “stuff.” If it’s broken or used up, throw it away. If it’s in good condition, but you no longer need or want it, sell or donate the item. Put the rest back neatly in its place. If you still have too much, consider packing up what you don’t need and putting it in a storage facility. Always remember when it comes to getting ready to present your best possible home to a buyer, the minor stuff, the better. If you are having trouble knowing where to begin, check out the popular konmari method of organizing.

Cost: $0 if you do it yourself. You might even make money on this project if you sell some used items at a consignment shop or Craigslist. Need a storage unit? Check out prices in your area.

Tip #2 – Remove Personal Items

Some of you bristled when you read this, didn't you? Many past clients have told me they feel uncomfortable doing this step. Another response is that the personal items give the home warmth and personality. While I will not deny this is true, the problem is that a family’s memorabilia give the home its imprint. Our goal is for a buyer to envision your home as their home, and it’s hard to do when there are photos and family mementos to remind them this is your home.  

Remove family photos, awards, trophies, and any diplomas or certificates on display. You also want to pack away collections, sports memorabilia, hunting trophies, or religious items. If you believe this is going too far, ask me to tell you the story of the home filled with taxidermy and the vanishing buyers. I have another about the serious Vikings fan who was in love with a house until he saw the den. It was a shrine to the Green Bay Packers. Enough said, right?

Cost: $0 when you do the work.

Home Staging Tip #3 – Neutralize the Space

It’s a fact that some people love colors. They paint the living room lime green, the bedroom purple, the smokey kitchen blue. However, when you are selling a home, it’s wise to be neutral to please a broad audience. Most people would prefer not to paint before moving into a new home. Additionally, your colors may not match their furnishings. When colors are so personalized, it will make it that much more difficult for buyers to see your space as theirs.

Painting is easy and inexpensive and can be done by following a few simple rules. Pick a white (always in style) or a gray (trending now) and update all your interior walls with either of these neutral colors.

Cost: Depends on the paint. DIY for the price of paint and supplies, which can be anywhere from $300 up for an average two-bedroom home, or if you hire a painter, the cost will be between $1472 to $3500 minus the paint.

Tip #4 – Editing

This one is easy. The last thing you want is too much furniture in your rooms. Also, the goal is to have a clean kitchen and bathroom counters. If you did your job in removing clutter, this should be easy. Make sure you have space to walk comfortably around the living room and other family spaces. If not, move excess furnishings to a storage facility or get rid of them.

Kitchen counters should be empty except for a coffee maker and possibly a plant. The bathroom counter should have soap for washing. Too many bottles and jars on bathroom counters and appliances on kitchen counters will send a message to buyers that there is no room in the house for their stuff.

Cost: $0 and possibly some extra cash if you sell some furniture.

Home Staging Tip #5 – Your Front Entrance Should Make a Great Impression

First impressions are so important. When selling a home, the first glimpse of your home that buyers see can set the stage for a deal or a great escape. Here is all it takes to make an excellent first impression on buyers.

  • Paint the front door
  • Paint the garage door
  • Trim the shrubs in front of the house
  • Mow and trim the lawn
  • Clean all the hardware and lighting fixtures
  • Paint or replace the mailbox
  • Wash all the windows
  • Put out a new welcome mat

If you have some time and cash to spare, planting some annuals around the front of your home, a pot near the front door, and some solar lighting will go a long way to complete the curb appeal.

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