Realtors: How to Stage a Home

by Lois Leonard

4 min read

As a Realtor, you need to do everything you can to help your listings sell faster at asking price or above. Staging a home is one effective way to achieve this goal. The good news is that there’s some science behind the reason why home staging works; atmospheric factors such as cleanliness, layout, lighting, and scent have a positive influence on buyers, according to a study published in the International Journal of Marketing Studies. Follow these best practices when staging homes.

Declutter the Space

When prospective homebuyers visit your listings, they usually develop an emotional connection and visualize their belongings in the spaces. Clutter can be a turnoff and stop buyers from connecting with a home. Even though the current owners may be comfortable with their clutter, encourage them to start clearing out their home as soon as they decide to sell before you put it on the market. It’s vitally important to declutter spaces people typically use for storage such as closets, cabinets, drawers, basements, and garages. Too much art on the walls and too much extra furniture can also make a space look cluttered, and home sellers should be encouraged to remove such excess items from the home. Although highly personal items such as family photos and memorabilia may be cherished by the current owners, they interfere with the buyers’ ability to get comfortable in a space, so those items should be packed away as well.

Clean and Paint

Cleanliness makes homebuyers want to linger in spaces, so homes should be cleaned well before bringing in decor. Many buyers consider the sight of dirt and grime as reasons not to buy, so ensure that places where dirt tends to bloom, such as in kitchens and bathrooms, are spotless. Metal fixtures should be polished and shiny. Your sellers may not be up to expending too much energy making their homes sparkle, so you might consider recommending they hire a professional cleaning company instead. Painting is the next step in the staging process. Paint dirty walls with light neutral colors that enhance a space’s clean look. Chipped paint makes a home appear old and neglected, so ensure such areas are cleaned and repainted. If the seller has a limited home repair budget, recommend painting dingy cabinets and doors instead of replacing them. Installing new, stylish hardware brings a fresh look without the expensive price tag.

Interior Decor

You want to inspect the floors before addressing a space’s furniture needs. It may not be possible to remove carpet, but it should be professionally cleaned. You can also incorporate an area rug in a carpeted space, which boosts the unique factor and can add a pop of color. Encourage the owner to repair and polish exposed hardwood floors. You want your homes to have a cozy feel so place just enough furniture in rooms to make rooms look inviting. Avoid going minimal as you don’t want spaces to feel empty. Vintage furniture and art strategically placed throughout a home add interest and highlight decor possibilities in the minds of buyers. Lighting is essential to successful home staging. Soft light works best, so place trendy or vintage lamps throughout the home, depending on the look you want to achieve. Don’t forget about the bathrooms; a basket of neatly folded towels, decorative items arranged neatly on shelves, and stylish mirror can impress buyers at first glance.

Exterior Decor and Curb Appeal

You want prospective buyers to experience love at first sight when they visit your listings, so it’s a good idea to boost your listings’ curb appeal and exterior decor. Start by decluttering the yard, having the lawn mowed and the hedges trimmed, and consider adding landscaping touches such as decorative plants and stepping stones. In the absence of a budget to replace an old front door, update the hardware to refresh its look. People love cozy back yards, so you may wish to set up a seating area and a grill. Sculptural elements such as a few well-placed, large potted plants or outdoor artwork enhance the appeal of exterior spaces.

Hiring a Professional Home Stager

Realtors specialize in listing and selling homes, and negotiating contracts. If staging a home isn’t your strong suit or you’re busy serving many clients at a time, you may wish to recommend your clients hire a professional home stager or a staging company. Home stagers may have backgrounds in interior decorating, but most importantly, they are experts at understanding the decorating trends that appeal to homebuyers. Stagers can work with homeowners’ furniture and decor to create visually appealing spaces. In some cases, they also provide furniture and decor items, for a fee of course. Staging plays an important role in helping listings sell quickly. While many factors impact a home’s saleability, staging can give it an extra boost.

References & Resources

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