12 DIY Home Staging Tips for Maximum Buyer AppealMarch 2, 2016
It would be nice to think that your house is picture perfect and ready to sell. Chances are, you’ve got some work to do. It’s easier than you think to get your home ready, and you don’t need to hire a stager to do it. Let’s look at 12 DIY home staging tips that are easy on the pocketbook.
1. Curb appeal: trim, sweep, touch-up.
The front yard is all about curb appeal: if the front yard is appealing, buyers will have a positive attitude heading inside. Sweat is free, so get out there and clean up your front and back yard:
- Trim trees and bushes, especially those blocking windows and doors.
- Grab that leftover exterior paint and touch up the siding and front door; make sure there’s no peeling paint (best to sand and repaint those sections).
- Give the porch some life with healthy flowers for the porch; evergreens and succulents also work. If you’ve got an interesting chair (wood or metal), put the flowers on it.
- If you’ve got a little cash, refresh old much with a layer of new (about $3/bag) and repaint the front door.
- Use a green-colored patch filler for holes in the grass.
- Remove old doormats. Only replace it if you’re willing to get a very nice, neutral one.
2. Clean, clean, clean: and then clean some more.
Nothing says fresh and new like a super clean house. Get those windows sparkling inside and out, including the sills and tracks. Pay attention to light switches, door and trim. Think it’s clean? Grab your OCD friend and you’ll be amazed at what you missed.
3. Declutter: this isn’t an episode of Hoarders.
Look through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for beautiful homes with attractive pictures. What do you see? (Hint: no clutter!) This is a DIY home staging essential.
- Clean, clutter-free surfaces – from kitchens and bathrooms to side tables – this is a must.
- Bookshelves/built-ins/closets with only a few items (show them the space, not your stuff)
- Minimal furniture. Filling a room with furniture makes it feel cramped. For example, if you’ve got a couch, loveseat and oversized chair, try taking out one piece.
- Just get rid of stuff. Throw out broken things, give away or sell useful things and, if you still have treasures you’re saving, consider a small storage unit.
4. Depersonalize: it’s not about you.
Buyers want to imagine their family life, not yours.
- Take down family pictures. After all, buyers want a house for their family, not yours. Be sure to fill the holes and paint.
- Put away the collections. You might enjoy your tin lunchbox collection, but it’s very specific to you (and adds clutter).
5. Remove non-neutral décor items.
Your life-sized stuffed bear might scare some buyers away. Keep the décor neutral (again, think of a model home).
6. Fix what’s broken: look through a buyer’s eyes.
You’ve probably walked past that cracked switch plate a hundred times and stopped seeing it. A buyer will see it and wonder what else has been neglected. These easy fixes are inexpensive but go a long way for consumer confidence:
You’ve probably walked past that cracked switch plate a hundred times and stopped seeing it. A buyer will see it and wonder what else has been neglected.
- Turn everything on and off: replace bulbs, fix the rattling ceiling fan.
- No exposed or loose wires: wrap them properly and put them behind a faceplate — only if you know what you’re doing; otherwise spend the money on an electrician.
- Open and close drawers and cabinets: repair wonky drawers, loose hinges and minor scratches.
- Don’t neglect the tile: clean the grout, replace cracked tiles. Regrout and/or re-do caulking if necessary.
7. Give appliances a facelift: would a buyer want to use your stove?
If your appliance is in good working order, make sure it looks clean and like new.
- Replace the drip pans on electric stoves and clean the fan filters.
- Touch up scratches or use an appliance spray paint – this is especially useful if you have, for example, black appliances and a white fridge.
- Some older dishwashers have reversible front panels (maybe there’s a more appealing color on the back).
8. Give the bathrooms a makeover: make it fresh!
Put away all personal products and put one nice candle or décor item on the counter.
- Replace the toilet seat and get a new, neutral shower curtain (sorry kids, no Finding Nemo).
- Remove tired-looking glass doors on a tuband put up a curtain rod.
- Brass shower enclosure trim can be spray painted with modern metal finishes. Make sure you adequately cover all other surfaces and quickly wipe up any overspray.
- Swap out the blah builder-grade mirror with a framed decorative mirror (a good place for a unique flea-market find, or go to a discount home goods store). If you’re handy, you can trim down and frame the existing mirror.
- Ban the honey oak: paint or restain your cabinets. Black, cream and darker stains such as walnut are in (if you’re stuck with honey oak floors, at least there will be some contrast).
- Consider adding or replacing handles and drawer pulls (simple and modern is more appealing and cheaper than the fancy, scroll-y big hardware).
9. Carpet: would you put a baby on it?
DIY home staging must include clean carpets. Even if you’re giving a carpet allowance, buyers have a hard time looking at stains (they wonder what else might be dirty). It’s inexpensive to rent a carpet cleaning machine from your local grocery or hardware store. If your carpet is a neutral color, in good condition but has some ripples, consider having it stretched.
TIP: save money by making your own cleaning solution of 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water.
10. Lighting: set the mood with updated fixtures.
Make sure light fixtures (inside and out) and ceiling fans are clean.
- Cover dated brass with a metal spray paint in nickel or bronze (depending on your architecture).
- Replace lampshades that are broken/dirty with plain, modern ones.
- New shades on pendant lights also give an instant remodeled touch.
- If you can swing it, replace those awful theater-dressing-room lights in the bathroom.
11. Accessories: make everything look new and updated.
If you can’t change your furniture or rent some, clean the surfaces and use fresh accent pieces: throw pillows, blankets, candles and other inexpensive accoutrements. If you’re actively showing your home, put the pillows away when you’re home so Fido doesn’t drool on it.
12. Paint: instant like-new status.
Nothing says “newly remodeled” like paint. Go neutral, think model home beige. The same color throughout the house is desirable, but at the very least do this for the common areas. No matter how much you love that red accent wall, it’s gotta go (again, it’s not about you). Compared to new flooring or carpet, you get a lot of bang for less bucks. Check with your homeowners association — some have a discount on paint through a local retailer. This is the DIY home staging tip you shouldn’t skip.
Redefy is a full service brokerage saving you thousands with flat fee listings! Because you’ve got more important things to spend your equity on – like fluffy new pillows and a gourmet kitchen in your new home!