The Five Rules of Home Staging on a Budget

    The Five Rules:

    •  Depersonalize
      • Buyers need to picture themselves in the house– not you. That wedding photo may mean the world to you, but to the buyer it’s a distraction that prevents them from seeing a home for their family.
    • Maximize
      • De-clutter and maximize the space in your home. Closets packed tight with all your clothes make a place look like it lacks closet space. Consider temporarily storing the overflow offsite.
    • Sanitize
      • This golden rule is the easiest and cheapest way to stage your home– just clean it. A sink full of dirty dishes is as unappealing to you as it would be to a buyer. It is well worth the elbow grease in cleaning floors, walls, baseboards, ceiling fans and windows.
    • Modernize
      • Unless your home has exceptional period built-ins, all homes could benefit from some updating. If someone feels the home is dated, they will reflect that feeling in a lower offer.
      • Consider simple simple changes like swapping out gold fixtures for nickel or chrome.
    • Neutralize
      • Color can make or break a buyer’s interest in your home. You may love that shocking red wall, but all potential buyer sees is a great deal of painting in their future because red clashes with their style. Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to change a look of a home.

    Other Useful Tips:

    • Closets
      • Clear closets of unnecessary clutter, and organize to maximize the amount of open storage space you are showing off to potential buyers. Use boxes stacked together to hold and hid the clutter.
      • Use matching hangers for clothes– hangers are inexpensive. So splurging on higher quality hangers to replace free wire hangers from the dry cleaners will modernize your closets with visual impact and a more luxurious feel.
    • Bedrooms
      • A quick and inexpensive way to improve the appeal of your bedroom is to use gender neutral colors when touching up paint jobs and re-accessorizing in order to have the widest possible appeal. Color coordinate where possible; walls, bedspread, curtains, etc. should have a clear theme to their colors if possible.
      • Adding a headboard to the bed provides a visual focal point and add sophistication, without necessarily breaking the bank, Adding a few decorative items creates focal points to the room, especially at eye level on top of dressers.
    • Bathrooms
      • If walls are grimy, spray them using a common spray bottle filled with a mixture of one part bleach and one part water, follow up with a fresh coat of paint.
      • Clear countertops of everything but the essentials (soap dish, hand towel, etc.) to make this space look more open and larger.
      • Putting white bath and hand towels on display can give the bathroom and open, spa-like feel at very little cost.
      • Don’t replace grimy shower doors– scour them with a solution of one part muriatic acid (available at hardware stores) and 10 parts water to make them look like new and save some money.
    • Kitchen
      • Modernize your dated cabinets, they can be touched up for less than $200 with a coat of new wood stain and/or even a good standing coat of paint. Replacing brass or wooden cabinet hardware with brushed silver or stainless steel is an effective way of updating dated cabinets as well.
      • Clean your refrigerator, sink, inside of your oven and de-clutter the kitchen cabinets and drawers, buyers are looking. And yes, they will open your cupboards and drawers and inspect the space.
      • Rugs, such as those people like to put in front of their sink, tend to stop the eye and break up a space; when staging a kitchen, you will make the floor space appear larger by removing rugs.
    • Dining Room
      • Set the table! This creates points of visual interest in a room that can easily be boring after the usual depersonalizing and de-cluttering. Be careful of over staging: you don’t need to set out every piece of china.
      • Create a focal point by adding a vase with fresh flowers to the center of the table and remove any extra leaves from the table to maximize available space.
    • Living Room
      • Lightness is a major source of living room appeal for buyers: make sure the shades are open before potential buyers come though and, where possible, stage the room with light colored furniture to enhance the effect and make the space look larger.
      • In especially large and/or empty living rooms, a strategically place plant can create a focal point that draws the eye.
      • If your living room has hardwood flooring in need of updating, consider replacing only the damaged boards, and updating the rest with a sander and a coat of hardwood stain, rather than pulling up the entire floor.

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