21 Effective Home-Staging Secrets

When real estate agents talk about staging your home, they’re referring to decorating in a way that is designed to showcase the home’s best assets, impress buyers and sell it quickly for the highest possible price. Because not all sellers stage their homes – especially in the lower price ranges – you’ll be at an advantage if you do. And whether your goal is to sell or you would simply like some budget-friendly pointers on updating your decor, these tips will be sure to work.

  • Grimy bathroom walls are a major red flag to buyers. Here is an easy way to get rid of surface mold: Mix a spray bottle with one part water and one part bleach. Just spray it on the wall, and watch the mold disappear. Give it a fresh coat of paint, and your bathroom will look like new.
  • Don’t replace a yucky shower door: Just scour it. A grimy glass shower door can really wash out your sale. Instead of replacing it, clean it with a mixture of one part muriatic acid and about 10 parts water. Scrub with steel wool. After wiping it down, reinstall the door and you’ll have a shower that’ll help you clean up at the open house.
  • Avoid dated tile by painting. Bathrooms sell houses, but dated tile in a bathroom doesn’t. A low-cost alternative to replacing the tile is to use paint. First coat the tiles with a high-adhesion primer. Next, brush on a special ceramic epoxy covering. For a fraction of the cost of new tile, you will have an up-to-date bathroom that brings in big bucks.
  • Pedestal sinks are a big hit with buyers. They show off square footage in small bathrooms beautifully. First, your old vanity has to go. Next, just hook up your new sink, and your bathroom will have new dramatic appeal. Plus, buyers will see how much floor space your bathroom really has.
  • A master bedroom should appeal to both sexes. When you are selling, your master bedroom should appeal to buyers of both sexes. Get rid of features that seem too gender-specific. Paint the walls a neutral colour, and choose bedding that matches. Then accessorize with items that complement the overall colour scheme.
  • Do you have an overpowering brick fireplace that sticks out like a sore thumb? Here’s an easy way to tone it down with paint. Use a rag or brush to rub a light coat of paint on the bricks, one at a time. This will give them a new tone without covering them completely. If you use a paint colour that matches the walls, your fireplace will go from sticking out to standing out.
  • Updating an old fireplace screen is a cheap (and quick) fix. After removing the screen and wiping it down to get rid of the dust, mask off the windows so you won’t get paint on them. Then, using a can of heat-resistant spray paint, give the screen a facelift. Hold the can about 18 inches away, and use long, even strokes. For less than $5, you will have a fireplace screen that’ll keep your sale from going up in smoke.
  • Stain dated kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. Dated kitchen cabinets can be a big turnoff to potential buyers. Instead of paying big bucks to replace them, just stain them. First, apply the stain in even strokes, going with the grain of the wood. Add some stylish hardware, and your kitchen will have the up-to-date look that buyers love, for less than $200.
  • Fill existing hardware holes instead of making new, unsightly ones. Removing old kitchen hardware can leave your cabinets with stripped-out holes. Here is a trick to reusing the existing ones. First, dip a toothpick in glue and place it in the stripped hole. Cut off the excess piece. Once the glue dries, you’ll be ready to put in the hardware that buyers love.
  • Stainless-steel appliances are definitely in with buyers. Instead of buying a new dishwasher, remove the front panels, and clean them. Next, apply a stainless-steel stick-on covering, and cut it to size. For just $20 your dishwasher will go from outdated to ultra-modern.
  • Adding drama to old hardwood flooring is easier than you might think. First, isolate damaged boards, cut them out and replace them with new pieces. Rent a sander from a local hardware store, and give the floor a good sanding. The last step is to stain the boards with a rich colour, and watch your floor go from drab to dramatic in no time.
  • Buyers love built-in bookshelves but here’s a fine line between filling them with clutter and staging them to sell. The trick is to arrange neutral items in clusters. Make sure that no single accessory stands out too much. That way, you’ll show off your attractive built-ins, and not your personal belongings.
  • Curb appeal is vital to attracting buyers. Here is how to stop traffic using colour. First, with two tones of paint, add a faux finish to any corner keystones. Next, bring out the colour of walkway pavers using a stone sealer. Plant flowers in bloom, and you’ll have buyers swarming like bees to your front door.
  • A nice outdoor deck can be a big selling feature, but an old one is a major liability. To give your outdoor space new life, first sand the wood. Cover it with a light-coloured stain instead of paint to give it a rustic, grainy look. Furnish it for entertaining, and see buyers’ eyes light up at your open house.
  • Staging rooms to show off their true potential is essential when selling your home. Clear out clutter or other personal items that will distract buyers. Paint the walls a neutral tone, and furnish the space to show off how functional it is.
  • Give yourself permission to move furniture, artwork and accessories among rooms on a whim. Just because you bought that armchair for the living room doesn’t mean it won’t look great anchoring a sitting area in your bedroom. Try perching a little-used dining-room table in front of a pretty window, top it with buffet lamps and other accessories, and press it into service as a beautiful writing desk or library table.
  • Stage rooms with one purpose so buyers will know what it is. If you have a finished attic, make it an office. A finished basement can become an entertainment room, and a junk room can be transformed into a guest bedroom. Even if the buyer won’t want to use the room for the same purpose, the important thing is for them to see that every inch of the home is usable space. This includes alcoves, window seats, corners, breakfast nooks and so on.
  • Let the sun shine in. Buyers love light and airy living rooms. Open up your window shades to let some light in. Cheat some sunshine with a light-coloured paint and lots of artificial lighting. You can never have too many lamps. Last, arrange the space with lightly coloured furniture, and you’ll have a living room that brightens your chances of a sale.
  • Unpleasant pet odours won’t win over buyers. We all love our pets, but unpleasant odours are guaranteed to make a negative first impression. Be sure to get rid of carpets that can trap offensive smells. Replace it with fresh new carpet in a neutral colour. Plus, if you paint the walls to match, your living room will look bigger.
  • Storage space sells! Potential buyers love homes that have lots of storage space. Since they will open your closets, it’s a good idea to clear out unnecessary clutter and organize your shelves to show off how much storage you really have. Plus, this gives you a chance to start the packing process.
  • Final touches. Just before any open house or showing, make sure that your staging efforts go the distance with a few last-minute touches that will make the home seem warm and inviting. These include fresh flowers, letting fresh air into the house for at least ten minutes beforehand, adding a pleasant scent and putting new, plush, nicely folded towels in the bathrooms.

Even if you have plenty of cash, don’t put too much money into the staging process. You want to emphasize the home’s best features, but keep in mind that what sells the home and what will make the home usable for the buyer are not necessarily the same thing. Overall, to get the most bang for your buck, your home staging efforts should be designed to appeal to the widest possible range of buyers. The more people willing to submit purchase offers for your home, the higher the selling price will be.