9 Staging Tips To Help Your Listings Sell Faster
Emma Tomsich6 minute-read
January 07, 2022
If you’re looking to sell your home fast, you came to the right place. Staging your home is the key to ensuring a quick sale. We spoke to experts and compiled a list of the best staging tips to get your house off the market.
What Is Staging?
Staging a house can help buyers envision the space for themselves and eliminate decorating and living concerns.
Tanya DiNicolantonio, REALTOR® at The Brandow Group explains staging as the equivalent of dressing mannequins in a store window. “It’s really hard to imagine an outfit on the hanger,” says DiNicolantonio.
She says the two goals for staging are to make the property look its best in photos and make the house appealing to buyers when they walk through in person.
“Since 97% of buyers look at a home online first, the pictures have to grab their attention,” DiNicolantonio says. “Colors and furniture placement are crucial to staging an appealing set of property photos.”
Can Staging Affect Time On Market?
Staging a house can affect its time on the market. According to the Real Estate Staging Association, staged houses sold 9 days sooner than houses that are not staged.
A recent survey by the National Association of REALTORS® found that 82% of buyers' agents said home staging made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.
Does Staging Impact Sale Price?
“Even though we find ourselves in a hot seller's market, home staging is absolutely essential when it comes to selling a home,” said Lambros Demos, broker with Royal LePage Realty Plus. “It’s the difference between just selling and selling for top dollar.”Lauren Reynolds, REALTOR® with William Raveis Real Estate said effective home staging can influence the purchase decision and the purchased price.
“Staged homes sell with fewer days on the market and can increase the dollar value offered by 1% to 5%,” according to Reynolds.
9 Home Staging Essentials
“A lot of times people think of staging as completely changing the whole house – bringing in new furniture, painting, changing all the decor, new flooring, and more. However … home staging can, and should be, much more simple,” said REALTOR® Haley Jones.
Here are 9 quick and easy home staging essentials that will take your home to the next level without breaking the bank.
Curb appeal creates a first impression of the home, according to Jones. “Consider that oftentimes buyers coming to see the home will likely be waiting while their agent is unlocking the front door. Ask yourself what they will see and whether or not what they will see makes a great first impression.”
Jones said the lawn and front door should look inviting. She encourages homeowners to lay black mulch in the mulch beds, weed flower beds, add a wreath or welcome mat, and make sure the house numbers are visible and look nice.
Victoria Staten with The Upside Chicago, said that vegetation also matters. She advises homeowners to cut the grass, remove all unnecessary shrubs and clean up the remaining shrubs.
Don’t go overboard with decorating the exterior of your house, but don’t leave it bare.
“Add at least a couple nice pieces of outdoor furniture to the porch, with simple cushions that match the color scheme of the home’s exterior,” says Staten. “You can also create symmetry with the front walkway by adding a large pot or lantern on each side of the steps or path to the door.”
Staten advises that homeowners often do a nighttime drive-by of the home, so it might be smart to encourage sellers to add lights that make the home look inviting at night.
“When staging, decluttering and cleaning is so important,” said Melanie Dawkins, REALTOR® with Red Door Realty.
When decluttering, Dawkins encourages sellers to think about what they are selling.
“Buyers are looking for what they don't have, so sell them on the lifestyle they want, including storage, cleanliness, or perfect entertaining space,” said Dawkins. “Make them think that if they buy your home, it's a fresh start to the life they want.”
When it comes to staging, less is more. Consider asking clients to clear knickknacks and personal items from bookcases, closets and cupboards in order to show off storage space.
After the home is decluttered, you can start organizing storage spaces.
“Clutter gives the impression that either the seller does not care about their space and or that there is not enough storage space, and neither are an ideal message to send,” said Jones. “Organization will help to showcase the amount of storage these spaces have.”
“If you do nothing else, just clean, clean, clean,” said Lambros. “Nothing turns off buyers more than a dirty home.”
This means doing more than just a quick sweep and light dusting. If the seller can afford it, use a professional cleaning service. If professional services are out of reach, encourage clients to focus on giving everything a deep clean, including floors, moldings, walls light fixtures, hard surfaces and vents.
Jones also suggests deep cleaning areas where a lot of hands go. For example, doorways and light switch plates, doorknobs and kitchen cabinets.
Most importantly, remove any smells. It might be difficult, but be honest with your client about any smells or odors.
It’s essential that you do obvious repairs and fix anything that needs it.
DiNicolantonio says she encourages homeowners to fix wobbly door handles, patch walls, replace broken glass panes, repair leaky faucets, tighten loose handrails and make sure light switches work.
Buyers almost always assume that repairs will cost more than they actually do, so it’s important that everything is in perfect condition, says DiNicolantonio.
Remove Personal Touches
Once the seller has decluttered the heavy, bulky items from their home, it's time to depersonalize, said Ali Wenzke, broker at Baird & Warner, Winnetka. “Buyers want to envision themselves living in the new home, not the life you are living in it now.”
As a rule of thumb, Jones says to remove decorations that are super specific.
“If a buyer walks into a room and all he or she can focus on is an ornate painting, the taxidermy animals a seller hunted, or a polka dot purple couch, this distracts buyers and makes it difficult for them to see the space as their own,” says Jones.
She also said to remove oversized and excessive furniture that makes the space look small.
Elizabeth Leanza, REALTOR® at Realty One Group, refers to this step as streamlining. “This basically entails removing all excess personalized decor and belongings in each room. This includes excess family photos on walls and on furniture, trophies, personal everyday items such as toiletries and kitchen utensils and appliances,” says Leanza.
Keep Things Neutral
“Now comes the staging,” says Leanza. “This part is the physical aspect of staging, which entails the moving of furniture around each room, and moving excess furniture out if needed.”
Leanza recommends that sellers remove area rugs and carpets that cover the flooring since they can make rooms appear smaller, or make buyers feel that there is something the sellers are trying to hide.
Homeowners can either rent furniture to stage their home or utilize what they currently have. Renting furniture is great for empty homes but can be costly, so Leanza typically likes to work with what her clients already own.
When it comes to colors, go with a warm or cool color scheme, based on whatever is already predominant in the home. Next, put away any object that does not complement that color scheme.
A properly staged home should feel light, bright, open and inviting.
Give Each Room A Purpose
Before you’re able to give each room a purpose, figure out your target audience. Ask yourself to think about who will plan to move into your home. Will your buyer be a bachelor, a family of four, or empty nesters?
“Once you know who your target audience is, you can determine how to stage your home accordingly,” Wenzke says. “With your budget in hand and your target audience in mind, give each room one purpose.”
For example, your spare bedroom should not pull double duty as an office or an exercise space.
“If you are appealing to young families, you may stage the room as a nursery. If your target audience is empty nesters, the room may be better suited as an office,” says Wenzke. “Pick one purpose and stick with it. Any furniture or items that do not fit in with that purpose should be removed from the room.”
Add An Office Space
Since many people are working from home at least part of the time, make your home stand out and be impactful for potential buyers by creating an office or school desk space.
Many buyers need a work area or office right now and some families are even moving for that reason alone.
Thoughtful staging should include a desk or two, depending on the size of the home.
Sellers can also take it to the next level by using a nonfunctioning laptop as a prop, choosing a comfortable chair, and adding a suitably sized desk or table to show how a corner or nook can be used as a workspace.
The Bottom Line
By now you have all the tips to stage a house like a professional. We wish you the best of luck as you move forward with the rest of the selling process, and don’t forget to explore the Rocket ProSM Insights Learning Center for the latest real estate and housing updates.