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Guest Blogger: 5 Low-Cost Staging Secrets to Sell Your Home

Guest Blogger #446, Entry #1065, April 3, 2012

Are your furnishings sabotaging your home-selling efforts? Before lowering the price of your home, you should evaluate whether improper (or no) staging could be turning prospective buyers off. In a 2010 study by the Real Estate Staging Association, homes that were staged spent an average of 67% less time on the market than unstaged homes. Whether your home is vacant and decorated with little more than a “for sale” sign or is occupied, try these 5 staging secrets for an edge over the competition:

staged living room

Stage your home with inspiring color

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1. Get Inspired

While hiring a professional has generally proven to have a good return on investment (586% according to one report by HomeGain), cash-strapped sellers may not be able to make that initial investment. To get educated and inspired for ways to stage a home yourself, visit other staged homes during open houses (often higher-priced homes will have professional staging) or even furniture stores for ideas on room arrangement and modern decorating. Actually visiting the space will give you a better sense of the impact good staging has, but articles and photographs can provide helpful insight as well.

2. Make It Their Home By Clearing Personal Clutter

Homebuyers have a hard time envisioning the potential of a space, and it gets even more difficult when the home has overwhelming evidence of other inhabitants. If you only do one thing while preparing your home, get rid of any clutter or personal artifacts. That means family photographs and sentimental knickknacks in living spaces, appliances on kitchen countertops, and bathroom toiletries, for a start. Don’t forget about closets and garages, where extra space is a big selling point. By creating a more “generic” environment, buyers can better visualize the home’s potential for their own use.

staged bathroom

Don't forget the bathroom when staging!

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3. Bathroom Upgrade on a Budget

You don’t have to break the bank to give your bathroom new life. Rather than replacing those outdated-looking tiles, consider having them professionally painted, which can be more cost-efficient than a total redo. Dull and grimy faucets and other fixtures instantly grab attention, so be sure to give these a thorough cleaning and polishing. If they are decades old, consider upgrading them to sleek, modern fixtures — many are less than $100. Make small bathrooms appear larger by replacing a bulky vanity with a classy pedestal sink (these can be purchased for under $200). If storage is an issue, consider an over-the-toilet cabinet to nip those concerns in the bud.

4. Set the Mood with Light and Texture

Give instant warmth and appeal using visual elements like light, fabrics, and color. Make living spaces feel more inviting and warm with lamps, which can be found in garage sales and upgraded inexpensively with modern lampshades. Since color can be overwhelming, it’s best to paint the walls in warm, neutral tones and add pops of color with subtle decorative elements. Throw pillows and window treatments provide a great medium for adding color, while providing a visually soft and homey texture. For contrast, add flower arrangements, wooden bowls, and other classy decorative elements that will heighten your home’s visual appeal.

staged living room2

Bring in natural light and cheerful colors

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5. Smell Sells

It’s a well-known fact that smell evokes strong emotional reactions and is tied to memories. Smells of mildew, smoke, animals, or even bleach could put your visitors in a negative mood the moment they walk in the door, putting your home at an immediate disadvantage. Conversely, smells of fresh baked cookies or bread can have strong positive influence on visitors. To give your home the best scent edge, tackle any issues that could be causing odor — dirty carpet that needs to be shampooed, pets that need to stay with a friend for awhile…you get the idea. Then, keep a stock of “comfort treats” — rolls, cookies, etc. — in the freezer so you can pop them in with little notice or cleanup. Alternatively, you can use candles or oils to scent your home, just keep it light and general (like vanilla)to avoid overwhelming potential buyers.

After only two years as a realtor at Smith Mountain Lake, Paul Moore achieved the Diamond Award, the highest sales level for a Roanoke Valley/Smith Mountain Lake VA realty agent. Through applying principles of direct response marketing and Internet technology, his Smith Mountain Homes Team has sold tens of millions of dollars of SML real estate and has continued to expand during a generally contracting market of the past several years.

For more home staging tips on Stagetecture, click here.

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