Determining whether or not to stage your home prior to putting it on the market can be quite a financial quandary. The costs associated with staging a home can range from $500 for an average-sized house to well into the thousands for larger homes. Is it worth the extra expense?
The short answer is…absolutely! According to HomeGain’s 2011 Home Sale Maximizer survey, which consisted of 600 real estate agents from across the country, 80-percent recommend that homeowners invest in home staging prior to selling. The return on investment (ROI) is nearly 300-percent, according to the survey.
Homes seem to not only sell for more when staged but also sell more quickly. StagedHomes.com, Accredited Staging Professionals (ASP), states that on average 94-percent of staged homes sell within 29 days of hitting the market compared to 145 days for non-staged homes.
Clearly, staging your home should be a strongly considered as a powerful tool to increase the value of your home and sell it faster.
Preliminary Steps: Cleaning and Decluttering
Staging a home simply involves, cleaning, decluttering, rearranging and bringing in furniture to optimize a space. You can do much of this work yourself, which helps save on the cost of staging. The aforementioned HomeGain survey showed a staggering 99-percent of real estate agents recommend cleaning/decluttering prior to selling a home. It offers a 586-percent ROI.
Start by decluttering the house. In many cases, you may need to rent a dumpster or hire a junk removal service to clear out unused clutter. On average, dumpster rental prices range from $125 to $250 or more for a small 10-yard dumpster depending upon where you live and the exact size of the dumpster. Other options include selling household goods online (i.e., eBay or Craigslist), hosting a garage sale, donating goods (i.e., Goodwill or Salvation Army) or recycling.
Once the house is as decluttered as possible (less is more in this case), it’s time to clean the house like never before. Start by cleaning all of the walls, windows, trim, doors, cupboards, bathroom surfaces, carpets and hardwood/tile flooring. Next, address some of the more inconspicuous and hidden areas, like atop the fridge, lighting fixtures, slider door tracks and grout. Dirt, dust and other gunk accumulate in these areas, and believe me; potential buyers will find it and be turned off by it!
There are two ways to go about staging your home once you have it decluttered and cleaned to a shine. If you have a good design sense, you can try tackling it yourself. If design isn’t your cup-of-tea, hire an accredited home staging professional to do it for you. Your real estate agent can recommend a credible staging expert.
Important Home Staging Tips
Keep these simple, yet effective, tips in mind when staging the home yourself:
A fresh coat of paint does wonders for a house. It gives a fresh, clean appearance – sort of like “the new car smell” everyone likes. It also helps eliminate odors associated with pets and cigarette smoke. The sense of smell plays a major role in whether or not a potential buyer puts in an offer. After all, would you purchase a home that smelled like cats or an old, dingy bar?…Probably not.
The key is to choose neutral colors that appeal to the widest audience, such as beiges, grays, and creams.
Lighting is extremely important, and it’s an inexpensive way to boost your home’s value. Replace any burned out bulbs – preferably with energy-efficient choices – and add lighting fixtures in areas of the home having poor natural or artificial lighting. Always turn on all the lights and open all the drapes during an open house or private showing.
Each room in a house has a purpose. Stage each room according to its intended purpose. Just because you may be using the dining room as a home office doesn’t mean potential buyers will. Potential buyers prefer to see the house laid out as it was intended to look like (i.e., dining room table and chairs in the dining room).
Over-accessorizing can be a deal breaker, but just the right number of accessories can really boost the appeal of a home. When accessorizing, the general rule is to stick to odd numbers (i.e., one, three, five, etc-). For instance, place three pillows on the sofa. Vary the sizes and shapes of the accessories to further boost the visual appeal.
If your design sense is non-existent, hire someone that knows what they’re doing because accessorizing can truly make or break a sale.
The cornerstone of any good home staging is in the furniture. This is where an accredited staging professional can really help, but you can also save a few bucks and do it yourself. Avoid cramming too much furniture into a room. It’s important to form natural looking aisles for walking; it’s a way to promote a smooth flow from room to room.
Repurpose furniture in cases where you can create a nice sitting area in a corner of a room that looks empty. For example, move a chair and end table to an unused corner of the living room to create a reading nook.
Keep furniture away from the walls. While you may think cramming furniture against the walls helps open up the space, this isn’t always the case. According to HGTV, floating furniture away from the walls gives the space a more open feeling.
Joe Eitel is a web content writer for Hometown Dumpster Rental, the leading online resource for finding local dumpster rental and junk removal service providers nationwide. He also blogs at the Hometown blog, Trash Talk – News from the Dumpster.