Staging your home when you cannot afford to stage your home!

The idea of “staging” a home has slowly evolved in Real Estate. Over the years I have met with many customers in ALL different price brackets.  I have seen the power of a traditionally staged home costing thousands of dollars.  I have also witnessed customer who thought the whole idea of home staging was “hogwash”.  The bulk of my customers fall in between these 2 categories and is the area I will be focusing on.

Why stage a home?  Well, that’s easy, statistics say that you are 6% more likely to sell your home (and for more $$$) when properly staged.

What does staging mean?  According to Wikipedia Home staging is the act of preparing a private residence for sale in the real estate marketplace. The goal of staging is to make a home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling a property more swiftly and for more money.

Most people equate the act of staging the home to an HGTV Special where they bring in 3 trucks full of furniture and fancy artwork and an army of people to transform the home into something amazing.

Realistically, this type of staging makes up only a very small percentage of “staging” in the industry.  What we want to discuss are 4 concepts to keep in mind when preparing your home for the market.  We talk about these concepts with our customers routinely.

  1. CDD – Clean, Declutter & De-personalize.  This is common sense and is in just about any google search on staging but in a good percentage of listings, this concept is overlooked.  First, clean your home as if Mr. Clean himself was coming to inspect every crevice of your home.  If your home looks, feels and smells clean, buyers tend to spend longer looking around.  Next comes the cathartic task of getting rid of “stuff”.  We all accumulate it and what better time than now to purge your earthly belongings.  DON’T throw it all away!  Consider Goodwill, garage sales, or the college kid down the street who is off to live in a dorm.  I mean, how many of us have a coffee maker and a Keurig. And when was the last time you made homemade bread? When preparing your home for the market, buyers want to try to envision themselves living at the home.  They don’t want to walk the “hall of fame” where you have single-handedly hung 327 photos of your kids, parents, grandparents and Christmas photos for the last 15 years.  Take these items down, fix any holes and then re-paint where the image faded an imprint in the old paint.  This literally could be completed before lunchtime.
  2. Clean Line Of Sight – The feeling of an open area in this era is what people are after. People like to be able to see and walk through a home easily.  If your home feels like American Ninja Warrior walking from the front door to the living room, there might be a problem.  Putting furniture in front of natural pathways or blocking doors (sliding doors) needs to be avoided at all cost. Less is more in “most cases”.
  3. Update fixtures –  Now this may not fall directly under the umbrella of staging, but I see this time and again when taking buyers through a home.  The dated light fixtures and peeling gold sink handles have to go.  It is amazing what new light fixtures and kitchen/bathroom fixtures can do for a home at a VERY low cost.
  4. FIX THINGS –  I recently took a buyer through a”flipped” investment home in a very desirable area.  They were asking TOP dollar for this home.  From a distance, it looked like everything was grand, but as we toured the home, you could see a lot of the simple things were overlooked starting with a crooked front door that wouldn’t close.  Cracks, old water stains, sliding doors that don’t “slide” or lock are easy fixes. Closets that are off track or missing handles puts people off no matter how “pretty” the home is.
  5. ****BONUS   – Put in the DAMN light bulbs…Sorry, this one kills me every time. Every bulb in your home should work…period!

Following these concepts puts everyone on the right track to sell their home for the best price in the least amount of time! Good luck and don’t forget those light bulbs!


Matthew Allen

Broker/Owner of Realty International (The Allen Real Estate Team)