Want an unusually fast house sale? You need to know these seven inexpensive (FREE!) home staging tips.
So you want to put your home on the market, but you'd like to try your hand at home staging to ensure a fast house sale. Having your house on the market is stressful for families. Your life is in limbo and you have to keep everything ship-shape for showings. This can feel unbelievably challenging for parents with little ones underfoot.
Selling your house FAST is a blessing. Below are seven need-to-know, no-cost home staging tips that will help you accomplish that goal.
Real Before and After MLS House Photos
A few years back, our family bought a 1950's mid-century modern ranch fixer-upper. We spent a great deal of time renovating the house and making updates to flip the property. The images below were used in MLS to sell our home. You'll see sets of real before and after home staging photos.
BEFORE PHOTOS — We put our house on the market in the fall of last year, with no home staging attempts, and things progressed slowly. The ongoing showings were plentiful but exhausting and unfruitful. While there were offers made, they were low and uninspiring. We decided to pause showings over the holidays, to reduce stress. All the BEFORE photos showcased below were the original MLS images used for our listing.
AFTER PHOTOS — After the holidays, I began researching home staging searching for ways to ensure a fast house sale. We didn't want our lives to fall into limbo. We looked into a professional home stager, but the prices were beyond what we wanted to invest. Instead, we followed a few basic principles (below), made a couple of minor house updates, and a few strategic home styling pieces. All the AFTER photos showcased below were the MLS images with a home staging strategy in place that were used when we sold our home.
But we didn't just sell our home — we had a crazy fast house sale.
We had seven offers within 48-hours, all at asking price or above. When buyers began to realize there were multiple offers streaming in, a few amended their pricepoints the same day. We ended up receiving $10,000 over asking price.
Now, obviously, I cannot guarantee these tips will score you a lightening-fast offer. I can tell you they made a huge difference for our family and I think they'll help you too!
What is house staging?
Home staging is strategically preparing your home for top-notch real estate photography and to make your home accessible to buyers in upcoming showings. House staging is a classic marketing tool that helps sell homes faster and for a higher price by making it easy for buyers to imagine THEIR future in your house.
According to an article from Forbes.com, "A staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home, and 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. That is statistically 87% faster than non-staged homes."
While you can pay a professional home staging companies to prep your house, there are many simple things you can do yourself when selling your home.
How much does home staging cost?
It is said, as a general guideline, the average cost for most professional house stagers is $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation and $500 to $600 per month per staged room. This can vary from state to state or even fluctuate based on city, so check in with your local home staging companies for an estimated cost.
Real estate professional Crystal Hemphill explains the costs of working with a home staging company can quickly add up, "Staging a 2,000-square-foot home would cost around $2,000 to $2,400 a month." Most professional home stagers require a three-month minimum contract, so even if you sell the home in 72 hours your final staging bill would be $7,200.
Is staging a house on a budget possible?
YES, you can rock Basic Home Staging and DIY House Staging when selling your house with a little bit of guidance.
There are many things you can do when selling a home to help stage the property that only cost you a bit of time and effort. Below you will find seven ABSOLUTELY FREE tips for how to stage a home to sell.
There are also a variety of DIY House Staging options — simple house fixes and updates, as well as, specific home styling props that are helpful when staging a home to sell. If you want to take your property staging to the next level, stay tuned for future posts on this topic!
7 Absolutely FREE Basic Home Staging Tips For A Fast House Sale
Here are seven need-to-know, no-cost home staging tips just for you.
1. The absolutely most important tip for staging a house to sell is — Put away ⅔ of your belongings.
The thing most buyers are looking for in a new home is space. According to ForSaleByOwner.com, decluttering your home for sale can decrease your time on the market by 78%. Do a basic round of decluttering and get those donations out of the house. Next, go through your house and box up things you won't need to use again until after the move — seasonal clothing, excess toys, and so on. Store these boxed items neatly in your garage, basement, or even better yet at a friend or family's house.
Remember, at open houses potential buyers will be opening closets, opening drawers, and poking around storage spaces. Attempting to hide clutter in closets will send buyers the signal that the house lacks space. The purpose of decluttering is to demonstrate that the space is roomy and that there is ample storage available to your potential buyers.
Taking the time to declutter before you sell the house will also ensure you don't waste time later moving things you don't really need!
2.When property staging, give each room or area in your home a single purpose.
Potential buyers need to be able to imagine options for each room in your house. Giving each space a specific purpose allows buyers the ability to see how to maximize your home's square footage. Even if they don't want to use a room for the showcased purpose, it is important that buyers see that every single inch of your home is usable space.
Showcasing a utility room or guest room that doubles up as an office implies your home is too small. Instead, give each space in your home a specific purpose — this includes alcoves, window seats, corners, breakfast nooks and so on! The revised set-up might be less than ideal for your everyday needs, but this change will help you with selling your house.
REAL MLS HOME STAGING PHOTOS
When we bought our home we intended on doing a custom built-in breakfast nook, but never got around to it. The first time we had MLS photos taken we left the space open, but then we learned it is better to showcase use of the space vs leave it unfilled. An extra art table from one of the kids' rooms coupled with a few metal chairs from our covered porch quickly turned this open space into a cozy breakfast nook or place for families to play board games together.
3. You want to remove personal touches from the house when home staging.
One of the primary purposes of house staging is to help your prospective buyers image your home as their own. One of the fastest ways to accomplish this is to remove personal touches from your home and make it into a blank canvas. You want your house to have style and charm, but all personal touches should be removed.
The best way to go about this is to imagine your home as a vacation property. If you've rented a condo or hotel for your family the week, you'd want the space to be inviting. Yet, you also want to feel comfortable, like the rental is your home, for the duration of your trip.
The most obvious starting point is to take down and pack up personal photos. Imagine showing up to a hotel and seeing a pic of a cute kid on the fridge. Make sure to grab framed photos from the wall too! The next step is to look for personal trinkets, anything religious, as well as, everyday personal items. For example, make sure your bathroom counter is clear and all personal items like toothbrushes, hair supplies, and such are put away.
It might feel strange at first, but it will help buyers connect with your house (and make an offer!).
REAL HOUSE STAGING PHOTOS
Unexpectedly, the hardest place for me to followthrough with this tip was my nightstand. Usually, I have books, chapstick, allergy pills, a phone charger and a bunch of other random stuff sitting around on my nightstand. That being said, I did love the minimalist feel of room when all of these daily personal items where removed, so I knew it would help sway potential buyers too.
4. Kitchen staging is important when your target buyer is a family.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, so you want this space to be especially appealing to families. Again, clutter makes your home and kitchen feel smaller. Be absolutely ruthless when it comes to your kitchen countertops. Everyday things like the toaster, coffee maker, knife block make your kitchen look smaller. Store these items during photo sessions and showings.
REAL MLS HOME STAGING PHOTOS
A simple way to make your kitchen feel more inviting is to set-up your table for dinner. You can use your everyday dinner dishes, along with some tablemats, and flowers from the yard. Shop your own home! This small update helps buyers imagine the home as their own. Can you feel the difference between these two photos?
5. Natural light is an absolute MUST when staging a house for sale.
Dark rooms feel small and are depressing. Light-filled rooms feel roomy and big. When staging your house to sell, brighten up the space by letting in as much natural light as much as possible. Start by opening blinds or curtains on every single window, even in the bathroom!
Opening your home to let in natural light is specifically important when your realtor's photographer comes to take photos of the house. The better your home photos, the more online activity your property will receive, and the more showings you'll get scheduled.
When preparing for your scheduled showings be sure to go around and turn on every single overhead light and lamp in the house on — even during the daytime. This ensures your home feel welcoming and roomy.
REAL MLS HOME STAGING PHOTOS
Having plants in your home signals to potential buyers that your home has an abundance of light. If you don't have plants, borrowing a few from friends could be helpful when staging your home!
6. Forget kitchen staging, living room staging, and bedroom staging for a moment. When you are selling a house the SINGLE most important space in your home is the entryway.
Too often the foyer is overlooked when staging a home for a quick sale. When potential buyers walk in the door they immediately decide if they feel a sense of connection to the home in a matter of seconds. Your entryway is your one opportunity to make a great first impression.
Take a moment to step outside and enter your home with new eyes. What are you immediately drawn to? Do you feel welcome? This space matters!
REAL MLS HOME STAGING PHOTOS
Our home doesn't have a full-sized foyer, but rather a small entryway. What I did notice with this DIY test was the first thing I noticed when walking in the door was an ugly lamp we had behind our piano. Knowing this piano area was the first impression of our house, I refocused my attention there.
Scroll back up to the living room photo above and you'll see a sleek mid-century modern lamp behind along with a plant transplanted from another spot in the house!
7. Selling a house fast requires a good, honest, trustworthy friend who will be upfront with you.
It is easy to become immune to our house's problem points, our own clutter, and our personal artifacts. You may THINK you've done a great job decluttering, giving each room a purpose, and removing personalized touches, but chances are... you've missed some additional home staging opportunities.
Have a trusted friend or relative read this article and then walk through your home. A fresh set of eyes will give you glimpse into how potential buyers will experience your home at a showing. Give your friend full-reign to rummage through your home, to make suggestions, and to be utterly transparent. It is better to get insights now than to lose potential buyers!
REAL MLS HOME STAGING PHOTOS
I good friend walked through our house with me after I decluttered and my first attempt at home staging. I knew in my heart that this particular room was a problem, but I was trying to ignore the problem. She was frank about the room feeling uninviting and that the bed blocking the window made it feel out of place.
We put the bunkbed up on Facebook Marketplace and donated it to a family in our neighborhood. A cousin donated her trundle bed to us and we used chalk paint to brighten it up.
We removed some clutter (candle + books) from the shelf ledge and then used real and artificial plants to draw people into the room. We shopped the house and relocated a lamp and Papasan chair from another room to lighten up the room and make it feel inviting. Because of her honesty, we were able to resolve many of the issues with a few simple changes.
. . .
Looking to take your home staging to the next level?
We have a wide variety of inexpensive DIY House Staging options to share with you — simple house fixes and updates, as well as, specific home styling props that are helpful when staging a home to sell. According to the National Association of Realtors...
Every $100 invested in staging, the potential return is $400.
If you want to take your property staging to the next level, stay tuned for future posts on this topic!
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