The key to selling your home faster? Stage it like a pro

The key to selling your home faster?  Stage it like a pro
The key to selling your home faster?  Stage it like a pro

If you’re selling a home, staging is one of the most effective ways to attract serious offers. According to the National Association of Realtors’ biennial report, 82% of buyers said that staging helped them more easily visualize the home while their future digs. “You need to get your house ready for the red carpet of real estate,” says George Bass, owner of Dallas-based George Bass Stage & Design. “It needs to be dressed up to the nines.”

What does staging actually entail? The details depend on your property – but generally staging is about adding (or removing) decor as well as changing furniture. “Bringing in really great, modern and sophisticated furniture can set the stage for how elegant the house can look,” says Realtor Richard Graziano with Allie Beth Allman & Associates. It also gives a sense of scale. “Buyers don’t have that much of a view often,” explains Graziano, “and staging helps show the proportion of the space.”

This home that George Bass staged feels crisp, clean and tidy – qualities that appeal to buyers.(Patrick Flores for full media package)

Whether you need a complete overhaul or tweaking the current style, staging makes a home look its best for showing photos and showings. In the Realtor Association analysis, 31% of seller’s agents said staging reduced the time the home spent on the market. “You create an atmosphere where buyers don’t have to think too much,” notes Bass. “They pull the trigger a lot faster.”

5 tips for staging your home

Even if you don’t hire a professional stager, you can give your house the right look and feel with these five tips:

Start early. It takes time to stage your home, especially the first steps of decluttering and organizing. “You’ll surprise yourself when you think you don’t have that much,” says Bass. “Start that process now. The sooner the better.” The most important places to clean up include built-ins and the mantle.

In this entry, the windows are sparkling clean, letting in the beautiful light of the backyard. “Buyers want comfort, security, privacy, plenty of space and natural light,” says Bass.(Patrick Flores for full media package)

Take the time for a deep cleaning. “The house has to be in top shape,” says Bass. “Whether it’s a 900-square-foot apartment or a 30,000-square-foot mansion, it’s a job. It’s hard work.” And make sure windows are on your to-do list. “Buyers want comfort, security, privacy, good space and natural light,” he shares—so give the windows a good shine to make the most of the light you have. You should also thoroughly clean everywhere your pets spend a lot of time. It’s best to move out dog beds, litter boxes and the like when you have potential buyers in the home.

Create an illusion of space. One way to maximize your square footage is to move your furniture around. Move furniture off walls (it’s counterintuitive, but it makes the room feel bigger), and consider removing some items. Make sure furniture doesn’t block important features in your home, such as windows and the fireplace.

Do you want to sell your home? Attract buyers with these 5 important tips

Keep things light and bright. “We need to create a neutral palette,” notes Bass, adding that paint is one of the easiest ways to transform your space. He recommends covering your walls in a beautiful white or other neutral. This will help the home feel fresh and is especially important if the fixtures and other features are a bit out of date. Of course, you don’t want your home to be boring. Liven up the neutrals with colorful accessories, such as cushions, artwork or plants.

Depersonalize the home. “We don’t need to see your honors, your degrees, your family photos,” Bass says. “Take them down.” While this tip helps buyers envision their own family in the room, it’s also a safety measure for the seller. “We don’t know who enters the house. If you have pictures of young children or teenagers, even single women or single men, it’s best to remove all pictures.” But don’t leave the walls empty. Add some generic art, keeping scale and proportions in mind.

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