Staging your home well is one of the keys to getting your home to sell fast. According to The Mortgage Reports, staging your home helps it sell 73% faster than unstaged homes.
Typically, a quick sale means more money for you! The National Association of Realtors found that the longer a home sat on the market, the less money it sold for.
Why does a staged house make for a quick sale?
Well, a house that is staged does a few important things for potential buyers.
First, staging a home shows buyers the potential in a space.
According to Professional Staging, LLC, over 80% of buyers reported that a well staged house helped them imagine living in that home. Most buyers need to see how the space works for them to visualize themselves living there. If a buyer can envision themselves living in a home, a quick sale is much more likely to follow.
For example, this picture shows a small room in the basement. It has a closet and an egress window, so technically it’s a bedroom. But when you put a bed in there, it takes up most of the room. To make the room look purposeful and more spacious, we staged it with a small desk. The desk, paired with a comfortable chair and adorned with a few decor items, shows buyers the potential for that room to be not only a bedroom, but also a small office.
Normally, I would always recommend having the window blinds pulled up. In this case however, the window showed the window well and ladder up to the ground, highlighting that this was the basement. In this instance, a closed blind is preferable!
Second, staging a house gives places for potential buyers to “rest” their eyes.
Staging a room encourages your potential buyers to look at pretty things, such as the flowers you placed on the table, the neutral picture above the couch, or the plant by the front door. When someone looks at pretty things, the dopamine in their brain flows, and they feel better about that room or house.
This picture shows examples of neutral decor items. The picture above the piano is sheet music. There are candle sticks, coasters, a hard bound music book and moss topiaries. These things just look nice, but don’t evoke any emotions. This is exactly what you want when you are staging your house to sell.
Third, staging a house tells your buyers where to look.
Put another way, staging a house averts a potential buyers eyes from things that may leave an unfavorable impression.
When a buyer walks into an empty room, they look at the walls (which may have cracks or marred paint), or at the floor (stains on that rug? No thanks!).
I am not saying that you should purposely hide these types of things. Don’t put a throw rug over a scratched area of the floor. Don’t put a picture over a hole in the wall. But, strategically placed items can help to accent the places you want your buyer to look and draw their eyes away from where you don’t want them to look.
For example, check out this deck that I staged when we were selling this house. What do you see? The cute bistro table? The flower boxes with flowers spilling out? The color coordinated rug? That is what I see, and what I hope a potential buyer sees. And when we see that, it makes us think about the possibilities up here. We think, “I could sit on this deck with my morning cup of coffee, or read a novel out here!”
If you really look though, you may notice that the deck floor needs to be restained. It appears to be raw wood, and needs some sort of protective finish on it. I am not hiding the wood. I didn’t cover the whole thing with a rug. But, I did highlight the great qualities of the deck, in hopes of downplaying the maintenance that may be required at some point.
So now that you know why you should stage your house, here are some general tips of how to stage your house for a quick sale.
- Clear all surfaces. Counters, tables, desks, vanity tops, etc.
- Remove any excess furniture. A crowded room looks smaller!
- Decoratively display “neutral” items. By neutral, I mean things that don’t evoke a lot of emotions. For example, flowers, plants, mirrors, pictures of a landscape scene, similar colored book bindings, etc.
- Place neutral decor items decoratively in vignettes of 3.
- Put items in places that you want your buyer to look. Highlight the fireplace by putting a small vignette on the two ends.
- Hide all cords. If your TV cords hang down in a place you can see them, pin them up behind the TV, or remove them until the potential buyers leave. Cords look messy.
- Remove all personal items. This includes pictures of people and knick knacks.
- Remove all soaps, shampoos, dish soap, etc. from the bathrooms and sinks. Your potential buyers don’t want to be reminded that a real person lives in this house, so remove anything that suggests you do. Place these things under the (organized) sink.
- Remove the trash cans from all rooms, including the kitchen. Put them in the garage, or under the sinks.
- Clear your bookshelves and restack some of the books decoratively. This could mean by color, size, etc. with some standing up and some stacked.
- Make all the beds, and layer pillows and blankets.
- Open all blinds and make the curtain openings as wide as possible.
- Turn on all lights, lamps, etc.
Here are some examples of ways to stage your house sell it quick.
Get a new welcome mat for the front door.
Put a wreath on the door.
Make the front porch look welcoming by putting planters on either side.
Arrange any outdoor furniture in aesthetically pleasing ways. Put a plant or flowers on the table tops.
Remulch flower beds.
Make the entryway look inviting. Here is a bench that I picked up for $22.50 at the ReStore. I painted and distressed it, and added some pillows, making it a great little entryway piece.
Kitchen/Dining Room Staging
Put flowers on the kitchen table.
Place a tablecloth over your table if the finish is in less than perfect condition.
Push all the chairs in under the table, and make sure they are straight.
Gather your wood cutting boards and artfully stack them smallest to largest against the kitchen wall.
Put a small vase of flowers in the bathroom.
Place nice towels on the towel rack in the bathroom, with the bath towel on the bottom, the hand towel on top of it, and the washrag on top of the handtowel. White towels look nice in any bathroom, and looks so clean. This set comes with two different patterns of white towels, making it a great set to pick up if you have two different bathrooms you need to stage.
Use apothecary jars filled with cotton balls, q-tips, rose petals, bath salts, etc. to stage the bathroom.
Put flowers in a small vase on a tray on the bed. We also put a little coffee table book on the tray.
Layer pillows on the bed.
Place matching lamps on either side of the bed.
General Staging Tips for Any Room
Place a plant in the corner of a room.
Steam any wrinkles out of linens (curtains, bed covers, towels, tablecloths, etc.). We have this steamer and it works great for us.
Replace large pictures with mirrors. Mirrors make a room look bigger.
Gather books with similar color book bindings and stick them together on shelves or end tables.
Overall, remember that less is more.
If you don’t have anything nice to put out, just clear the surface. Clutter does not look good when staging a house.
Test to see if the room is staged well.
A great way to check if a room is staged well is to take a picture of it. Remember that picture of the piano? After I took it, I removed the coasters and moved the moss topiaries to the kitchen. The piano was just too cluttered, and taking a picture of it made that very evident to me.
So now that you know how to stage your house, get to work decluttering, curating the staging items you already have, and picking out a few new items to really make the house pop!
If you are planning on selling your house without a realtor, check out how we sold our house on our own in less than 24 hours!
Also, take a look at this complete guide to holding your own open house.
If you plan to take your own real estate pictures, be sure to check out this resource on how to do that!
And last, read up on how to sell your house FAST!