When you’re in the process of buying a home, lenders and realtors give you strategies, throughout the process, to influence an outcome. For instance, a realtor might advise you on the amount of initial earnest money you should put down to signal to the seller that you’re serious about buying.
Lenders, on the other hand, might present you with different loan options to secure you the best rate. Strategies abound for the hopeful home buyer, but sellers have strategies at their disposal as well.
One such strategy is staging. Home staging is a selling method meant to highlight the best features of a home to appeal to prospective buyers. It can really help a home stand out in person and online in a saturated market, and there are some basic guidelines sellers can follow to stage their home and effectively prepare for an open house.
What is Staging?
According to Homelight, 90% of buyers are looking for a move-in-ready home. This means buyers are more attuned to small details in a prospective home and likely to pass up putting an offer on a place they feel requires too much work.
When sellers take time to do staging, whether that means rearranging furniture, picking lighting, or inspecting the finer points of their home, they give themselves an opportunity to address all of these small issues that might deter a buyer.
How to Stage a House for Sale
If feng shui just isn’t your thing and you still aren’t sure how to stage your house for sale, there are some rules of thumb you can follow that will go a long way. Then, once you arrange your home to appeal to buyers, the next step is to prepare for the open house.
How to Stage a Home
- Define rooms
- Create a color palette
- Pay attention to lighting
- Freshen & clean
- Artifical scents
- Pick the right day & time
First, Define Your Rooms
Open concept floor plans are all the rage right now, but humans are also very sensitive to clutter and busyness. If you’re preparing to stage your home and post pictures to create a listing, consider putting down rugs or strategically placing seating to create visual interest and neaten your home.
Anchor a dining room table with a bold area rug, or place a coffee table between your couch and an accent chair to tie your seating together. This will also help define traffic patterns for buyers as they walk through your open house.
Create a Color Palette
Homebuyers are incredibly sensitive to clutter and that goes beyond bookcases, tabletops, and walls. A home with too many colors and design concepts can give the illusion of clutter. So, a good open house staging tip is to downplay the amount of color in your home. Stick to neutrals, add a couple of accent pillows and a touch of colorful art and buyers will be able to focus on the merits of your home as a whole.
Pay Attention to Lighting
Lighting is one of those details that often gets overlooked but it can be a game-changer when preparing to sell a home. Why? Creating the best lighting for your space will play up architectural features and paint colors while also downplaying imperfections.
Pay attention to the way specific rooms are lit. For instance, bathrooms should be lit with soft white lights in the 3000k to 4000k range. Kitchens, on the other hand, can vary. Bright lights at 4000k are best for prepping food, but warm, yellowish light, closer to 2700k, is better for creating atmosphere.
If you’re getting ready to take pictures of your home for sale or schedule your open house, it’s very important to declutter but, more specifically, it’s important to depersonalize. Remove family pictures, kids’ artwork, and other personal items before buyers see your home.
Preparing for Your Open House
Freshen & Clean
One of the most important components of a successful open house is to create a clean space. We’ve talked extensively about the best way to clean appliances and how to clean as you go but preparing for an open house requires a deep clean and organization of your items.
According to home staging expert, Bobbi McGrath, “Odor is one of the biggest obstacles when selling a previously lived-in house, and Fresh Wave has proven to be highly effective at removing smells.” As you clean around the house, make sure to deodorize and fight potential odor. You can discreetly place Fresh Wave odor-absorbing candles around various rooms to eliminate the slightest odor. The proprietary formula of plant essential oils works hard to take odor-causing molecules out of the air and eliminate smells without creating artificial fragrances. You can also use Fresh Wave spray in closets and odor eliminating vacuum beads will help deodorize any scents in carpets, rugs, and upholstery from pets, kids, and day-to-day use. Clean homes have a much better chance of selling quickly, but it’s important to avoid our next open house staging tip on the list as it can actually deter home buyers, contrary to popular belief.
Avoid Artificial Scents
On any given day, we all want our homes to smell like things we love. Whether that’s baked goods, fresh linens, or flowers, smell is a memory-triggering scent and a seller’s inclination to recreate those scents for their open house makes sense. However, more and more buyers tend to stay away from sellers that try this sentimental device.
If you’re prepping your home for an open house, avoid filling your home with sweet scents like vanilla or sugar cookies. Instead, try fresh scents like linens, lemons, eucalyptus, or a fresh essence like Fresh Wave’s fine mist spray. If you choose to go the fresh route, avoid plug-ins and air fresheners. Opt for a few sprigs of eucalyptus in a vase, essential oils, and open a window to let in a fresh breeze.
Pick the Right Day and Time
Like any market, the housing market has seasons. Spring and summer tend to be the most popular time of year to sell a home with the first two weeks of May being the best time of year to sell. So it should come as no surprise that real estate experts recommend scheduling your open house for a Saturday or Sunday in April or May to take advantage of the beginning of the selling season.
One of the most common open house staging tips is to declutter. Home staging and real estate experts recommend getting rid of half of your items prior to listing and showing your home. But before you run out and sell everything or donate it, don’t worry, you can rent a storage facility and put your items there until you’re ready to move. A little bit of staging goes a long way — especially in a competitive market. And for more cleaning and freshening tips, make sure to check back with Fresh Wave so you can try it out in your home.