If you want your home to sell quickly and for the highest possible price, home staging is a worthy investment. Professionally staged homes close as much as 10% higher than the list price and stay on the market, on average, 65% less than homes not staged. Professionally staged homes often have offers and contracts coming in within 30 days of being on the market.
While it may seem time-consuming or expensive, home staging is certainly better than a price reduction when the home’s décor is not speaking to buyers. Think of home staging like you would an important job interview. You may invest in a new suit, just to make the best impression. Home staging is really no different – you want your home to stand out to buyers and sell for the highest possible price.
Like an employer interviewing dozens of candidates, home buyers are touring multiple properties, weighing the pros and cons of each one. So how do you end up a finalist among all the competition? Here are seven of the best strategies to stage your home for a successful sale:
Create a Lifestyle
Play up what your neighborhood is known for. Particularly here in Napa Valley, any design element that reminds buyers of the wine country lifestyle is a huge selling feature. And remember that a large number of buyers are second home buyers and they don’t come here to buy a home, they come here to buy a lifestyle. So the grounds, a vegetable garden, fruit trees a hammock and outdoor dining speak to them. Cloth napkins, wine glasses and solid plates on dining tables show buyers your home is perfect for entertaining. Travel images convey a desirable lifestyle while also creating a great focal point for a room.
Improve Curb Appeal
In home-buying, first impressions start at the curb, or at the entry to your wine country home. Many buyers, before considering a tour, will do a quick drive-by. Power wash siding and walkways, repaint if needed, and create a clean, attractive landscape. A new, decorative welcome mat and fresh plants by the entry show that a home is well taken care of. And keep the porch lights on at night – you never know when a potential buyer may sneak a peek.
Clear Out the Clutter
As you clean your home from top to bottom, box up the knick-knacks and stash away all that extra stuff piled on counters and tabletops. A clean and well-organized space allows buyers to focus on your home’s best features. Another bonus is it creates more floor and surface space, which helps maximize square footage. And don’t forget to clean your closets. Storage space is an important feature, so hiding all your personal stuff or junk in a closet isn’t a good strategy.
Transform unused or awkward spaces so that each room has an obvious purpose. This is about maximizing square footage, so show the potential of every space including alcoves and window seats. A finished basement or attic has numerous possibilities and can be transformed into an entertainment room, workout space, or office.
Don’t take it personally, but buyers don’t want to see how you live in your home – they need to imagine how they will live there. Buyers need a clean slate to work with – so put away the family mementos and photos and clear the fridge of artwork. If you have children, put away the toys. Consider repainting bright or custom-colored walls a warm, neutral color. A clean space with neutral colors that don’t compete with the exterior will appeal to a larger number of buyers.
Make It Inviting
After removing all of your personal items, make sure your home appears warm and inviting by adding a few final design touches. Fresh flowers in the dining room or kitchen and clean, plush towels in the bathroom are inexpensive and simple strategies. Clear the bathroom counter of any used products and display nice soaps, hand creams and candles.
Let the Light In
Your home’s natural light can be one of your best advantages. Open curtains and blinds and add lighting where it’s needed. Outdated light fixtures should be replaced. Existing fixtures should, at the very least, be dusted and thoroughly cleaned. In rooms that are naturally dark, add a mirror (preferably across from a window) to pull more light in and give the room a brighter appearance.