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How To Stage Your Master Bedroom For A Faster Sell

Having a properly staged master bedroom can make your house extra attractive to potential buyers. It should feel like a sanctuary – a relaxing refuge from the workday. Let’s quickly cover the basic steps to a well-staged master bedroom.

Cleanup & Streamline: It should go without saying, but here’s a friendly reminder to cleanup all messes before any homebuyers stop by for a viewing. Get rid of scattered items like purses or laundry and make sure the space smells fresh. Declutter surfaces like nightstands, organize random electronic devices and consider storing your large exercise equipment. You want potential buyers to be able to picture their life in the space, not be overwhelmed by yours.

Give It A Cosmetic Refresh: Go over the walls with a fresh coat of paint (stick to neutrals or earthy tones). Because the bed is typically a focal point, approach the styling of it like a work of art. Make sure all coverings are coordinated or matching. Choose pillows and throw blankets wisely. They should add an eye-catching design element to the bed’s overall look, but not completely takeover the space. Also, hanging a large mirror in your room will create the illusion of a larger space. Keep all design gender neutral.

Aim For Upscale: When staging a master bedroom to sell your home, go for the gold. Meaning, make the space look plush and luxurious. Add a few pieces of tasteful art on the wall – even if they’re rented or borrowed. It’ll project an air of refinement. Avoid kitsch or eccentric art. Your goal is to make it look upscale but not over-the-top.

Check The Ambiance: Pay particular attention to how windows and lighting affect the vibe of your master bedroom. Natural light is very appealing, so definitely show off any related features (like a skylight!) to emphasize the element. Hang simple drapes that match carpeting and bedding. Keep them open when potential buyers come for a walk-through. Overly bright or too-dark master bedrooms are off-putting. If your master bedroom looks out onto a nice view, you’ll want to show that off, too.

Add Some Greenery: Place a live, potted plant somewhere in the master bedroom – like a flower on the dresser or a small tree in a corner. Fresh floral arrangements add a nice touch, especially if colors are coordinated to the rest of the room. Popular plants like mother-in-law’s tongue or bamboo palm can add a soothing, spa-like quality that emphasizes the room’s true purpose, which is to act as a retreat from everyday life.

Are you you in the process of selling your house and looking for a new home? Let RedStone Mortgage assist you in finding loan options that meet your individual needs. Call us at 480-759-1500.

Neutralizing Your Home

When you’re looking to sell your home quickly and as painless as possible, you’ll have to go through a process of removing your (or your tenants’) presence from the house. This process is known in the real estate industry as neutralization.

A better name for neutralization, however, is called “depersonalizing.” Essentially, your goal is to remove the identity of the home so that potential homebuyers can picture their future in the home without have the “thumbprints” from previous occupants.

How does one go about neutralizing their home? Easier said than done.

There are even limits to neutralizing your home, however.

If you go too far, your home may appear cold and foreign to potential homebuyers, as they’ll have difficulty imagining just what each room’s purpose was (or could be).

Let’s take a look at the topics and particular nuances that can influence buyers to say “yes” to your house and close as soon as possible!

Home Renovations

Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you may use the opportunity of your uncluttered home to finally make some renovations to your home to make it more attractive to buyers.

This might seem like a smart strategy, but be sure to make reasonable limits to the time and money you invest on new flooring, new carpets, and updating old appliances.

The idea to keep in mind is that the improvements you’re making—say, new blue carpeting—might be immediately removed by the new homeowner, or might even be turn-off potential buyers.

Conversely, if you don’t take necessary steps to repair minor repairs, you can turn-off buyers, as well.

Look at your home with a buyer’s mindset.

Those nicks, dents, and scrapes on walls and flooring might be invisible to you because you’ve become accustomed to them; to someone just stepping foot into your home, a loose doorknob, burned out bulbs, or stains on the patio could lead potential homebuyers to believe that these are just the beginning of the problems that you home holds.

A little bit of sanding and spackle can go a long way to getting your house sold.

Photographs, Awards, and Certificates

While you may still be a resident in the home that you’re trying to sell, you must remove most of the traces that allude to the personality that you’ve “carved” into your home. This includes family photographs, awards, and certificates. Why?

The reason is that these photographs, either of marriages, children, and other friends/family, tend to give them impression of a “claimed” territory.

It’s harder for a person to picture themselves in a space having their own unique experiences for years to come when they’re confronted with the same patio they envision you using with your family.

Nothing speaks more to personality (and eccentricity) than collections.

They have a tendency to overwhelm the senses and create a clutter, diminishing the size of the room—both of which you don’t want to put on display.

Similarly, there’s a psychological angle to consider. Suppose you have certificates that indicate you were a doctor or a lawyer.

Would a person who deems themselves beneath that occupational status feel comfortable living in the same house?

Conversely, if persons of those aforementioned occupations were selling a home for cheap, it might suggest that this home has something wrong with that you may be hiding.

Your goal is to help depersonalize your home so that house hunters can psychologically move into the home.

Of course, you should leave a few pictures on the wall just so the space doesn’t look empty, but even generic paintings and photographs serve the same function as that family reunion picture in Cancun.

Neutralizing Your Book Collection

Books can be a way of subconsciously conveying to potential homebuyer’s type of person that would thrive in the home. However, when selling your home, you should choose these books carefully.

The rule of thumb is to choose “coffee table books.” Books on architecture, travel, and cuisine are all encouraged. Who is not a fan of any of those topics?

However, some topics can be divisive. Religious books, books on esoteric/niche topics, or books that are controversial. And related to the previous topic, keep your photo albums packed away.

If you’re having trouble keeping these books hidden and packed away, an easy trick is to turn the spines inward to make them truly neutral.

Taking Down Artwork and Collections

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. While you may have made it a focus of your home to showcase your personality through your possessions, including artwork and items you collect, your goal is to appeal to the widest array of people to purchase your home.

Just as you have to hide your books for fear of offending someone, you should take down all artwork that could even be considered remotely offensive. This includes artwork with political messages, nudity, sports teams, religious imagery, and so forth.

Other accents, like family heirlooms, should be taken down as well. While you may be proud of that mounted moose head from your grandfather, potential homebuyers may be put off by hunting wild game.

Getting Rid of Religious Items

While it is certainly fine to be proud of your religious beliefs, affiliations, and convictions, not all homebuyers will appreciate religious items on display.

Some buyers may not be religious at all, while others may carry deep convictions that may find such displays offensive. Buyers that see these particular types of displays may also make inferences about the types of neighbors that you have (which may or may not be true).

Getting Rid of Odors

Our sense of smell can immediately conjure up both good and bad memories.

While some realtors have used the lure of a fresh baked apple pie to entice homebuyers’ olfactory recall, bad smells can have a similarly off-putting effect. What’s worse is that homeowners can become acclimated to the scent of a house, leaving them “noseblind” to potential smells.

For instance, cigar and cigarette smokers typically view the smell of smoke as “familiar,” whereas a non-smoker may look down upon the same house.

The same goes for mold smells—especially in basements—where it can seem like the house may be at risk for flooding from sewers or catastrophes (i.e. hurricanes, in proximity to flood plains, etc.).

However, trying to mask these odors with a bottle of Febreze and air fresheners can work against you, as it seems to potential homebuyers (rightfully so) that you’re trying to cover up these odors.

Homeowners should actively work on eliminating the common sources of the smell, including pet odors (see below), mold, cooking odors, spilt chemicals, and so forth.

Be sure to have a realtor or someone unfamiliar to your home give you an honest analysis of where particular odors may be lingering.

While it may be somewhat embarrassing to realize that your bathroom smells less than pleasant, it can be even worse to have your home unsold on the market because you didn’t want to replace the carpeting.

Removing Your Pet’s Presence

Simply put, pets are messy. Of all the elements in a home that can cause damages, pets are near the top.

While they may be adorable, they also don’t have any qualms about relieving any of their bodily functions around your house!

If you’ve taken the necessary steps of cleaning and removing pet dander, you may also want to consider removing the pet entirely by leaving them with relatives/neighbors, or boarding them during an open house.

Animals can present liability risks while showing your home—not only for bites and personal harm, but an unknowing homebuyer might let your animal out, which can cause you to miss out on displaying what’s really important: your house for sale.

Also, remember to remove food bowls, water bowls, and pet toys/accessories from the home, as some homebuyers may equate this with lower standards of cleanliness.

Not everyone loves reptiles or spiders, so keep cold-blooded animals away during the open house.

No one wants to deal with finding a dead snake wrapped around the radiator, nor do they want to deal with a large spider when they’re in the shower. However, fish kept in clean fish tanks are acceptable—just be sure to scoop out any dead fish ahead of time.

Finally, remember that some homebuyers will preface their decision solely on their pet allergies.

You should do your best to cater to them, but know that fully eradicating your home to a person with acute sensitivities may be beyond your reach.

Keep It Clean

One challenge to keeping your house on the market is that you still have to live in it. However, for selling your house, you must remove traces of your daily life.

Little messes that are part of living (i.e. cooking, piles of mail, kids’ toys, etc.) can be perceived as distracting and dirty.

It can be difficult to keep it in pristine condition each time a buyer wants to view it, so you may have to change your cleanliness habits until an offer is made.

Don’t underestimate how a stack of laundry can negate all of the effort you’ve made to present a neutralized home.

For items of everyday use (i.e. toothbrushes, shampoo bottles), keep them to a minimum and keep boxes hand to store them when needed. Clothing, especially out-of-season clothing, should be packed away, or at the very least, stored beneath beds.

Staging

Related to neutralizing your home is staging. Essentially, staging is setting up your home to reflect its purpose. While it may be apparent to you, the person who’s lived in the home for years, a new person may not be able to envision the purpose of each room without some leading.

Don’t Use Shoddy Furniture

Just as you want to make sure your home is spotless and tidy, you want your furniture to also reflect this mindset.

Having beat-up furniture, especially furniture that is torn-up by age, usage, or pets will reflect poorly on your home’s appeal—even though the furniture won’t be coming with the house.

There are professional staging companies that can lend furniture for your open house, so be sure to ask your realtor for references.

Too Much Furniture

An abundance of furniture can make your room feel much smaller than it really is. As a rule of thumb, stage your house sparingly, using 1/3 of the furniture that you’ve normally had displayed.

This helps accentuate your home’s nature architecture and provides an illusion of spaciousness.

Empty Rooms Should Be Staged

It is in your best interest to stage rooms to give potential buyers an idea of what the room’s purpose is. For instance, if you’ve completely cleared out a room that once was your study, leave a simple display of a desk, table, and a lamp. This will subconsciously communicate a “feature” of the room.

Bare rooms simply aren’t that inviting, as they seem unfinished. Also, the natural reverberance of empty rooms can create an “echo chamber” effect that may be unappealing to most people (barring musically-oriented homebuyers).

Emphasize Focal Points and Minimize Distractions

It’s not unusual for expertly-staged homes to emphasize a home’s natural amenities. By staging a home with some of the activities that the home can feature, you can entice homebuyers.

For example, a nice view of the sunrise can have reclining patio chairs and a breakfast table, a well-stocked fireplace complete with pokers and a footstool—all emphasize the use of the home’s amenities.

On the other hand, you should avoid having distractions and clashes. Having a beach scene for the master bedroom, with sand and beach balls, for a home in Alaska can be off-putting. The same goes for a NY-themed den for a Chicago metropolitan condo.

Color

Color plays a large role in the neutralization process. Essentially, the colors you choose for the interior of your home should appeal to as many potential homebuyers as possible. Let’s take a look at few points to consider when coloring your home for sale:

  • Remove wallpaper. It can be a rigorous process to remove this and may turn off homebuyers if it’s not neutral.
  • Avoid bright colors. These tend to be an acquired taste and will remind homebuyers of the work they may have to do before finally settling into the home.
  • Avoid dark color. Darker colors create an optical illusion that makes a space appear smaller.
  • Neutral colors for staging your home are best, as they make rooms appear larger than they are. Adding accents of color, like photographs or paintings, against a neutral background can make a room seem modern and appealing (think of art galleries).
  • They also are easier to change in the future, which homebuyers will appreciate when it comes time to move in.
  • With carpeting and accessories, think of using complementary colors (i.e. blue and orange, purple and yellow, red and green), following the rule the 80% of the predominate color should be a neutral, with 20% being the appealing complementary color.
  • Avoid using too many colors when neutralizing the home. Instead, focus on 3-5 colors to avoid jarring color combinations or a feeling of “separateness.”
  • Bear in mind that lighting changes the color you’ve selected, you can use the same hue for incandescent lights and natural lighting, only to get different results. This can help save money and emphasize your home’s lighting variations.
  • Make sure that your colors flow from one another. Earth tones and neutrals work best, as we’re accustomed to these colors from nature. Having a hot pink go to a beige is off-putting!

Affordable Solutions

There’s usually no one-way solution to properly stage a house. Those who prefer the DIY method will usually have to do their research beforehand, especially for keeping the process of neutralization within budget. Here’s a few tips to keep it cheap:

  • Consult your realtor. Chances are that this person has had experience successfully closing homes, so they intuitively know what works and what doesn’t.

Remember that agents are commission-based, so they have the same goal in mind as you, to sell your home as quickly and at the highest price possible.

In addition, they can recommend you to have a consultation with a professional home stager. These people specialize in neutralization and can give you honest tips to sell your home immediately.

  • Ask your friends to do a walk-around. Request that they give you an honest opinion, whether it’s odors, color schemes, or any other feature that could be jarring to the eye. Don’t take their criticism personally—remember, the goal is to sell the home, not save face!
  • Look at other homes in your area that are for sale. Take notes on how the homes are arranged and what the owners have down to make the home seem inviting. Very often, homes in your local area may have been built in the same style, so you can steal some of their ideas.

Master Bedroom Staging

When staging your master bedroom, there are a number of factors to take into consideration when making your house attractive to the potential homebuyer.

A well-staged master bedroom creates a feeling of sanctuary, refuge, and relaxation that is representative of your entire home’s emphasis.

After all, you spend a great deal of your life by your bedside. While this includes the master bedroom, the master bedroom’s closet is equally important.

First, let’s cover the basics for staging a master bedroom:

#1. Identify the Master Bedroom

No two houses are the same, nor are the uses of the homes.

You’ll notice that a certain room takes predominance over the others, whether it offers more in square footage, natural lighting opportunities, or contains a feature (i.e. an attached private bathroom) that was intended by the home’s architect.

Of course, some families have chosen to tailor these rooms to different purposes other than a place to sleep (like a home office), but when staging your master bedroom, you’ll want to find the most obvious room and put your attention to detail in action there.

#2. Cleanup Beforehand

This might seem like it goes without saying, but you should clean up all messes before homebuyers view the master bedroom.

While it’s a pain to be living in the same home that you’re selling, take the necessary measures to hide the traces that someone is actively living in the bedroom.

  • Get Rid of the Miscellaneous: Having scattered stuff from your purse and pockets on a nightstand looks messy and reflects on your lack of attention to detail.
  • Even uncapped perfume/cologne bottles and hair ties in a “miscellaneous” bowl appear dirty. Be sure to vacuum and change the bed coverings.
  • Laundry: As for laundry, get into the habit of keeping all laundry baskets out of the bedroom.

It may be convenient for you to have it for your daily convenience, but no one likes to see another person’s dirty laundry (literally and figuratively).

  • Smells Matter: And as much as we try to keep ourselves odor-free, we can sometimes forget that human beings (and their accumulated clothes) can develop a lingering musk.

Sure, it may be pleasing with an intimate spouse, but others may find it off-putting or rank.

Don’t forget the power of morning breath accumulated in your master bedroom while sleeping for hours!

Having fresh air throughout the master bedroom is wise, though it helps to disinfect and purify the air if possible with aerosol sprays hours before guests arrive.

Smell does matter, so a light potpourri can work. Avoid heavy scents like incense or wall plugins with “bright” or food-related scents.

#3. Decluttering

To sell your home, you have to declutter your master bedroom. As much as you’ve enjoyed the proximity of your slippers and damp robe on the door, it’s time to take out anything within the master bedroom that seems “extra”.

One method that makes this simple is to remove everything from the bedroom.

From there, focus on rearranging your furniture in the best light, so to speak. Avoid wasted space and try to attain a sort of Feng Shui about the arrangement.

Your goal is to subconsciously calm the buyer’s mind with perfectly folded bed covers, decorations symmetrically aligned, and pillows arranged like a hotel.

Once you’ve decided on the bare minimum of furniture, begin adding little touches that can fill out a room. If you have a rug, make sure that it matches the bedding.

  • For nightstands and lamps, make sure that they match and compliment your bedding and furniture.

While you may think a lava lamp or other kitschy lamp lends personality to your home, think again. Remove stacks of magazines and books piled there.

  • Exercise Machines: Despite the convenience of having an exercise machine in the master bedroom, their appearance can be jarring when coupled with the serene and relaxing bedding just nearby.

These items (i.e. treadmill, loose weights) also collect dust and loose laundry, so removing them entirely stages your master bedroom with as little headache as possible.

  • Electronic Devices: Televisions, stereos, laptops, music collections—anything that can be related to work or entertainment should not be staged in the master bedroom.
  • Save those for your living room or den staging.

Large racks of CD’s and DVD’s tend to be distracting and do little more than show your taste in audio and film—which isn’t the purpose of staging your master bedroom or selling your home.

#4. Paint It Like a Spa

As we mentioned, there are advantages to taking everything out of the master bedroom before restaging. One reason is that it gives you an opportunity to repaint the home. A fresh coat of paint is an attractive way to draw in potential homebuyers.

Of course, you’ll want to stick to neutral or earthy tones.

It’s best to think of creating a spa environment with the color your choose, with no jarring paint schemes or colors that dominate at the expense of another (ex. a bright yellow).

#5. Bedding

The focal point of your master bedroom is obviously the bed. While your functional bed may be comprised of certainly less pieces, your bed during staging to sell your home should be a work of art. Let’s look at a few things to consider for the most important part of your master bedroom staging:

  • Use coordinated and matching bed coverings. It’s helpful that companies tend to group entire bedroom sets in that correspond to colored themes, but make sure that these match your furniture like your chest of drawers or dresser, as well.
  • If you have belongings stashed beneath your bed, consider having a bed skirt to mask your storage scheme. You’ll have to put these on first, as lifting the mattress is usually a requirement.
  • Choose your pillows wisely. “Jewel” pillows are useful for matching your other decorations, but don’t put an excess number of pillows that looks more like a teenager’s bed than a spa-like environment.

Cover every pillow in matching pillow case and try to have each side of the bed symmetrically-matched. Disregard the preferences of your spouse and simply match the colors.

  • Throw blankets are a good way of accenting your master bedroom.

You can use this as a way to bridge the local customs and patterns of the regions where you’re selling your home.

For instance, a vaguely nautical theme for a house in New England can help sell your home in the same way that a Southwestern-themed pattern design can in that region of the U.S.

  • duvet cover should be in relatively good condition. Because of the materials (ex. goose feather), your duvet may be clean but look “lumpy” and non-uniform.

While it may be a large expense, consider it part of a housewarming gift for your new home once you sell the current house.

#6. Check Your Drawers

Just about every home has a chest of drawers (or dresser) in their bedroom. You’ll want to take any stray paraphernalia from your daily rituals and stick it in the drawers.

Homebuyers won’t go through the drawers for the sake of privacy, but they want to see what type of scene your chest of drawers plays in the part of waking and sleeping.

It’s purely subconscious, as most homes aren’t sold fully furnished, but you by positioning the chest of drawers, say, with a chair for getting dressed or an elegant Japanese shoji blinds.

#7. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…

Mirrors can be your secret weapon to persuading homebuyers to give you an offer on your home.

By hanging a mirror in your bedroom, you create the illusion of a larger space and emphasize the vanity of homebuyers. They literally can see themselves in your home.

If you have sources of natural lighting that can reflect in a pleasing way, creating a spa-like ambiance with an attention to detail. Those that purchase the home in the future will look to your example as a model for their bedroom.

#8. Aim for Upscale

Your intent should be to aim for an upscale feel of your master bedroom staging.

Cheap items reflect poorly on the seller’s personality and may be cause for lower offers when it comes time to close a deal.

While it is the most seldom seen part of a home, the master bedroom should reflect an elegance that their friends and family would be impressed with.

That being said, you should look at your master bedroom objectively and replace items that are substandard.

Adding a few pieces of tasteful art on the wall should show that the buyer can create a luxury atmosphere in their master bedroom-to-be.

Avoid kitsch or projecting the eccentric parts of your home design. A bedroom dedicated to a sports team may seem tainted to homebuyers, especially if the homebuyers are moving from out-of-state.

#9. Gender-Neutrality

The color scheme and decorations for the master bedroom should be ultimately gender-neutral.

It can be off-putting to potential couples looking for a home to emphasize the dominance of a gender over another, and it subconsciously creates a negative impression for homebuyers.

Remember, it is your goal to appeal to as many homebuyers as possible, so leaning one way or the other based on gender can rub someone’s bias the wrong way.

Having teddy bears and other stuffed animals would create the same impression as sports items, so be sure to remove these decorations and designs of this nature in favor of more neutral items.

#10. Windows and Lighting

Pay particular attention to how your windows affect the visual ambiance of the master bedroom.

Sources of natural light are desirable and visually-appealing, so be sure to use the features of the bedroom (like a skylight) to emphasize this fact.

Drapes should match your carpeting/bedding, but they also should be open. No one likes to block out natural sunlight. Pay attention to when you’ll be having an open house and how the light will play a part.

Overly dark or overly bright master bedrooms are off-putting, showcasing the home’s handicaps (even if you’re not likely to nap during the afternoon).

Lastly, if the master bedroom has a great view, be sure to showcase this as a major selling point.

#11. Plants

Place a live potted plant in the room, such as a flower on the dresser or a tree in a corner.

A floral arrangement is always a nice touch, especially if the colors are coordinated well, reflective of the local flora, or match the bedding and color schemes of the master bedroom.

For the sake of air quality, having popular plants like the mother-in-law’s tongue (snake plant) or a bamboo palm can really lend a spa-like quality to the master bedroom that emphasizes the room’s purpose, which is a type of retreat from the worries of daily life and a kind of sanctuary.

Master Bedroom Closet

Once you’ve tackled the master bedroom, don’t forget to arrange your master bedroom’s closet.

Potential homebuyers will most certainly be opening every door—having a messy or unsightly closet can disrupt any of the efforts you placed in the master bedroom.

#1. Give the Illusion of Space

Your goal for the closet is to reduce the number of items to the bare minimum, emphasizing space and order. The closet doesn’t have to be a realistic representation of your entire wardrobe.

Make sure to keep the floor clear and the walls of the closet visible to give the viewer. If your closet allows for it, adding a mirror can create more “visual” space.

#2. Subconscious Considerations

Your closet’s appearance does more than display your wardrobe and possessions tucked in shoeboxes.

Potential homebuyers can tell a lot about the seller of the home by the appearance of the master bedroom’s closet, making inferences about the type of person (you) that is offering their home for sale.

Take into consideration the following:

  • Have both his and her clothing together in one closet: If your clothes are in separate bedroom closets (for whatever reason), it could show that your relationship is having problems and the homebuyer could use that as a way to infer about your financial status.

In other words, they might think you’re looking for a quick-sell before a divorce.

  • Show that the closet is big enough to stand in: You should have a happy medium that suggests that the closet can fit the possessions of a person that can afford the home.

Too much stuff, and it implies the house is too small.

  • Keep the stuff related to daily life: If you store things like luggage, holiday decorations, excess cardboard boxes for packing, and anything not related to getting dressed for the day, it implies that your home doesn’t have the necessary space to separate your daily life from stuff that should be stored elsewhere.

Worse, if you have boxes of financial documents (i.e. receipts, forms, taxes), it can suggest to a homebuyer that your finances are one house-fire/flooding away from peril.

Or, they might be able to see a past-due balance (even if it has been paid) that could shake the confidence of your financial situation.

Store those documents in another location or an unmarked, opaque box, instead.

#3. Organization Tips

  • Matching Clothing:By grouping your clothing by type (i.e. casual vs. work clothes), your closet will automatically feel more organized.

Once you’ve sorted clothes this way, you can then organize it by color.

  • Hangers: Hangers should be matching and not cheap. Get rid of the flimsy plastic ones or your collection of wire hangers from the dry cleaners.
  • Box It: If your master bedroom closet has been used for storage, organize your belongings in boxes, not loose cardboard boxes.

An alternative option is to the use the vacuum bags for seasonal items, which saves space and offers an elegant

  • Rack ‘Em Up: If you have a large collection of shoes, place a shoe rack on the floor and against the back wall.

Alternatively, if you purchase a hanging rack, you can leave for space to open up the closet even more.

#4. Get the Details Right

Repair any damage in the closet. This is best done with an empty closet, especially for repainting.

Change out the burnt-out lightbulbs, polish the door knows, and make sure that the door(s) (especially sliding doors) moves freely and easily.

#5. Smells Matter

Remember to keep your closet dry and freshly scented. This is especially true if you have pets that like to use your closet as a hiding place (or worse, their own private litterbox!) DampRid and other moisture-removing products can help your closet stay mold-free, but don’t leave these items in the closet during the showing.

“Open scents” that make one want to breathe deeply are encouraged. Think of fresh cedar chips or sandalwood – the odor should draw you inward. And it should most definitely not smell like mothballs, which not only suggests that the house has a pest problem, but also makes the home seem more intended for an aging relative.

Staging Your Bathrooms And Getting It Ready To Show & Sell

Focus your efforts on staging in strategic areas that ensures your property is seen in the best possible light, sells quickly and with minimum investment on your part. Your bathroom is one such area. Here are a few tips to help you stage your bathrooms properly:

  • Aim for a spa-like look and feel: Beautiful bathrooms are a big draw for buyers.
  • Buyers want to imagine themselves enjoying the same kind of luxury in their own homes and so a bathroom that projects that look will appeal to them.

Since you obviously cannot create a real spa at home, your best option is to make the best of what you already have, with the minimum of expense.

With a few changes here and there, you can give your bathrooms a spa-like look and feel that prospective buyers will love, so keep this in mind as you make the changes below.

  • Give the bathroom a thorough cleaning: Clean everything thoroughly, remove stains and make sure it’s all immaculate.

Clean water-stained shower doors with a lime dissolving detergent.

You can also hire a professional to refinish a stained bathtub.

Cleaning may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it’s very important to do it, as this gives buyers the impression that your home is well maintained.

  • No cleaning products in sight. Yes, you need them to get that thoroughly clean look that will impress, but buyers really do not want or need to see cleaning products all over the place.
  • That implies housework and maintenance, not the beautiful spa-like experience buyers want to imagine they can get from a bathroom.

Remove other things like bathroom scales, spare toilet rolls, toilet brushes, wastepaper baskets, sponges and the like.

Also stash all your personal items like soaps, toothbrushes, cotton balls, etc., under the bathroom sink where they’re hidden away.

Seeing your personal hygiene products can make buyers feel a little awkward, as if they are encroaching on your personal space.

  • Hang fresh, luxurious towels and lay down bath mats. The addition of beautiful, soft towels can transform any bathroom in an instant. Thick, white, luxurious towels always work well, but brightly colored towels are also very popular these days.

Get new ones if you can, as these look better than washed towels, and only use them as display props when prospective buyers are viewing.

If you have a lot of counter space in your bathroom, you can create an even more luxurious feel by placing a neatly folded pile of two or three matching towels on the counter, beside the bath.

  • Organize storage space. Buyers love plenty of storage space and they will open your bathroom cupboards to see how much space is available.

You want to create the impression that storage is plentiful, so make sure that your cupboards are not full and overflowing.

About half full, or maximum of two-thirds full is a good look, and make sure everything inside is well organized.

This applies to your counters too. Clear off the counters and remove all of your everyday toiletries and bathroom supplies.

If you really do not have enough space for all your toiletries, put the excess in toiletry baskets and store them out of sight in another room.

  • Accessorize for a better look. Once your bathroom is free of clutter and your personal hygiene products, enhance the whole look with a few well-chosen accessories.

Use things like scented candles in varying heights, fragrant soaps, bath oils, natural loofahs, a basket of tightly rolled washcloths or even a good book.

Choose accessories in soft colors and keep things simple, so it doesn’t create a cluttered look. Candles in particular create a layer of warmth, elegance, luxury and tranquility.

If you’ve got the space, you can go one step further by putting in a stool or ottoman beside the bathtub.

This is both functional and stylish, and will give your bathroom the ultimate private suite look.

  • Add fresh flowers. Flowers and plants make a lovely impact on a room, and the same goes for bathrooms too.

Add color and texture to your bathrooms with your favorite flowers.

It doesn’t have to be a bouquet, especially if the bathroom is small – a single stem or a small planter will enliven the bathroom.

  • Upgrade where necessary. Although you don’t need to spend a lot of money to stage your bathroom, there may be some things that you are actually better off replacing.

Some small, inexpensive upgrades can have a big impact on the total look of your bathroom. Repainting your walls for instance.

You can only carry off the spa-look if the walls look good.

If your bathroom is wallpapered, it’s likely that the wallpaper is peeling. So remove it and paint instead.

Even if your walls are painted, you may want to consider repainting them to give a fresh new look. If you’re going to paint or repaint, it’s always a good idea to stick with neutral colors. They are more likely to appeal to more prospective buyers.

You can add some color using brightly colored towels and accessories as described above.

Apart from painting, other bathroom upgrades that you can do without spending a fortune are: replacing leaking and worn taps, installing new light fittings and updating the cabinets.

If your toilet is broken, badly stained or outdated, you should consider replacing them.

Buy a new shower curtain and tie it back with ribbons, or replace a shower screen that is badly stained or cracked.

If your home is higher priced, you may also consider other more substantial upgrades like changing tiles, in order to preserve that luxury-bathroom feel that buyers will expect to find in such a home.

Staging Your Kitchen To Attract More Buyers

Staging the kitchen can have a huge impact on the portfolio of your home before you decide to place it on the real estate market.

This is because the kitchen is the first thing home buyers usually see and if they find it attractive and modern, they could be willing to pay a price you set or pay a higher price than they would have.

Some people give put much weight into their kitchen that they reserve more than half of their staging budget for kitchen renovation and upgrading.

With a few simple and straightforward changes, you can transform your old kitchen into a modern space with all the desired amenities organized neatly and in place.

So, if you want to sell your home fast and for more, follow these tips to remodel and renovate your kitchen to attract more potential buyers for your home.

Staging the Kitchen

It is always advisable to go step-by-step to make sure you don’t miss anything out. And the first step in making your kitchen ready for sale is to clear out the clutter.

In other words, clean up the mess and make space for possible renovations you have in mind. Organizing is one thing that can improve the appearance of any cupboard, rack, drawer or cabinet.

Check out some DIY shelves for your cabinets to neatly place all the bottles, boxes, and cans.

If your kitchen island has a place for seating, make sure you place bar stools or chairs to utilize it. People find it extremely practical to have a kitchen with a seating area.

However, make sure not to overdo this area by placing too many chairs than necessary. You don’t want to overcrowd your kitchen, so keep it simple and neat.

Next remove all the unnecessary items from your countertops including knife holders, empty wine bottles, hanging towels, and extra appliances.

A rule of thumb is not to place more than two appliances on the countertop at one time.

Make room for others in the cabinets and properly store them. Once the space has been cleared of all the clutter, place a few decorative items to give a it a nice look.

Finally, wipe the tiles clean, make sure the lighting is adequate and all bulbs are working and then apply a quick coat of paint.

Things to Add

Your kitchen might already have all the necessary decorative stuff, but when you’re staging it is important to buy a few extra things for an even fresher look.

Some people find it really useful to have a wall clock in the kitchen. Similarly, wall hangings and paintings that go well with everything else in the kitchen look absolutely appealing.

A few of the other items you can check out include:

  • Flowers: Fresh or even fake flowers or plants have the ability to lift up a mood and make a room look more inviting.

If you are creative, you could come up with ideas to use flowers in your kitchen without having to spend a dime.

But if you’re out of ideas, simply use a vase or a glass bottle for fresh flowers to add color to your kitchen.

  • Placemats and Wine Glasses: Setting your table before any type of viewings and showings add a great touch.

Don’t forget to place a full wine bottle in the middle when somebody is coming over to see your home as a prospective buyer.

  • A Fruit Basket: Another thing that will add color and flare to your kitchen is a fruit basket or tray with fresh fruits in it.

Wash and wipe clean apples before placing them in the basket. Grapes and pomegranates can be placed separately for a more exotic look.

Use your imagination to come up with more ideas to turn your unassuming little kitchen into something totally attractive. Make sure to get rid of the old useless items to make room for the new ones.

Things to Replace

Kitchen staging is not just about cleaning up the mess but also making sure that the appliances, including the oven and other stainless steel utensils, are all of the same color.

If you have a food processor in black, the oven and microwave in silver, a refrigerator in black, and a juicer in white, it will not appeal to the visitors.

Replace a few things if you think there is a complete mismatch, however, also keep in mind that black and white can easily get along if the entire décor is of the same combination.

Some other things that need replacing are the old dirty hand towels, baking mittens, soap dispensers, and the silverware holder. Make these affordable replacements to give a new and striking look to your kitchen.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on this step. If you think there are many appliances that go along well with one another, simply put them away.

Affordable Upgrades that Increase Appearance

There is no need to spend a lot of money on kitchen staging when you can easily and affordably create a very striking look.

Some of the décor items can already be found at home and some of them can be created using some creativity and imagination.

However, when it comes to upgrading spending a little money is always a good idea, because it is going to make a huge difference on the value of your home. Here are a few ideas to check out:

  • Contemporary Hardware: One of the things that instantly lift up the appearance of a kitchen is the use of beautiful ornate modern hardware for cabinets and drawers.

This step is particularly important if your kitchen is old and you haven’t upgraded the hardware even once.

Check out simple brushed silver knobs if you are not looking for something utterly expensive or decorative. The nickel ones are also in fashion.

  • Countertops: If you think your countertops need an upgrade, the laminate ones available on the market could be perfect.

When granite counters are not an option because of their high cost, an affordable alternative that will look almost as marvelous as granite is laminate.

Choose any color you want and do this upgrade before making your home available for sale on the real estate market.

  • Under-cabinet Lighting: This is one upgrade that is going to give you a huge competitive edge over other homes for sale in your area.
  • There is a huge variety of such lights available on the market and you can easily install them.

Rope and tape lights are meant for lighting up the countertops and they can go an entire length depending on the width of your cabinets.

Similarly, there are puck lights that offer a single point of illumination wherever you need one.

If you want to light up a bigger area, use lighting bars instead of puck lights.

All these can be found at highly competitive rates so you don’t have to worry about the cost.

  • Lighting Fixtures: In addition to making sure your kitchen lights up sufficiently with the existing lighting, it is also a good idea to replace the old fixtures to give a modern look to your kitchen.

There are so many wonderful options available nowadays that you will be totally surprised. Special lighting fixtures are available for the kitchen keeping in view some areas where more light is needed, such as the countertops and the stove.

  • Organization: DIY shelves, hangers, and plastic storage boxes are a great way to organize everything from spices and herbs to items in the refrigerator and rice, pulses, flour etc.

There are also attractive and useful holders for cutlery available out there. Stackable shelves come in really handy especially when you don’t have a lot of space for storage. You don’t want the visitors to open up the drawers and see spilt spices and pulses over there.

Renovating your kitchen and giving it a more refreshed look doesn’t need to be very expensive. You can jot down some areas that need a lift-up and then spend some money from your staging budget for buying these new items and to transform your kitchen into something really innovative and appealing.

Some of these ideas are also going to make your small kitchen look larger, giving you a twofold advantage! So, keep in mind that all these efforts are not going to be wasted to feel motivated and energetic in bringing about a change in your kitchen. Finally, this is going to be a huge investment as potential buyers would want to pay almost any price you set.

Main Dining Area

The dining room or dining area is often that warm and comfortable room in the home where people gather together with family, friends, and good food on a daily basis and on special occasions. Laughter resounds, news is shared, memories are made.

Such thoughts and memories could be very important in the minds of your potential buyers, so you want to do everything in your power to get it right.

Here are some simple tips in setting up your main dining area to make it inviting to potential buyers:

  • Stage the table. The table is the main focal point of any dining room. You want to have the eyes of the potential buyers open wide with pleasure at seeing the table whether in person or in the pictures you post.

You know what it’s like to have that good feeling.

Think about the home furnishing ads or magazines that you have read in the past.

Before getting started, write down your theme and ideas, and then plan accordingly, keeping in mind that adding at least a hint of popping color is going to work magic.

To subconsciously keep up the buyer’s confidence, avoid the use of a table cloth since you don’t have anything to hide there or in the rest of the house.

You have the choice to make it enticingly extravagant or to keep it elegantly simple.

While you may have to hold back your creativity while setting the table for a holiday dinner in order to keep room for the food platters and to keep it comfortable enough for your family and friends to enjoy good conversations, you don’t have to entertain these concerns while staging the table to attract and encourage buyers.

Let your heart sing as you go all out with your full dinner sets, glassware, centerpieces, plants, and whatever else fits your chosen theme. However, while having fun, keep a great sense of order to make sure that your work is pleasant to the eye.

Staging the table is so important that more time needs to be spent on this than any other part of the dining room.

It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it must do its job in helping potential buyers to feel relaxed and at home.

  • Blaze a wide trail. Make sure that the walking space in the dining room is comfortable.
  • The path around the table should be easily accessible, and the room must be devoid of all clutter. This includes extra arm chairs randomly placed and blocking the pathway that you might find in some people’s dining rooms.

Giving the impression of space is the best, and this could even be done by removing dining chairs altogether if you have a smaller dining room. Rearrange or remove other furniture if needed.

  • All systems go!

Has your dining room been used for some other purpose besides dining?

If you have it set up as an office with papers exposed on your desk or table, it’s time to close up shop.

Do you have a computer, extra TV, or gaming systems in your dining room? It’s time to jettison these, captain.

It may be a difficult thing to do if you are staying in your home while it’s on the market, but at least box them up and store them away during an open house or before taking pictures.

If your dining area is incredibly large and you have created a second sitting area for game nights with a large screen tastefully mounted, this is just fine.

However, make sure to separate this area from the dining area in a more defined fashion by using a sofa or other strategically-placed furniture.

  • Smooth the surfaces. Tuck away all trinkets and extra clutter.

Since you’re going to be staging the table and don’t want to detract from that focal point, it’s important to take a minimalist approach to the rest of the room and surfaces.

You want to create more space to the eye, yet have enough variety and color to envelope the prospects in the charm of the space as they walk through or view the pictures.

Perhaps a decorative vase, even without flowers, can be placed on the sideboard or corner table.

Two cocktail glasses on a tray with a cocktail shaker create a great, minimal decoration which contributes to the relaxed atmosphere, subtly inspiring the buyer with the desire to entertain guests.

If you choose to have a bowl of colorful fruit, a lamp, or any of the other choices from the plethora of possible decorations, keeping items grouped together in odd numbers creates a more appealing impression on the eye.

  • Out with the old. Now, you might really love your house and the charm of having some outdated components, but then again, if you’re selling the house, it’s time to bring some of the less expensive charms up to date.

Look around your dining room. Is the paint dirty or a dingy color? Is the wallpaper peeling or does it have a tacky or busy pattern that’s difficult to compliment?

You can find newer, more neutral wallpaper options and clean, neutral paint colors to easily blend with any furniture or accessories.

Think about big, open space and select the colors according to that. Staying away from dark colors and focusing on light and neutral blues, grays, yellows, and greens will give you the result you’re aiming towards.

If you prefer to go with white, keep it a matte blend and consider an off-tone such as eggshell or ivory.

What about the light fixtures or door handles? Bright and shiny brass or the yellow of so-called gold chandeliers or knobs speak of the tired and forgotten.

Affordable replacement options are available at any home improvement store.

You will notice the trend of brushed nickel or darker, brushed bronze doorknobs and handles, and will also see the elegant but modern chandelier and other light fixture choices.

Take a leap of faith even if you still prefer the older, shiny metal.

Your potential buyers will be more pleased, and in the end, you will win.

Main Living Room Staging

When it comes time to prepare the living room for the showing, the big question is whether to empty the room, or have it staged. Staging your home is actually the better option because it helps to convey how the space can be used properly, should the buyer have a lot of furniture that they would like to incorporate.

In fact, staging your home, especially the living room, can make all the difference in whether or not a buyer wants your home.

Tips for Staging Your Living Room

There are multiple ways you can incorporate staging into your living room to ensure that buyers fall in love with your home as soon as they walk through the door.

  • Have lamps plugged in and set up near the corners of the living room, to illuminate any and all dark corners, which will add more light and bright feelings to the room.
  • Do not block any of the windows or natural light sources, unless it’s a light curtain that is practically see through.
  • Only use small chairs and sofas to give the illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is.
  • Showcase lamb’s wool, satin, silk, and any soft fabrics by having throws overs chairs and sofas.
  • Place mirrors, paintings, and anything of the sort in the room to add more dimension and depth.
  • Create conversational areas by arranging the furniture in a vignette style.

Staging your living room is one of the most important things you need to do when selling a home, because it’s generally where company will be entertained.

Even if you do not have a lot of furniture staged in there, it helps to give the buyer a mental image of what they would do with their furniture, random items, and how they will see themselves within the room.

Giving a buyer a perfect mental picture of how they would do things and how they would entertain any guests within the living room is incredibly important, and will definitely help you to sell your home a lot faster.

The Importance of Traffic Areas

While staging your home, it’s incredibly important to keep traffic areas in mind, which need to be kept open to allow a good, natural flow.

Traffic areas are self-explanatory, but they are the areas where people will be traveling through a space,

the areas that will be walked through the most, and the areas where you will be showcasing your living room the most, so make the most of it.

If you have carpeted floors, then traffic areas will have already shown because of the years of traffic while you lived there.

Therefore, if there are traffic lines within your carpeted areas of your living room, be prepared to stage the room so they do not show.

With the proper amount of furniture and planning, traveling throughout your living room will be free of blemishes and will ensure that the buyer can have a perfect mental image of where they would place all of their belongings.

Identify and Utilize the Focal Point Within the Room

Focal points are specific features within a room that captures a buyer’s eye as soon as they enter the room.

All of the focal points within your living room need to be highlighted when you are staging your home, with the goal being to draw and enhance the eye on these special features, to ensure that the buyer instantly falls in love with the room.

The focal point in a living room is generally the fireplace, but if you do not have one, then your focal point is whatever is the largest, most dramatic object within the room.

A bookshelf, for example, could be further enhanced by placing books, candles, and a large mirror nearby.

The most common focal points within living rooms are as follows;

  • The fireplace
  • Arches, beams, ceilings, and walls that are angled
  • Height ceilings
  • Tray ceilings and other interesting details within the ceiling itself
  • Arched, bay, large, and other forms of windows that really stand out within the room
  • Reclaimed lumber, old brick, and other forms of featured walls
  • Entertainment centers
  • Bookcases that are built in

With a fireplace, hanging a large mirror or a large piece of art over it really adds perception, depth, and extra drama to the room, and will always draw a buyer’s eye successfully.

You could further enhance the fireplace by adding a beautiful vase, floral arrangement, candlesticks, or any object that will catch the eye of a buyer within a symmetrical line going across the mantle of the fireplace.

When it comes to focal points, symmetry is better than asymmetry because it helps enhance the focal point itself while keeping everything neat, tidy, and does not give a look of complete clutter.

For windows, however, ensure that they are kept completely open and do not have anything that could block the window itself or the view outside.

Staging Solutions & Options

Renting

If you don’t have the furniture that best compliments your home so that it’s dressed to impress, renting some can be a convenient option.  Also, if the house that you are selling is completely vacant, renting furniture might not only be convenient, but the smartest move.

Before getting started on the selection process, take into account what you have at home.

Storing away worn or dingy items is strongly recommended. Even just removing an old coffee table or couch can brighten up the space.

After you have done your best to comb through your house to rearrange or clear out furniture in each room, you can reassess to figure out whether or not you could use a few more pieces.

Whatever money you carefully spend on obtaining furniture will pay off when the home sells.

Much of the time, some renting is required to really create the effect you want, and even staging experts hired by homeowners resort to renting when in need of furniture.

How does one rent furniture?

  • Furniture rental companies. We don’t often hear about these types of companies unless we’re looking for them. Churchill Furniture Rental, Cort Furniture Rental, Brook Furniture Rental and AFR Furniture Rental are big names in the business.

These and other rental companies normally provide the furniture, the trucks, and the man-power to get it to its destination.

The only downside is that they also normally require a three-month minimum rental period.

Of course, if you happen to sell your home sooner, you’re not out any extra money for returning the furniture early.

  • Thrift shops or antique shops. If you have any of these in your area, you might consider asking to rent larger pieces of furniture.

You will not always be successful at this, but if you find something that would fit your needs, it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Instead of renting furniture, some experts suggest using cardboard furniture for a comparatively lower cost.

You can dress it up as standard furniture without anyone necessarily seeing the difference.

A lot of this furniture is durable enough to be sat upon, however, so that’s also a plus.

Whichever furniture option you choose, make sure that it is indeed the best for your particular situation and that it will bring you the greatest return on investment by either selling the house more quickly than expected, or selling for a higher price.

Affordable Options

Let’s talk a bit about budget. When exploring staging options, it’s possible to become overwhelmed by the price tag of renting furniture.

The great news is that by taking the time to re-evaluate and rearrange your current possessions, you will find that you may not have to rent much – if any – furniture at all.  This can save you money.

What else can save money and help make the sale? Here are a few tips:

  • Re-establish boundaries. If your living room is also the playroom, the toys need to go into hibernation. No one enjoys seeing colorful dolls and cars all over the floor – except the children, of course.

Do you golf in your hallway? Pack up the putting green.

  • Polishing. Do a deep and thorough cleaning of every single room, and pay attention to the smallest details. When was the last time that you polished the wood or washed the windows?

It’s time to do it now. Even the toilet should shine. Don’t forget the ceiling fans with their dusty blades.

  • Put away memories. It might be difficult to do if you are staying in the house until it sells, but it is now time to take down all of your family photos, certificates, sports banners, and anything else that has a personal touch.

You want the potential buyers to see the house as an immediate home for them, not to have them subconsciously weighed down with the need to clear the house of all your belongings.

  • Fresh air. There are those people who love to open the windows every morning to let the breeze rush through, and then there are those people who couldn’t be paid to open the windows.

Well, it’s time to think seriously about getting paid by potential buyers.

If you never allow fresh air to blow through your home, then it has most likely developed an unappealing odor. Open up!

Step back and look at your house with the eyes of a potential buyer who has never entered through the door.

Do a walk-around on the outside, and then go slowly through the house to see what can be cleared away or scrubbed down.

All of this might take some time, but it will save you money whether you are hiring a staging expert or doing it yourself.

DIY

Pinterest has become a great online resource for learning how to improve your living space through creative projects such as using picture frames to create attractive wall molding.

If you find out that you have enough furniture but just need to embellish your home a bit more, here are some ideas:

  • Brighten it up. Do you have a sad paint color in any or all rooms? Is the house monochromatic?

Consider re-painting rooms according to their purpose, such as using soft neutrals like mild yellows or creams that set off a glow when the sun shines in the dining room.

Add an accent wall in the living room by choosing a complementary color such as a calming sage green or a deep red against taupe walls. Whatever you do, make the home welcoming.

“Remember, you’re never fully dressed without a smile!” (Annie)

  • New clothes. What would happen if you wore the same shirt – without washing it – every day for a week? It’s time to re-dress the windows and sofas.

Updating the window coverings to compliment the paint color and re-covering or purchasing new accent sofa pillows that pop can create a quick upgrade to your home.

Also, make sure to update your bathroom collection with clean and bright towels and bathmats.

  • Bring it to life. Consider strategically adding a fresh plant or vase of flowers to the different rooms throughout the home.

The keyword is strategically. This does not mean adding a floor plant in every corner and putting a vase of flowers on every surface.

Also, be smart! You want to be careful to avoid flowers with heavy pollen such as lilies to discourage any allergic reactions among potential buyers.

  • Slow things down. Adding lightly-scented candles here and there and lighting them when showing the home will create a calmer atmosphere.

Again, be careful to avoid heavy scents that encourage sneezing or instant headaches. Recommended scents are cinnamon, vanilla, pine, and citrus.

  • Play music. Have you ever taken the time to notice the varying differences in music choices among the stores that you visit?

A very low background hum of classical music will add a level of sophistication to your home, releasing extra endorphins within the bodies of your potential buyers, and providing them with a sense of wealth as they stroll through the beautifully-arranged home.


Hiring a Professional vs. Doing It Yourself

Time is the most common denominator among homeowners during the home-selling process.

To conserve as much time for yourself as possible, you will want to delegate as many tasks as you can so that you will be free to focus on other important aspects of your move.

A professional home stager could be a real lifesaver. Staging experts often have acquired valuable experience that they can pass on to your home to increase its salability.

The staging professional or firm will create a theme in each room to compliment the layout, bring in the furniture and home décor needed to complete the themes throughout the house, and give you tips to use when showing the house such as what kind of fresh flowers to buy or scented candles to burn.

You might also consider that a staging expert or firm will make sure to provide the manpower needed to do the heavy lifting and moving of furniture throughout the house, and if any damage happens in the process, the stager covers the cost of repairs.

On the other hand, staging the home yourself could not only save you money, but could also allow you to put more of your own personality into the theme.

Having lived in the home yourself, you are more familiar with its pros and cons indoors and outdoors such as the need for more light in a certain room or making sure that the lawn is treated for weeds to keep them from sprouting up overnight.

Your goal is to gain the highest return on investment when your house sells. If you believe you can achieve this by staging on your own, then go for it, otherwise, spend the little extra on a professional upfront to reap the benefits at the sale.

What to Expect with a Pro

True staging pros run a very smooth operation.   Of course, anyone can make mistakes, but fumbling around for something to write on or asking for your pen is already a red flag. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Ask around. Don’t just select a random name from online and hire the stager. Ask your realtor, other realtors, and friends about their experiences and ask for a referral.

Then, interview several pros and select the one who could provide the best value to you.

  • You get what you pay for. If the price tag is low, it’s probable that the quality of service offered will match that price.

If your stager is a well-known expert in the field, your price tag will definitely be considerably higher than someone running a summer gig.

Can your potential stager provide references and photos of successful past projects?

  • They ask you many questions. Just like a doctor, the staging pro wants as much information from you about your needs as possible.

On your part, you also need to ask many questions during the initial consultation to make sure that this is the stager for you.

Ask questions like how do they work out their rates, how long they will take, what you could do on your end to keep the costs down, have they staged homes in the past and how many, and whether or not they’ll expect anything from you during the process.

  • They are staging pros. Not realtors. Not bankers. However, they do need to know enough about real estate to ensure that they know what they’re aiming for in increasing a home’s salability.

Their job is to make your home as appealing as possible to potential buyers, so they will not (and should not) talk to you about negotiating pricing with those buyers.

  • Be prepared to change your ways. The stager will want you to follow certain guidelines if you will be living in the staged house.

This will help keep the rooms in order and ready for viewing. If you won’t be living in the house, it’s going to be much easier to keep the home clean and ready to show. However, make sure to get in and dust regularly.

Real staging pros should make you feel confident about the quality of their work.

If you have any negative internal reaction during your initial consultation, run in the other direction and find someone you can trust. If you want to sell your home, it’s ultimately your responsibility to make it happen.

Dealing With Animals Or Children When Staging

If you have decided to put your home for sale on the market, you will have to consider all types of buyers; those who love pets and those who don’t. There can be many reasons behind that thinking so there is no need to be judgmental.

Before putting a house for sale in which pets have lived with the owners, you are going to need to do a lot of retouching and cleaning. You should move your pets temporarily to some other home, until till you get a new home for yourself.

Animal or Children Damage and Solutions

Children and animals damage things, there’s no denying that. There has to be a way to fix up the damages, remove the pets from site temporarily, and make the house look as if it had never been lived in by animals or small children. Here are some solutions to help you clean up the “mess” and make your visitors comfortable with the place.

  • Stains on the Floor – If you have carpeted floors, the stains might be difficult to remove. You can seek professional help when it comes to cleaning or washing the carpets, not just to remove stains but also to make them appear clean.

Wooden floors are susceptible to pet scratches and scratches made with toys by children. Consider refinishing if that’s the case in order to make the floor look new and almost unused.

  • Pet Odors and Smells – This is one thing most home buyers would definitely not want in their new home. Living in a house with pets makes you immune to the smell, but when an outsider pays a visit, they can instantly whiff pet smells in the house.

Use some professional solution to make these odors go away but don’t use air fresheners. These only provide a temporary solution.

  • Signs of a Pet – You don’t want your visitors to sense that a pet has been living in the house. Remove serving bowls, pet toys, pet beds, litter boxes and other things that belong to your pets to give a good first impression. Make sure you remove all pet things from all rooms. Don’t put up photos of your pets.

When it comes to kids, decluttering is one thing that helps achieve a big part of their clean-up. It is recommended to start at least a week earlier than the date you want to put the house on the market. Some sellers with kids allow at least a two-hour notice period for showing. This is to clean the house, clear the clutter, and remove or hide any freshly-made stains or scratches.

If there aren’t any hidden cabinets in your home where you can dump the entire clutter if somebody wants to see your home in ten minutes, be prepared to use the car trunk to throw the debris and clean up the place quickly.

Pay special attention to kids’ bedroom when decluttering your entire house. Organize the cupboards, pack away off-the-season clothes, put away some unused or broken toys, and get rid of gear that is no longer needed.

When you are done staging, take excellent photos of the kids’ bedroom as well as the lawn or front yard, to put them with an ad. Repainting is another important step when you decide to sell off your home that has been lived in by small children. If the walls are dirty, nobody would be interested in buying your home.

If you have older kids at home, get them involved with the staging process and tell them just how great it would be to move into a new home. Ask them to clean up their own room, and provide them with boxes or cartons to store away things they don’t need.

While kids at home can pose serious threat to your staging efforts, they can also become an inspiration for some people. For example, if you have a children’s playroom or toys room in the house, you can de-clutter it and make it neat and clean to show it off to the visitors.

Similarly, children’s study area can be an attractive thing for some buyers who have kids of their own and who would like to buy a place that is child-friendly.