Top 10 Tips for Staging Your Home and Selling it Fast


By: Susan C. Kim
 
A real estate slump is a real drag, especially if you’re trying to sell your abode. So stage your pad to beat out the competition and draw in more prospective buyers. Most buyers have a hard time looking past pink walls and green shag carpet, so do the legwork for them and present their “new home” on a silver platter. If done smartly, the money spent staging will be made up tenfold in the house sale — and you keep all the hot accessories for yourself afterwards (or unload them on Craigslist).
 
Here are some tips I used when staging my San Francisco condo. This unit sold within a month and a half for just below asking price. The exact same (un-staged) unit, located one floor down, never even got an offer. So there you have it.
 

 
1. Clear it all out. Move every single thing out of your place. That goes for your beloved troll doll collection, leopard skin rug, and the couch your mom claims you were born on. As sentimental as these things might seem to you, buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in your space; seeing clothes in the closet, family photos, and random tchotchkes prevents them from doing so. Then place back in only necessary furniture, keeping in mind that you want the space to look big, clean, spacious, and uncluttered. This isn’t supposed to be a functional room. Nope. As I did in this living area, you can lose the TV, stereo, side tables, and ottomans if it creates more room.
 

 
2. Freshen up the style. You may be a diehard Shabby Chic follower, but even Rachel Ashwell would agree that not everyone is. Aim for a style that most buyers would like, even if it’s not your cup of tea. Furnishings that seem homey and comforting — yet fresh and contemporary — give an aura that your home is updated and well cared for. Neutrals work best; just add colorful touches here and there. For this home office, I used a bright rug to punch in some color and pattern to an otherwise boxy white room. The clear console stands in for a desk (if buyers saw my real desk stacked with papers and dirty coffee mugs, they’d run for the hills). Curtains hide the closet doors and soften the hard walls. Stick-on mirrors from IKEA reflect light and space.

 


 
3. Mirror, mirror on the wall. Who’s the fairest one of all? Your room, that’s who. Use mirrors liberally to make your area look bigger, lighter, brighter, and encourage sunlight to bounce all over the walls. In this small dining area, the mirror even adds color by reflecting the painting that’s hanging in the living area. How’s that for working double duty?
 
4. Don’t forget the details. Set the table. It’s easy to do and makes a big impact. Buyers walk in and instantly feel welcome, like as if they’re coming over for dinner. Light clean- or non-scented candles, place plush towels and fancy soap in the bathrooms, a breakfast tray on the bed, and a pretty book on the coffee table. If all goes as planned, they’ll want to stay over forever.
 

 
5. Play with texture. Wallpaper, pillows, rugs, blankets, baskets, and other tactile accessories can play up texture in a room. It’s an easy way for anyone, even my colorblind husband, to add warmth to a blah room. Try grass cloth wallpaper on plain walls that need a little oomph, such as in this master bedroom, where buyers expect to see a little more luxury and style.
 

 
6. Smart accessories. I cleared this kitchen counter of appliances, spice racks, towels, and cooking utensils and left only a few things: a couple of cookbooks and a shiny tea kettle. Random? Not at all. The gourmet cookbooks give the impression that this kitchen is built for serious cooking. It’s called “branding” — and it’s what advertisers bombard you with every day. You’re advertising your home, so buyers need not know that your cooking skills are actually a fire hazard to your own kitchen. The cookbooks here say culinary creations might have been whipped up here.
 

 
7. Small furniture, big space. It’s the trick of the trade: downsize your furnishings to upsize the room. Here, I got rid of the king-size bed, two nightstands, a dresser, and a bookcase; can you imagine what this room looked like with all that stuff crammed in there? I replaced it with a queen-size bed, a mirror, and two tiny lamps placed on footstools. That’s it. The one thing I regret is not ironing those sheets very well; it would have looked so much neater.
 
8. Create vignettes. Set up little scenes that help buyers visualize their potential life in this home. For the nursery, I wanted the buyer to walk in and say, “How lovely, I could totally see my future baby sitting in that chair nicely reading a book.” Now, if I can just get my own baby to do that….
 

 
9. Don’t forget the outdoor areas. Those spaces add as much interest for the buyer as the interior rooms. For this unsightly roof deck, I added inexpensive bamboo sheeting to the rail, an outdoor rug, small table and bistro chairs, and a few plants. Now the buyers will see this formerly blank space as an additional living area. Bonus.
 

 
10. White is nice. When in doubt, use white in the bathroom. It spells clean, and that’s what buyers want in a bathroom. Plus, it matches the toilet. (Note the absence of bath rugs, toothbrushes, and fuzzy toilet covers).

 

For more tips on organizing or selling your home, check out these other Houzz articles:

Welcome Buyers with Seasonal Decor


When it’s time to sell your home, your agent will likely advise you to get organized and remove excess items around your home. This is a smart tip because when you remove the clutter and personal items it allows buyers to more easily picture how they’d live in the space.

 

That being said, staging your home with some tasteful seasonal decor can be very welcoming, especially during this time of year. A pumpkin on the front porch, bright flowers on the mantle, or a warm blanket on the couch is the perfect way to show how cozy your home is when the weather is chilly.

 

Here are a few pictures from homes on the market to get you inspired:

Welcome Buyers with Seasonal Decor^7 Parliament Place, Dallas

Welcome Buyers with Seasonal Decor^9620 Colquitt Road, Terrell

Welcome Buyers with Seasonal Decor^6012 Winton St., Dallas

Welcome Buyers with Seasonal Decor^1525 Bellnap Drive, Allen

Welcome Buyers with Seasonal Decor^9734 Windledge Drive, Dallas

Welcome Buyers with Seasonal Decor^6855 Gaston Ave., Dallas

Welcome Buyers with Seasonal Decor^2009 Wellinton Drive, Mansfield

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck


If you’re an avid reader of our blog you know that first impressions are of major importance when selling or buying a home. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ways to get the best bang for your buck, whether you’re selling your home now or trying to increase the future value of a home you’ve purchased.

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Landscaping: Create a fresh look with green landscaping, pops of color, and new mulch. Try to add levels of height if you have the space, this gives a very manicured look.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Outdoor Lighting: Go big or go home. Illuminating your house is one of the most inviting things you can do, so install large-scale exterior lights to dress up the front door. Lights should be sized to reflect the scale of the front of your home, not just the space around the door.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Kitchen Cabinets: If you have old cabinetry consider refacing or repainting, a choice that will depend on just how weathered your cabinets are. This update will completely change the look and feel of your kitchen.

 

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Kitchen Appliances: If you’re willing to update your dated, dingy appliances, invest in replacements that match in color. It’s off-putting for a buyer to see a white stove, a black microwave, and a stainless refrigerator all in the same space.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Bathroom: Say goodbye to pink toilets, blue bathtubs, and green tile. The best thing you can do for the value of your home is to bring all the fixtures up to date. Hint: White is almost always a safe bet in the bathroom. It’s easily cleaned and gives the illusion of more space.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Expose Hardwoods: Is there hardwood flooring under your carpet? Pull it up, refinished it, and your realtor will love you forever. Hardwoods sell. And when we say hardwoods, we mean it. Laminate floors aren’t fooling anyone, so don’t spend money just to fake-out buyers.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Clean, Clean, Clean: If it’s dirty, clean it. If it’s broken, fix it. If it’s crammed, box it. Buyers are looking for loose knobs, dirty carpets, and crammed closets, so give them a reason to be pleasantly surprised.

 

Getting the Best Bang for Your Buck

Painting: We’ve already filled you in on the best tips, but let us add some more. If you’re planning to stay in your house, feel free to jazz up the walls with a splash of color, but be mindful that you should bring back the neutrals when it’s time to sell. If you’re going to wallpaper, keep the same tip in mind. While it may seem like a quick fix to you, not much turns a buyer off more than a full on red bedroom or dated floral wallpaper.

 

Home photos via ebby.com & Shoot2Sell: 3515 Hickory Grove Lane, Frisco (Landscaping); 2171 Hogan Drive, Irving (Outdoor Lighting): 5995 Beacon Hill Drive, Frisco (Kitchen Cabinetry); 7017 Yamini Drive, Dallas (Kitchen Appliances); 12744 High Meadow Drive, Dallas (Bathroom); 7731 Rolling Acres Drive, Dallas (Expose Hardwoods); 732 Lexington Ave., Coppell (Clean, Clean, Clean); 509 Prescott Drive, Garland (Painting)

 

 

Get Your Home Market-Ready


We’re always on the hunt for tips and advice to help our buyers, sellers, and future clients. Today, we found a great infographic on Pinterest for current or future sellers. Below is a guide put together by the Real Estate Staging Association that outlines some tips for getting your home ready for the housing market. It includes ideas for organization, repairs, and how to present your home to buyers in the most appealing ways. To see more tips like these, check out our board dedicated to buyers & sellers.

 

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