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Tips on how to stage your own home to sell it

Who doesn’t want their property to sell at a good price? And for that to happen, one important step before putting it up on the market is to stage it nicely.

According to a 2019 report by the American trade association National Association of Realtors (NAR), 25 percent of buyers’ agents and 22 percent of sellers’ agents agreed that the offer price of a home increases by 1-5 percent after staging as compared to the un-staged houses. Simply put, staging is sprucing up the appearance of your home and highlighting its best features. Think of a facelift or giving a product an attractive packaging before it is put on sale. So, if you are looking to put your house up for sale, here are some tips on how you can stage it effectively on your own.

De-clutter, or remove unnecessary items

Stage your own home
Make your house look attractive as a first step. (Image credit: Sidekix Media/@sidekix/Unsplash)

This is the first step to making your house look attractive enough for potential buyers. It is best to remove the personal stuff that will not interest people looking to buy your property and keep only those items that are essential for the aesthetics. Call in the movers if you need help. Additionally, de-cluttering your home helps in organising things in a much better way while also creating more space. Even when de-cluttering, take care to focus on the best rooms of the house. It’s fairly easy. If your house is located next to the shore and there is a room with floor-to-ceiling windows offering great views of the sea then you should especially spruce up this room as it has the most potential to influence buyers’ decision.

De-personalise the rooms

Stage your own home
Remove everything that connects any of the rooms to you personally. (Image credit: Alice Kuchina/@alice_instalook/Unsplash)

Your home is yours, of course, but when you are putting it up on the market you have to consider the next owner’s point of view. This essentially means that you should remove your personal belongings, such as photos or anything that is intimately connected to your identity and image. This also includes religious items as well as possessions that only you and members of your family are proud of.

Repair everything that is broken or in bad condition

Repair house
Anything that needs repairing must be repaired before showing the house to buyers. (Image credit: Ksenia Chernaya/@kseniachernaya/Pexels)

Every single thing — from doorknobs to switches and taps to hinges — should be in perfect condition. Buyers do take note of these, however minor they may appear. Think of your house as a car. Would you buy a faulty car? No, right? The same applies to your house. Don’t expect anyone to buy your property if it has broken windows, doors that make creaking sound, taps that leak, cracks in the walls, wooden panels on the floor are coming off, plaster is hanging from the ceiling, or any other thing not in proper condition. Check for all the problems and get them repaired before the showing of your house. Do note that if your building has foundation problems, you should get the building inspected by designated officials under your country’s law before selling it.

Repaint with neutral shades

Soft colour of rooms
Neutral shades give the rooms a sophisticated charm. (Image credit: Blake Carpenter/@blakepnw/Unsplash)

Now, this is a very important home staging tip. One of the most attractive things about any house is the paintwork. While the exterior makes the first impression, the interior is no less important. The colours of the walls, especially the rooms, should neither be too bright nor white. If the colour of the wall of your favourite room reminds you of your favourite nightclub, it is time to get it repainted. Remember the “de-personalise” thing we discussed above? This, too, is something like that. Soft grey, oatmeal or mocha are the colours that you should go for.

Rearrange the furniture

Stage your own home
Furniture should be rearranged to increase both space and intimacy. (Image credit: Naomi Hébert/@naomish/Unsplash)

There should be enough furniture to give the impression of a proper home but not too many to make it look cluttered. Spacing is important for the prospective buyer to properly examine the inside of the house and visualise themselves living there. So once you have taken out what is not required, rearrange what is left. Place the sofas and the chairs away from the walls to make the room appear more spacious and inviting. Take note of the visual appeal.

Simplicity doesn’t mean boring; mix and match the colours of the furniture against the colour of the walls. Experiment with contrasting styles of your furniture to see if they enhance the feel of the room. See if the cabinets in your kitchen can be given a better colour. Don’t place large-size furniture in small rooms as it would make the room look smaller. Similarly, don’t place small furniture in big rooms as it would make the room appear empty. Each piece of furniture should be in perfect colour and condition.

Clean like you have never done before

Stage your own home
Cleanliness should be such that not even a strand of hair is there in the bathroom. (Image credit: Christian Mackie/@mackiec/Unsplash)

Once you have done everything above, it is time for a thorough cleaning. If you clean your room before de-cluttering, repair and repainting, chances are that some kind of visible mark would be left behind and you will have to get back to deep cleaning. So the best way to avoid double-work is to clean after you are done with all necessary renovations and adjustments. Make sure to cover everything from floors, ceilings, walls to cabinets, furniture, curtains, doors, windows, glass, kitchen utensils, rugs and covers.

Preserve and present every part of your house according to its character

Can chairs on terrace
Place cane chairs at the terrace with the best view of the surroundings. (Image credit: Francesca Tosolini/@fromitaly/Unsplash)

Every room in your house should have a definition of its own. The master bedroom, for instance, should look like it and not a child’s room. Conversely, the kitchen should not look like a storeroom. Part of this is achieved by de-cluttering, retouching and cleaning. But a lot depends on how you present every room. Try to give the master bedroom a gender-neutral appeal using the right kind of design for the bed and the colour of the linen. Enhance the appeal of the living room with artworks. Don’t assume that the children’s room should look messy or should have toys.

If you have a storeroom, don’t fill it up with your discarded items. Instead, think of making it look useful — like a reading room or even a smaller kid’s room. Even a small room beneath a staircase can be made to appear like a private workstation. Place welcoming mats at the entrance and, if there is space, cane chairs at the terrace with the best view of the surroundings. Similarly, the garage should not look like a box of discarded hardware; it should be worthy of housing.

Manage the lighting

Lighting the indoors
Make way for enough natural light into your rooms. (Image credit: deborah cortelazzi/@deborah_cortelazzi/Unsplash)

Light, perhaps, plays a very important role in staging your house for sale. Buyers are always interested in houses that receive abundant natural light. So, increase the appeal of your house by letting in as much light as possible. Remove the blinds or use sheer blinds strategically so that the rooms can be bathed in the daylight. At the same time, turn on all the artificial lights (tubes, LEDs, etc.) to increase the amount of light in every room. The more the light, the better a cleaned-up home appears. Also, you should not inconvenience the buyers by making them find out the switches.

Introduce fresh plants, flowers and scents

Stage your own home
Flowers are important for they look and smell good. (Image credit: Sofy M. | halftoneco/@halftonecompany/Unsplash)

If you own pets, make sure that there is no sign of their presence when a prospective buyer comes. Pets have a special place in our lives but not everyone is fond of them. It’s best if you leave the pet somewhere else during the showing of the house.

Every liveable room in your house should look naturally refreshing and smell good. So get plants, scented candles and flowers. Burning cinnamon or sandalwood incense sticks as well as the aroma of brewing coffee also give a refreshing feel. Sprays should ideally be avoided but if you still want to use them, opt for eco-friendly room fresheners. Take note of where to place the flowers. Will they look good at the window sill or in a vase at a corner of the living room? Think about these details. But don’t overdo it. The kitchen should smell like heaven, too. Use a lemon to wipe the kitchen sink to remove sink odours. And, obviously, dispose of the garbage before the buyers arrive.

Make best use of the surroundings

American wooden house
Part of staging depends on where your house is located. (Image credit: todd kent/@churchoftodd/Unsplash)

Depending on where your house is located — next to a beach or on a hill or in the middle of a megacity or the countryside, you can always make your house and the exteriors match the surroundings. Take the help of a friend or an architectural designer to enhance the exterior of your home, be it in a forest or at the seaside. If you have a spacious lawn with trees, hang a hammock or a bench swing to increase the luxury factor of your house. Use flowers and plants that grow in the geography where your house is to in your garden and decorations of the portico or front porch. If you live in a duplex or penthouse in the heart of a city, transform your terrace into a garden with the most aromatic plants and flowers.

(Main and featured images: @Alexander Schimmeck/Unsplash)

Manas Sen Gupta
Manas enjoys reading detective fiction and writing about anything that interests him. When not doing either of the two, he checks Instagram for the latest posts by travellers. Winter is his favourite season and he can happily eat a bowl of noodles any time of the day.
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