5 Ways to Stage Your Home on a Budget

These simple staging tips can give your home a fresh face for potential buyers.

U.S. News & World Report

5 Ways to Stage Your Home on a Budget

Rearranging furniture for easy movement in a room helps to keep the space from appearing small or cramped.(Getty Images)

Home staging doesn’t have to be expensive, yet many home sellers – and real estate agents, for that matter – don’t opt to put the property’s best foot forward before going to market.

According to the 2015 Profile of Home Staging by the National Association of Realtors, 34 percent of seller’s agents stage all homes, but 44 percent of agents surveyed suggest to only de-clutter and fix property faults. This suggests there’s a real disconnect between what agents believe home staging actually is, because those suggestions are only a part of the entire home staging process. Home staging is the act of preparing and showing a property for sale.

While some staging projects may be pricey – like fixing decades-old repairs that have been neglected or furnishing an entire vacant space – most homes can benefit from simple, cost-effective solutions that transform key rooms to attract buyers. Most buyers want move-in ready spaces, which can be easily accomplished with these five tips.

Clean & De-Clutter

Both cleaning and organizing require more time than money for a seller to complete, but are worth scheduling because these two tasks will make a huge impact on the overall look of the home.

Keeping a clean and clutter-free home daily shows buyers you care about the appearance of the space and boosts the belief that the home is well-maintained. A cleaner home with less in the way can look brand new and maximizes on space – which, let’s face it, is what buyers are buying.

Rearrange Furniture

Another way to increase square footage is by rearranging your furnishings to open up traffic flow and avoid closing off a room. Many times, homeowners buy oversized pieces or too many pieces because the furniture came in a crazy, awesome, package deal of a lifetime. Now, it’s just taking up valuable space. Consider these tips when rearranging furniture:

  • Try breaking up furniture sets to add more space and personality.
  • Arrange furniture to create a conversation area.
  • You must be able to easily walk around the furniture.
  • Remove furniture that doesn’t fit, or is taking up room in a corner.

Add Natural Touches

One way to create a warm and welcoming feel for buyers during an open house is adding a bit of Mother Nature. Take a cue from the geography of the home and use natural elements that reflect that region. Live by the beach? Add shells, sea-grass, driftwood and tropical flowers, for example, to showcase that lifestyle.

Regardless of where you live, you want to add plants and flowers in the key areas of the home to soften up the space and subliminally remind buyers that life grows here.

Direct the Buyer’s Eye

Home staging strategically directs the buyer’s eye to get them to notice the positive features of the home, rather than the negative. Every room has a focal point – which can be determined by the function of the room.

A bed, for instance, is the main focal point of a bedroom. It must be made every day, be highlighted in the space with lighting and artwork and should be center stage on the main wall in the room. Everything else in the space is secondary and should follow the color, pattern and style of the bed to direct the buyer’s eye back to the focal point.

Create Memorable Moments

Buyers may see a handful of homes every week – how do you get your home to stand out? A seller needs to emotionally connect with a buyer by telling a story of the lifestyle one could have if they bought this home.

Seems simple, but you should first do some research on your target buyer to see what makes them tick, then use your research to create moments in time to trigger an emotion. Add a game board on the family room coffee table for family-friendly homes. Or in starter homes, add a sexy nightgown in the master bed or bath to remind a newlywed couple of the privacy they’ll now have.

By taking some time, being hands-on and thinking outside the box, any home seller can use home staging to their advantage. On average, the Real Estate Staging Association reports, staged homes spend 90 percent less time on the market. Don’t you want to sell quickly and get out from under the microscope of public scrutiny as fast as possible?

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