Tips for Staging – Get your house SOLD!

Hey there Momentum Friends,

We’ve dedicated the month of September to the sellers! Recall the article we posted last week about fixing up your house? This week we wanted to make a part 2 version of that article dedicated to staging your house for a quick sale. We’ve shared our list of 20 tips for staging your home but we really wanted to expand on that idea and discuss what’s really important for sellers to know, and what buyers are looking for. When it comes to staging, it’s most important to view your home through the eyes of a buyer and we hope that this post helps you do exactly that! Successful staging will boost your home’s appeal—and your chances of selling. And there are two rooms that often need the most staging: bedrooms and bathrooms.

Buying a new home is so personal. Yet, to sell yours, you’ll want to remove so many of your homey, personal touches. This is part of staging your home: buyers should be able to picture themselves living in your house—not picture you living in your house. An over-packed living room is a red flag to buyers that your home lacks storage space. Pack up un-neccesary items and furniture, and move items to your garage or a nearby storage facility. Clear the way for a sale by letting buyers see your square footage, not your personal belongings.

Think like a buyer

Staging lets you see your house with fresh perspective and helps you correct any eyesores you may have become used to over the years. It helps you to view some of your beloved items as clutter and gives you the initiative to clear away unneeded items.

Staging will also help you in the packing process, which inevitably involves streamlining and downsizing.

You might decide your house looks good enough as-is. But even in a strong market, a little staging could boost the offers you receive.

We’ll start with discussing kitchens and bathrooms. These seem to be a make-or-break for most buyers, and need to be shown in the best light possible. The kitchen is an obvious focal point of almost any home, so we’ll discuss that first. You’ll see there are many affordable ways to change a feel of a kitchen or bathroom, and it may come down to something as simple as painting cabinets and replacing hardware that adds that updated feel. For buyers, a clean, modern, well-laid-out kitchen is a major feature. Bathrooms are also a consideration, because they contribute to overall happiness in living in the home.

Grimy bathroom walls are a major red flag to buyers.

Here is an easy way to get rid of surface mold: Mix a spray bottle with one part water and one part bleach. Just spray it on the wall, and watch the mold disappear. Give it a fresh coat of paint, and your grimy bathroom will go from red flag to red-hot.

Don’t replace a yucky shower door: Just scour it.

A grimy glass shower door can really wash out your sale. Instead of replacing it, clean it with a mixture of one part muriatic acid and about 10 parts water. Scrub with steel wool. After wiping it down, re-install the door and you’ll have a shower that’ll help you clean up at the open house.

Avoid dated tile by painting.

Bathrooms sell houses, but dated tile in a bathroom doesn’t. A low-cost alternative to replacing the tile is to use paint. First coat the tiles with a high-adhesion primer. Next, brush on a special ceramic epoxy covering. For a fraction of the cost of new tile, you will have an up-to-date bathroom that brings in big bucks.

Pedestal sinks are a big hit with buyers.

If replacing a sink is in your budget, pedestal sinks show off square footage in small bathrooms beautifully. First, your old vanity has to go. Next, just hook up your new sink, and your bathroom will have dramatic appeal that brings in big bucks. Plus, buyers will see how much floor space your bathroom has.

Bathrooms can be beautiful

Purchasers don’t spend a lot of time in bathrooms, so your bathrooms have to make a great first impression. Bathrooms should be impeccably clean and somewhat modern. Here are some bathroom staging tips:

  • Replace old bathroom fixtures, such as towel rods and faucets, with sleek new ones
  • Hang luxurious-looking towels to match the bathroom’s color scheme
  • Layer towels on the rack, smaller towels over larger towels
  • Before an open house, put a bouquet of fresh flowers in the bathroom
  • Add spa-like accessories, such as candles, scented soaps in baskets and glass containers holding cotton balls

Cleanliness is a virtue

Cleanliness trumps all. Buyers have to imagine themselves living in your home, and they will have a hard time picturing themselves living in a dirty house. In fact, the top of your to-do list when you list home to sell should be a deep, thorough clean, like your house probably hasn’t seen since you moved in.

  • Remove mold and mildew
  • Scour away lime stains left by hard water
  • Clean windows inside and out
  • Steam carpets
  • Wash all linens and curtains

Clean it once. Then clean it again. The first rule of staging is always making sure that the house is clean, and this is especially true of kitchens and bathrooms. When you are living in a home and using it daily, it can be a challenge to keep these areas clean, but cleanliness tends to be the No. 1 thing people are looking for. Start with a thorough deep cleaning, and then wipe down everything after each use. Even something as simple as toothpaste spots on a mirror can give a potential buyer the feeling that the home is grungy. If you have stainless steel appliances, keep them gleaming and fingerprint-free.

Smells be gone! Smell is often the trickiest thing to detect in a home, because your nose adapts so quickly. But new people coming into your home will notice smells instantly and may be put off. Keep an air freshener in each bathroom, preferably one that regularly releases a good, clean scent. Stay away from heavy fragrances; aim for light scents that won’t make it appear that you are trying to mask something. Scents with names such as “fresh laundry,” “clean air,” “ocean breeze,” or “citrus” will leave your rooms smelling good but not overly perfumed. If you smoke or have a pet, be especially vigilant about eradicating those odors—because a clean, well-staged home should bring you a quick and profitable sale. When you are trying to sell your house, it’s best not to cook heavy meals with strong odors. This isn’t the time for a fish fry or simmering a garlic-laden pasta sauce. Even bacon, that widely loved scent, can put off some buyers. Fried foods in general are best avoided, because not only do the odors hang in the air, but also the resulting oil splatter can make cleaning a chore.

Clear out the clutter. This is especially true in kitchens and bathrooms, where your bottles and jars (even the decorative ones) can mask what your buyers are really looking for: counter space. Don’t forget the under-the-counter space, too. Buyers are nosy and rightly so — they want to make sure all their supplies will fit in the home. If you are selling your home and will be doing a lot of showings, streamline your routines ahead of time. In the kitchen, clean up all your cupboards and use only a handful of pans and dishes for the coming weeks. That way the bulk of your organizational handiwork remains pristine, and your touch-up labor will be minimal. In the bathroom, pare down your products to the essentials. Consider this an opportunity to do a little pre-move purge.

Undo that lived-in look. You probably won’t be looking at a major remodel, but make all necessary repairs. Use touch-up paint or a wood-fill pen to fix cabinet door dings. Make sure all closet and cabinet doors open without squeaks or groans. Tighten up all doorknobs and handles. Make sure that the faucets work properly, without leaks. Pull back all curtains and shades so that the home gets as much light as possible, and replace light bulbs that are burned out or flickering.

Pop those accessories. Use new or nearly new towels in the bathroom. Make sure that anything on the counter in the kitchen is in as-new condition. Some stagers recommend setting out plates if you have a breakfast bar, but depending on the size, these could clutter the landscape a bit. The idea is to convey the message that this home is well cared for, kept up, and loved. If you use a fruit bowl or flowers to accessorize, be careful to keep an eye on them. Drooping flowers or rotting fruit can undo the good work you’ve done.

Bedrooms equal comfort

A bedroom should be a place of serenity. Stage your bedroom to convey a tone of comfort and relaxation. You want it to appear spacious. Here are some tips for presenting your bedroom:

  • Paint it in soft, neutral tones
  • Remove all furniture other than a bed, a dresser and a few knickknacks
  • Remove at least half of your wardrobe from your closet to make the closet seem larger
  • Clear away clutter, shoes, reading material and family photos
  • Invest in new linens and throw pillows
  • Steam clean the carpets, clean the windows and dust the shades

A master bedroom should appeal to both sexes.

When you are selling, your master bedroom should appeal to buyers of both sexes. Get rid of features that seem too gender-specific, Then accessorize with items that complement the overall color scheme.

Breathe new life into a worn patio.

Do you have a red-brick patio surface that needs to be freshened up? Here is an easy way to give it new life with paint. First, roll a light coat of paint onto the bricks. Next, lightly spray them with water and then dab them before they dry to give them an outdoor look. When you are done, you will have a patio that looks fresh and reels in buyers.

Storage space sells!

Potential buyers love homes that have lots of storage space. Since they will open your closets, it’s a good idea to clear out unnecessary clutter, and organize your shelves to show off how much storage you really have. Plus, it gives you a chance to start packing, as you will definitely be moving once buyers see all that closet space

We had help from HGTV and for this article.

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