With some unexpected curveballs in life, I’ve had the opportunity to live in (and sell) a variety of homes. It’s tempting to think a home will sell itself, but I’ve learned that with a few key strategies, a well styled home can sell faster and for more money. From a vacation coastal cottage to a million dollar ranch property and an East coast townhome, I’ve styled a wide range of houses! It’s been quite a journey and learning experience. I’m excited to share my home staging tips for selling a house – successfully!
While it’s true that the real estate market has proven to be in the seller’s favor in recent years, I think many sellers rest on that an leave easy money on the table. By styling a home strategically, it’s possible to garner top dollar offers. Here are some of my favorite strategies for staging a home to sell:
1. Delete the extras
Ok, we all know that decluttering and cleaning a home is probably step one of home staging. I recommend taking it to the next level though. Remove anything (and I mean anything) that is unnecessary.
This might mean an extra chair we stuffed into a space for our guests or a side table that we just didn’t know what to do with.
2. Style for the Buyer
Styling for the home buyer means we are showcasing the house – how it functions and what makes it awesome. We are not showcasing our sunflower collection or commitment to farmhouse decor.
This is where we need to set aside our pride and remember we are trying to sell what is likely a huge investment. We are selling the house, not our way of living.
3. Give Spaces a Function
Often, when we live in a space, we adjust to what works for our unique family. We might use a nook as storage space or stuff a chair into a corner (which always gathers clothes).
When staging a home though, we want to think of how that space would best function in general. For example, I took an unused bedroom corner and turned it into a small home office area to show how a space might be used.
4. Make it Neutral
Remember, we’re styling for the buyer here, not for ourselves. I like to keep colors and decor neutral anyway. This doesn’t mean boring or lacking personality but we’re toning down strong colors (which affect a variety of emotions!) and editing out statement decor.
If your kids wanted a bright orange wall (like mine did!), now is the time to paint it. Check out my list of the Best Neutral Paint Colors.
5. It’s Not Personal!
We’ve all heard we need to take down family photos before selling a home. There are many reasons to do so. One, you’ll have people in your home and it’s wise to create some privacy and distance.
Also, from a selling perspective, you want buyers to picture THEMSELVES in your space, not the family that currently lives there.
Simply keep the current frames and replace with abstract wrapping paper or grab some art prints online.
6. Remove Fake Decor
Please. I beg you. Do not let anyone put fake fruit or flowers out for home staging. People are buying a place to live, not a show room.
And unless those fake plants are a next level illusion that look real, I say no to artificial plants as well.
7. Add Some Greenery
We got rid of the fake. Now add some life. I usually buy at least five new, little potted plants before staging a home for photos and selling.
In addition to plants you can use fresh greenery (trader joes and most grocery stores sell fresh green stems). Dried stems also make a place feel livelier and last almost forever – a home staging tip that will get you through photos and showings.
8. Replace Light Bulbs
It’s in the details here right? Well, realtors like to photograph and show a home with the lights on. Keep this in mind and make sure all the lightbulbs match (it always sticks out if one is an old school random bulb and the rest are pretty edison bulbs).
And while you’re at it make sure they are WARM WHITE. For the love, please do not use daylight or cool bulbs – they cast a harsh bluish tone on everything. It feels like a hospital.
9. Spend a Bit of Money
Spend a couple hundred if it earns you thousands. It is absolutely ok (and smart!) to invest a bit of money if it means you’ll likely get more and better offers.
So you’ve got an outdated 1980’s maroon bathroom? No need to remodel the whole room, but buy that can of neutral white paint and knock it out in an afternoon.
Ready to tackle a few small projects? Check out my Easy Home Updates Under $200.
10. Clean and Clean Some More
While this nugget is probably the very first thing you do before selling a home, I’m saving it for the end because it’s also where you up. You will be cleaning as you get ready to sell, before photos, in advance of the open house and then for private showings.
Ask for help, hire a housecleaner, block off time in your day – whatever needs to happen to get all the nooks and crannies clean. I mean, we can’t expect people to lay down good money for dusty fan blades and fur bunnies, can we?
11. Apply the Same Staging Tips to the Exterior
No list of home staging tips would be complete without mentioning the home exterior. I mean, this is your first impression, right? Take all these same tips and apply them outside too!
Need some outdoor inspiration? Check out my Cozy Outdoor Living Space.
In the Portland, Oregon area?
Not in the Portland area? Sad we’re not neighbors, but I’m always happy to answer questions and will soon be offering an online home styling course, so stay tuned for more.