Homeowner's Staging Checklist: Tips to Get you Started
When it’s time to put your home on the market for sale, it is helpful to think about it as a product, just like any product on the shelves at a local grocery store. Just like any other product, it has features and benefits, and competition.
To gain an edge in a competitive market, you must win both the beauty contest and the price war!
One of our favorite staging mantras is “Pack Now or Pack Later!” The fact is that when you sell, the next step is moving. When you move, you have to pack. So, try to think of the concept of staging as getting a jump on moving and packing up a few things early. It is a little bit of work, but if you figure you’re going to have to do it anyway, you may as well do it now so you can benefit from a higher sales price and a quicker sale!
Here are some tips to get you started:
- Walk through your house as though you are a buyer. Room by room, assess everything.
- Most carpet needs to be cleaned. Have it done professionally before your home is listed.
- Unless your home is a “fixer upper,” badly worn, stained, or out of date carpet should be replaced. Offering a buyer a discount or a credit to pick their new carpet is far less effective, and will generally end up costing you more money in addition to slowing the selling process. Your agent or stager will help you choose a neutral color and a style with wide appeal.
- Check all light fixtures. Are they working properly? Replace any burned out bulbs. Increase the wattage of bulbs in any dark hallways or corners.
- Use lamps with adequate bulbs in dark corners, and make sure they are all on for showings. You can put them on timers if you’re not at home.
- Repair and paint any cracks on walls and ceilings.
- Replace any broken light switches and switch plates; make sure they are clean.
- Keep all curtains and blinds open during the day to let in natural light and views. The extra cost of additional heating or air conditioning is a necessary cost of selling.
- Reduce the number of pillows on couches to zero or two. Remove all afghans and blankets.
- Pack up all valuable items to protect them. If necessary, take them to a safe deposit box.
- Take a hard look at those beloved household plants. In many cases they need to be pruned and/or the number of plants reduced to create more space. If plants don’t look healthy and are just barely clinging to life give them away.
- Take a look at the fish tank. What are you going to do with the fish when you move? Do you have a plan to give them to a friend or neighbor? If so, recommend you do it early (now), and remove the fish tank.
- Fireplaces need to be cleaned out. Glass doors should be cleaned. Mantels and hearths need to be cleared off except for a very few necessary items.
- To create more space you may want to remove a chair, a loveseat or other pieces of furniture. (Remember the model home!)
- Pack up all collectibles (you’re going to have to pack them away sooner or later anyway). They become a distraction for buyers from the desired focal point…your home.
- Reduce the number of books on bookshelves. Pack up extra books early.
- Remove all family photos on walls, shelves, pianos, and tables.
- Reduce the number of wall hung photos, paintings and art in every room to one large piece on a wall or a small group of three. Make sure they are hung at eye-level.
- Be sensitive to odors because buyers are!!! Excessive cooking or smoking odors, dog or cat odors, baby, laundry, trash cans, and mildew odors will turn off buyers. If there is a challenge with odors in your home use room deodorants or disinfectant sprays…find the source and treat it. (There are great products for pet odors, and many professional carpet cleaners have special ozone machines that can really help with difficult odors). You can’t sell it if you can smell it! For really difficult odors, there are professional companies in the local area that specialize in cleansing & neutralizing the air…and it really works!
- Wash all windows – hot water mixed with vinegar works great, and is cheap! Make sure all windows operate freely.
- Repair items that are broken. This will show that your home is well-taken-care-of. In most cases, buyers will ask for them to be repaired anyway, so do it now!
- Don’t be afraid to move furniture from room to room. That extra chair from the living room or dining room may just look great in the master bedroom.
Did you know that every Seller has access to a professional Staging Consultation? Contact me for more details about our "No Surprises Program" that helps Sellers sell their homes QUICKLY!