Clever Home-Staging Hacks for an Open House

How to make a great first impression and sell your home quickly and for a good price!

If you want to sell your home quickly and for a good price, you need to make a great first impression on potential buyers. One of the best ways to do that is by staging your home for an open house or for anytime a potential buyer comes to check it out.

You can find basic tips for staging your home for a quicker sale in lots of articles online. Some are essential no-brainers, and some are expensive and best done by a professional. Your real estate agent will have some ideas that apply to your location, your home’s strengths and weaknesses and your time frame. But in this article, we’re sharing some clever and quick home-staging hacks that you won’t find everywhere.

A potential buyer sees the outside of your home first. It’s obvious that upkeep of your yard is important and some updated landscaping can make a difference. But you could make an extra splash with these quick and inexpensive additions:

  • Paint your front door and garage door a bright, complementary color to the siding of your house.
  • Make sure your windows are sparkling clean outside and inside. A professional window washer can get rid of those hard-to-remove water stains.
  • Update your house numbers and your mailbox.
  • Buy a new welcome mat.
  • Arrange accessories in odd numbers. Professional stagers and designers swear by arranging throw pillows, chairs, artwork and other accessories in groups of threes, fives, and sevens. This gives more visual interest than symmetrical placements.
  • Set the table. Make your home look like you’re ready to entertain guests with themed place settings.
  • Define each room’s purpose. Help buyers see how to maximize the home’s square footage. For example, make one room a home office, one an entertainment center, and one a guest bedroom. It’s important that the buyer feels like every inch of the home is useable space.
  • Lots of decorative pillows on your bed can add luxury to the bedroom.
  • Add accessories like fresh towels, candles, soap dispensers, or plants to your bathroom.

The arrangement of your furniture shouldn’t block entryways or the ability to walk easily within a room or from room-to-room. If visitors must squeeze through tight spaces, they might assume your home has a layout that won’t work with their own furniture. Follow these general rules for rearranging your furniture:

  • Place seating 30 to 36 inches apart.
  • Face furniture toward the room’s focal point, like the television or fireplace, or make a face-to-face arrangement no more than 8 feet apart.
  • Move furnishings away from the walls. Create a cohesive  arrangement around an area rug.

It’s not just furniture placement that can ruin the flow of a room. Rugs can do it too, especially in the bathroom. Area rugs are a must on cold bathroom floors when you’re living in a house. But when you’re selling, they break up the floor space, making your bathrooms seem smaller. Putting them away opens up a small room, making it appear larger than it actually is.

Every home has something unique or special that sets it apart from others. It might be a fireplace, a bay window, a built-in bookcase, or a hardwood floor.  Highlight these features with furniture placement, lighting, color, or accessories. For example, if you have a fireplace in your living room, arrange your sofa and chairs around it to create a focal point. If you have a bay window in your bedroom, add some curtains and pillows to make it look cozy and inviting.

Staging is also about how your home feels, smells, sounds, and even tastes. Create a sensory experience for buyers that makes them feel comfortable and at home in your space. Use these quick tips:

  • Adjust the temperature and lighting of your home to make it warm and bright.
  • Add a homey scent by baking cookies. Keep a roll of store-bought dough in the fridge and just bake one cookie before each time someone comes.
  • Light some candles with a pleasant scent.
  • Use a diffuser with a subtle fragrance.
  • Play some soft music in the background to create a relaxing feel.
  • Have just a few live potted plants to make your home feel fresh.
  • Offer some refreshments like water, coffee, tea, or snacks to make buyers feel welcome.

Allow extra time if you have kids: We all know that kids can mess up a perfectly clean room in a matter of minutes. If you have small children at home, make sure your real estate agent agrees to give you at least two hours’ notice before a showing so you can tidy up and get out the door.

Get someone to watch your pets: Your dog might give potential buyers a warm welcome, but not everyone wants to be greeted by your pet when touring your home. Plan for someone to watch your pets, or have a bag with all their supplies and take them away with you before every showing.

To save you a little searching time, here are the basics that you should always consider:

  • Maximize curb appeal.
  • As needed, repaint with neutrals to refresh rooms and tone down bright walls.
  • Hide worn out or distracting furniture with slipcovers.
  • Declutter your home by getting rid of any excess or unnecessary furniture, accessories, or belongings that might make your home—including the closets—look cramped or messy.
  • Make your home as clean as possible. Remove any dirt, dust, stains and odors that might turn off buyers.
  • Depersonalize your home by removing any photos, collections, or personal touches that might make buyers feel like they are intruding on someone else’s space. Prospective buyers should be able to imagine themselves living in your home.
  • Make sure kitchens and bathrooms look clean, modern, and functional.
  • Hang sheer white curtains or no curtains at all allow in as much natural light as possible.

More than 80% of real estate agents representing buyers said staging made it easier for their buyers to see themselves in the home, according to a 2021 survey by the NAR. And 23% of agents said that home staging led to increased offers between 1% and 5% compared to similar homes that weren’t staged.

If your home has been sitting on the market for a while and you’ve been considering cutting the price to help move it, you might want to try staging it instead. Staging not only tends to help move properties faster, but you could also end up selling for higher than expected.

If you decide to go through a home staging company, your real estate agent may be able to offer a recommendation or a list of referrals to you.

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