Set the Stage to Sell: Helpful Tips & Tricks
Home staging is a crucial part of the home selling process. Not only is it important for showings, but it is equally as important for photos. You want potential buyers touring your home to create a mental image of what each room can be for them. It’s easy to picture a family dinner around a fully set dining room table; but in a completely vacant home it’s sometimes difficult to tell where the dining space even is!
Eighty-three percent of buyers’ agents stated that a staged home was easier for a buyer to visualize as a future home, not just a property. And, home staging has an average ROI of 586%! This is an incredibly valuable process that guides buyers closer to a purchase decision, and we’re here with some tips to help set your stage for success.
Draw Them in with Curb Appeal
The first impression is the most important one, and it’s up to you to make sure it isn’t the only one! Most buyers drive by listings before deciding if they want to see the inside, so the exterior needs to be well maintained and inviting to draw them in. Basic landscaping goes a long way: mow the grass, trim any overgrown hedges, power wash the driveway and exterior walls and remove any seasonal decorations. Put a fresh coat of paint on the front door, place some outdoor furniture on the patio and add some pretty potted flowers to have buyers swarming like bees in no time. If you think it’s going to take a lot more than weed whacking and new furniture to make your listing presentable, check out our recent blog post on maximizing outdoor appeal.
Keep the Focus
Spend your time wisely! In the staging process, the greatest amount of attention should be given to the primary living spaces: kitchen, family room, bathrooms, and the master bedroom. If you do not have the time or resources to stage the whole house, start with these “big selling” rooms as they have the greatest potential to influence buyer decisions.
Neutralize all spaces by removing personalized decor: family photos, names, etc. You want to create a blank slate in which buyers can picture their own style. The master bedroom should appeal to all genders and feel as clean and comfortable as a luxurious hotel room. Freshen up all bathrooms by removing the 20-something bottles of shampoo cluttering the shower. Instead, place decorative soaps and clean towels by the sink.
Living areas should also be a focal point because they are where the new homeowner will be spending most of their time. Consider how the furniture is arranged: will people be bumping into things as they try to walk through? The furniture needs to be arranged in a conversational manner without blocking any walkways, so buyers can easily flow through it. If you have a focal point of the room, such as a fireplace or TV, arrange the furniture to face it. Move all furniture at least 10” from the walls to create a more open look- space sells!
Make the Right Connections
This step might include heavier effort on your end, but it’s worth it! First, declutter and depersonalize the listing to neutralize the environment for buyers. We promise there will be a better time to show off your coin collection or experiment with printed accent walls. Choose sophisticated, neutral tones like white, grays, and taupe. Rich mid-tones like mocha and gray-beiges create a nice backdrop that pulls everything together. Neutral tones will appeal to a broader range of people and are always in style, so we’d say this step is a win-win.
Once you disconnect the current owner from the home, it’s time to create positive connections between the home and the new owner. But how do you strengthen the emotions the space evokes, or even control what those feelings are? Use color psychology!
While choosing colors for decor, consider how you want the potential to feel in that room. Do you want them to feel relaxed in the master bathroom? You might consider blue accessories and wall art. Cool, yet inviting, shades like blue, green, and violet are perfect for bathrooms, bedrooms, and living rooms. On the other hand, you can cheer up buyers with warm colors like yellow, orange, and red in the kitchen and office. We think color psychology is a really interesting tactic in real estate, and we wrote a whole other blog about it.
When choosing the style of each room to be staged, it’s important to stay in line with current industry trends. Don’t go too crazy trying to redesign an entire room; just remember that less is more when and you need to appeal to a broad range of people! We recommend removing any outdated elements that could be off-putting for buyers, like curtains with bold prints, for example.
When in doubt, keep it natural! Natural tones and textures are a popular design choice for stagers and homeowners alike, and we believe this trend is here to stay. These include mixed metal hardware, faux fur throws, natural wood stools, wicker ball centerpieces, granite counters, and more. Bringing some of the outdoors, indoor, will brighten and add life to the space. A big vase of flowers is perfect on the kitchen island or tall potted plants in the living area are great decorations. Not much of a botanist? Fake plants from your local furniture or department store deliver the same vibe for no work.
Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year is Classic Blue, a color that signifies “the anticipation for what’s to happen next”. It might be fun to include a few classic blue accents here and there to get buyers excited for their next chapter: buying a home!
Light It Up
A great staging job can’t be appreciated if it’s too dark to be seen! Not only will the right lighting draw attention to focal points and evoke feelings of joy, but it also makes the space appear bigger, and, in turn, more desirable!
Let in as much sunlight as possible, or, if there aren’t many windows in the room, try increasing the wattage in the lightbulbs – switching from warmer lighting to “daylight balanced” is also a top tip. Unique or abstract lighting fixtures add style to a room, and depending on the kind of light, make buyers feel warm and welcomed. If you want to go a step further, add detailed lighting under the cabinets or around mirrors. You’d be surprised how much a difference a little light might go. Good lighting is not something you can overlook for successful showings and listing photos, so make sure you get this step right!
Whether you’re having trouble finding a professional home stager in a hurry or just don’t feel like moving furniture, virtual staging is a fabulous alternative! This is a revolutionary trend in real estate marketingwhere different pieces of furniture, decorative accessories, and more are digitally placed on an image of a vacant room. The results are incredibly realistic and as effective as traditional staging. On top of that, virtual staging can reduce the cost of staging by up to 97%! We’d say that’s an investment worth making.
To make sure your listing stands out, it’s important to stage to sell. An offer isn’t far behind these tips! For more real estate marketing information, visit our blog page.