How to Stage Your Home to Sell: at any Budget

When selling a home, the to-do list can appear to be endless. Add that to the stress of relocating, whether near or far, and the thought of including one more thing to the list can be daunting. A question that often comes up for sellers is:

Do I really need to stage my home?

If you want the best results, staging is important.

Seventy-seven percent of buyers’ agents believe staging a house makes it easier for a buyer to envision it as a future home, according to a 2017 National Association of Realtors (NAR) Home Staging Profile.

Staging a home is simply getting it ready for potential buyers. It will feel more like a show than the lived-in home you are used to – and it’s supposed to. Whether it is through listing photos, an open house, or a private showing, people want to envision themselves in your space. Staging has little to do with you, and everything to do with those looking to buy a home.

This does not mean you have to go out and buy all new furniture, but you will need to spend some time and energy (and maybe a bit of cash) to create a fresh and clean space. Here’s our complete guide to staging your home to sell at any budget:

Step 1. Clean, clean, clean. Clean to make it appear like no one lives there. Every corner, ceiling, and storage space should be paid attention to. This is the most important step in staging, so take your time to do a thorough job.

  • $: Dive in and clean yourself, enlisting friends and family to help.
  • $$: Hire a cleaning service for a one-time deep clean, then continue with the upkeep yourself.
  • $$$: Hire a cleaning service to do it all, from deep clean to weekly upkeep.

Step 2. Depersonalize and declutter. Get rid of everything other than essential furniture and day-to-day items you need while you continue to live there. Clear out cabinets, closets, and storage spaces as much as possible, as potential buyers will be looking in those places.

  • $: Sell or donate all items you are getting rid of.
  • $$-$$$: Rent storage space for all unneeded items until moving day.

Step 3. Make updates. Depending on the state of your home, this can entail many different tasks. Talk with your real estate agent to help determine what updates will make the biggest impact on your home sale.

  • $: Touch up paint, trim, and light fixtures.
  • $$: Paint all rooms in the home, sticking to neutral colors.
  • $$$: Update appliances and countertops in kitchen and bathrooms.
  • $$$$: Hire a contractor to remodel a problem area in your home. This may include taking a wall down to create an open floor plan, adding a master bath, or remodeling the kitchen layout.

Step 4. Stage the rooms. The 2017 NAR Home Staging Profile found the most important rooms to stage are the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen.

  • $: DIY staging. Do some research and pair that with your own interior decorating skills to stage rooms. Start here with Zillow’s 11 best staging ideas.
  • $$: Hire a home stager for consultation. The home stager will come in after you clean and declutter to discuss what you can do with existing furniture and decor.
  • $$$ – $$$$: Full service home staging. With this option, the home stager will take care of everything, from rearranging furniture to shopping for items that fit the space.

Staging a home can help sell a home faster, bring in multiple offers, and sell for a higher price, compared to homes that are not staged. We know getting the most for your home is important, so decide what type of budget you have, and use your energy to stage to sell.  

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