When homes need an extra boost and sellers need to squeeze every extra penny out of their sale, real estate agents recommend home staging. Homeowners usually understand the need for a clean, well-lit, neutral-themed home that is devoid of clutter and in good repair to put their home on the market.

Staging a home can be done by design professionals or homeowners who take the time and effort to research exactly what staging is and how to do it right. When performed properly, every $100 spent on staging gives a $400 return. Most homeowners spent about $700 on home staging.

Preparing Homes for Staging

More than a third of home sellers use staging as a sales tool. Eighty-one percent of real estate agents report that staging helps buyers visualize a property as their home, even if the décor is not what they would choose. It also encourages potential buyers who begin their search online to attend open houses or book a showing.

In a perfect world, all homes would be completely empty before they are listed for sale. While this is not the reality for most homeowners, it is easiest to prepare a home for the market when it is empty and very clean. Then, say experts, homes can be staged to maximize profits.

  • Put all unnecessary items in storage.
  • Homes should be devoid of personal items, or at least look that way on the surface. Put everything needed for daily life away in cupboards.
  • Deeply clean the home and repaint it using a neutral color scheme.
  • Get rid of any items that show an eclectic sense of personal style.
  • Replace any old carpets and refinish any flooring that needs attention.
  • Replace old, out of date light fixtures, and update knobs and related hardware and electric outlet plate covers.
  • Any structural or major aesthetic issues should be resolved.

Now, it is time to stage the home.

Curb Appeal

Shoppers want to do a drive by to get a good look at the home before they set up a walk-through.

  • Replace mulch, refresh old flower beds, and fix any built-in flowerbeds that are in poor repair
  • Spray for weeds and trim and edge lawns. Make it look like professionals take care of the yard work.
  • Get rid of any low-hanging tree branches or overgrown shrubbery that conceals the home from the street.
  • The home should look well-maintained, bright, clean and be inviting. Hang a nice wreath or decorative placard on the front door.
  • Remember to put a few potted plants near the front door. If watering live plants is a problem, use silk plants.

Kitchens

In a kitchen, it is very easy to collect clutter. Personal items left on the counter can seem unprofessional and overly familiar, which is exactly what you do not want.

  • Keep coffee makers and stand mixers off work surfaces and out of the house.
  • A small, sleek crock holding matching kitchen utensils next to the stove looks nice and clean and gives a homey touch.
  • Basically, a kitchen should have reminders of what the room is for, but should not look overly “lived in”.

Bedrooms

If homeowners are still living in the home, be sure that every nook and cranny is absolutely spotless.

  • All clothing should be put away and laundry should not be sitting in baskets.
  • The bed should always be made unless someone is sleeping in it.
  • Remove all items of a personal nature that are not absolutely essential.
  • Keep furniture to a minimum.
  • Make sure there is a focal point in the room, like a nice rolled towel animal on the bed.
  • Remember to use accent colors to keep eyes moving and tie the room together.

Bathrooms

Home buyers really appreciate having bathrooms with a lot of storage, a smart, attractive setup, and an easy to clean room.

  • Counters and mirrors should not have water spots.
  • Find a way to show off the bathroom’s linen and toiletry storage.
  • Neutral, functional décor can include a basket on the counter with rolled towels, shelves and towel racks with decoratively folded towels and a bowl of ornate, scented artisan guest soaps near the sink.

Living Rooms

A living room should be ready for a business transaction at any time.

  • Keep pens handy and make sure there is a coffee table.
  • As a rule, a living room should have one main focal point and three accents to help draw the eyes through a line into the next room.
  • There should be movement in the décor, but there should also be harmony.
  • Furniture should match or at least complement each other, and accents should be 90 or 180 degrees from each other on the color wheel.
  • Try to keep the main focal point of the living room visible from all entryways into the room.

Tips to Keep Things Show Ready

Homeowners can use a couple mental tricks to keep themselves up to the task of maintaining their show-ready home. Set daily cleaning reminders on Google calendars and have a clear, concise bi-weekly maintenance schedule tied to an alarm on a smartphone.

Staging and maintaining a home is not an easy task, especially when homeowners still live in the home. Paying a professional stager and cleaning services to maintain the home is advisable for those are too busy to do the job properly. Work with a realtor to ensure your home passes scrutiny under a critical eye. With a four-fold return, staging is worth every penny invested, and every hour spent maintaining the home.

Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give the Rigley Realty Group a call today at 916-396-7487 / 916-397-4787 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.

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