Posting season is upon us! If I had a nickel for every time I saw someone asking questions about tips for home staging, or the best way to style your house for a quick sale, I’d be rich! Rich I tell you!
For all you lucky ducks who own a home (and don’t rent or live in PMQs) the coming months will be a race to finish line as you try and sell your house before your neighbours, in an attempt to buy your next one that much quicker. It must be exhausting! Because home staging and home-decor go hand in hand, I’ve lined-up my top 5 tips for home staging this year.
Home staging is about showing the best configuration of your house. Not the one you prefer, or the one you think is most stylish, but the best way to place furniture for optimal room configuration and flow. There are professional services which cater to this aspect of posting season, and if you have the funds go for it! You can learn a lot from the professionals. If you don’t want to tap into that funding purse, you can do a couple of things yourself.
1. Fix any and all problems before you even stage the house.
Is there water damage in your ceiling? You’ll have to fix that, or at the very least cover it up and disclose it to potential buyers. Chances are the house inspection will find things like that, so be proactive and prevent someone from bidding lower because of damage.
Touch-up any chipped-paint, clean your baseboards, fix the kitchen and bathroom sinks, the list goes on! Tackle this as a team and you’ll get it done that much faster. Remember, you want potential buyers to see your house on its best day, not after hurricane season.
2. The golden rule: people want to be able to picture themselves in your home
When you walked into the house you now own (and are trying to sell), chances are you felt like you make it your home. People want to feel like they can put their furniture, their decor, and themselves in your house. It’s easier to do if items that are super personal aren’t strewn across the house.
Not everyone has kids or wants to buy a house designed around children, so keep that in mind when selling.
Tone down the family photographs on every wall and every surface, maybe swap-out your large framed photos of dragons and cats for mirrors and neutral abstract pieces (which you can rent, or buy and return before the return policy expires), and I suggest your remove any children-sized furniture. No one wants to see any of that when walking through your house, trust me.
None of the above described items are universal in their appeal and they will distract potential buyers from seeing the selling features like ample sunlight and lots of space, and they may warp their perspective on the size of furniture that will fit. You don’t want your visitors looking at the personal details instead of the house itself.
3. Pick a colour pallet and stick to it!
This means you may want to paint any and all walls in your house back to a neutral set of colours, or at the very least make sure the house flows on a pallet. Better homes and gardens has great colour pallets that you can peruse on their website or find on pinterest. Although neutral colour pallets are preferable (they’re more universal), bright and colourful pallets can also work as long they’re done correctly.
Your child may have wanted neon bubblegum pink for their walls, but if the rest of your house is grey and beige, the room will stand-out like a sore thumb. Not every buyer has the same needs that you had, and they may want to turn that kids room into an office but if they don’t see the space as easy to transform for their needs, they may walk away.
4. Optimize furniture placement
You want your house to seem large and spacious. Stuffing a room to capacity won’t do you any favours, so look into pairing down on the furniture you have in that room, and then try moving some furniture around.
Cramming an entire dinnette set into your small kitchen to make room for an extremely large sectional and gigantic TV that spans across the dinning room and living room is counter-productive.
Depending on how serious you are about selling your house fast, look into renting different furniture for the staging process. This can get expensive and hard to live with if you have kids, but depending on the hotness of your real estate market, it may be something worth considering- ESPECIALLY if you don’t have an ideal location. Don’t give buyers a reason to walk-out.
The internet and pinterest are full of ideas on how to best place furniture in rooms, so get to looking and become inspired! Another good option is to swing by a show-room and see how they have furniture a d furniture sets staged. Take a pick and try to re-create it at home.
5. The devil is in the details: clean and refresh your spaces.
Fresh flowers, clear and clean surfaces, fresh lightbulbs, and dusting can go a long way. You want the house to be so perfectly neutral that it could be in the builder’s show room or a brochure.
Enhance the features in your house by playing-up the selling features. If you have bay windows along the front of the house, start by washing them and ensuring the curtains/blinds are clean. What about a cute reading or breakfast nook next to one? you can create extra spaces that will optimize usage and potential for buyers.
Do you have hardwood floors throughout? Clean and oil them before a series of showings to get rid proof of all the foot traffic.
Is there a large dinning room in your house? Consider setting the table for a big dinner (minus all the food). It will help potential buyers see the room for what it is and add colour to the space.
Pro tip: use full place settings and add details like placemats or a table cloth.
Clean the kitchen from top to bottom and have a large bowl of lemons and limes or colourful apples on display somewhere. Keep your counters clear from un-necessary canisters and bowls, and absolutey make sure your coffee maker and toaster are clean.
Pro tip: You want to avoid placing fruit that becomes too fragrant as it ripens (in case you don’t have time to swap it out during a hectic showing season), but you also want colourful pops that fill the space.
Clean the bathroom from top to bottom, and then clean it again. No one wants to see traces of a vomit attack from your kids two years ago on the wall.
Pro tip: pay attention to your tooth-brush holder and medicine cabinet. Make sure there’s no gunk on them, and clear-out any sensitive prescriptions before every showing. You never know who’s going through your house!
Decorative pillows, throws, and knick knacks are nice finishing touches, so consider washing the cases or fluffing the down before a showing.
Pro tip: once the pillow is fluffed-up, crease it down the middle of the top edge to make them seem that much more plush.
Fresh flowers remain my favourite way to enhance a room, so head-on down to costco and grab a couple of bouquets before a showing.
Pro tip: If you’re looking for a great way to build a bouquet, check out my post here.
Do you have a lot of lights in your house? Swap-out al the lightbulbs for tones that will be the most flattering in your space (think cold vs. soft white and how it changes the colours in your house). Not only will they show your house in the colours you want them to see, but it will avoid any poorly-light rooms especially during night-time showings.
Pro tip: Target’s liquidation is a good time to stock-up on lightbulds so head-on down! Most hardware stores also have discounts on larger boxes of bulbs (as opposed to buying just 2)
Dust your built-in bookshelves and re-organize them. You want their size and depth to become apparent, not how many cool books you have.
Pro tip: Depending on how big they are, consider adding some art and photographs.
Is there no storage in the bedrooms? Did the builders not think closets were important? Make sure you showcase storage options like dressers, hanging rods or armoires to highlight the options available to new buyers.
I realize all of this can be really expensive, and very hard to do with kids and a husband on EX. Call a friend! Make a game of it! Posting season and selling your house don’t have to be really hard, but they do have to be done properly if you’re looking to sell. Reach-out to your community for help and you’d be surprised who will help!
How was your last home staging?