A Home Staging Guide To Help Increase Property Sales
Even though Denver is currently a seller’s market, selling your home isn’t as simple as just listing it. Homebuyers tend to be very picky about the house they decide to buy, and for a good reason: for many, it will be the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. It will require a lot of work to sell your property. Not only will you need to attract potential homebuyers, but you’ll also need to convince them that your house is their best option. Besides marketing your home correctly, this will also require you to stage your home.
The purpose of staging your home is to showcase what your house looks like when it’s completely furnished and decorated. As you can imagine, staging an empty house requires a lot of thought and effort. However, don’t assume that if you (or the current occupant) haven’t moved out of your house, there’s no need to do any staging. Just because your home is still furnished doesn’t mean it doesn’t need staging work. With this in mind, here is everything you need to know about staging your property to sell.
What Are The Benefits Of Staging Your Home?
First things first — what’s the point of staging a house? Renting all of the furniture and decor you need to stage your home can be time-consuming and expensive. Will it really have that big of an impact on potential buyers? After all, if your house has everything they’re looking for, will it being empty have any adverse effect on them? These are all valid questions. However, staging has a much more significant impact on the sale of a home than you might realize. Just consider the following benefits of home staging:
Motivate Buyers To See The House In Person
These days, buyers will look online at properties for sale in Denver before they decide to visit in person. This saves them a significant amount of time during the homebuying process. When they look at a listing, it’s the pictures that will determine whether they are interested or not. A listing without images won’t generate much interest — people want to see what the house looks like, after all. However, if the pictures are of empty rooms, your listing won’t stand out because most empty rooms all look the same.
Provide Sense Of Scale To Each Room
When looking at your property’s online pictures online, trying to determine a room’s size may be difficult. It will be much easier for buyers to assess precisely how spacious a room is if it is furnished. Furnishing your home will also help buyers who are touring your home in person to get a better idea of how big each room is. When you walk into an empty room, it can be difficult to imagine what furniture will fit there and what won’t. For example, if you have a smaller bedroom, a buyer might be unsure as to whether their bed will fit in it comfortably. If you stage the bedroom, you can show them that it will work so that this thought never crosses their mind.
Leave A Good First Impression
Whenever a buyer schedules a personal tour or shows up for an open house, you will want to leave a good first impression. Even if your home fits all of their needs down to a T, any negative qualities can affect their initial impression, causing lingering doubts if they decide to consider a purchase. A furnished house is more welcoming and inviting than an empty house. Keep in mind that an unstaged home can make your house feel smaller than it is. By staging your home, you immediately show off its potential, which will only impress buyers.
Allow Homebuyers To Imagine Themselves Living There
Not everybody can envision themselves living in an empty house. When you stage a home, you show potential buyers what it could look like when fully furnished and decorated. They will be able to see where they can put their couch and their TV, and they will be able to imagine themselves at home with greater ease. If you keep your house empty, it will be much more difficult for many buyers to get a sense of what it would be like to live there. An empty house feels cold, small, and uninviting – feelings that will linger when they try to imagine themselves living there.
Showcase The Purpose of Each Room
To you, the purpose of each room might be obvious. Not so to many of the potential buyers who will visit your house. For example, maybe the first room they encounter is the dining room; however, buyers might initially think it’s the living room if it’s not staged. Their first thought will be that it’s too small before they realize that it’s not the living room. While this will be corrected once they see the living room, that initial adverse reaction will affect their first impression. Or maybe you have a room that’s perfect for a home office. If it’s not staged as such, potential buyers might mistake it for a bedroom that’s way too small for their needs. Home staging helps prevent buyers from misunderstanding the function of any given space.
Create The Perception Of Value
We know it’s strange to say, but a well-staged home will look like it has more value than an empty house. Furniture and decor are expensive, which means adding it to an empty room makes it feel like it has more value. A room that remains empty is just going to remind buyers that they will have to fill it up with their furniture — or that they are going to have to spend even more money purchasing new furniture to fill the space up. Of course, nobody believes that this is true, but it’s the perception of value that matters here as it has a significant impact on their initial impression of your home.
Obtain A Competitive Advantage Over Other Sellers
Not only will buyers look at hundreds of listings online, but they’ll also visit many in person. It’s estimated that the average buyer will look at around ten homes for ten weeks before finding a house they want to bid on. With that in mind, you’ll want to do everything you can to make your property stand out from the competition. Since not every seller will stage their homes, staging yours can provide you with a significant competitive advantage.
Make The Home Appear To Be Move-In Ready
You would think that a staged home wouldn’t leave the impression that it’s move-in ready. After all, the house will need to be emptied before you can move in. However, it does leave this impression for one reason: a furnished house looks like a finished house, meaning that most buyers will assume that there are no issues that need to be addressed. It looks like someone could live there right now, which provides peace of mind.
How Much Does Home Staging Cost?
The cost of staging a house depends on a variety of factors. To stage an empty home, you will need to rent both furniture and decor. The larger the house is, the more it will cost to furnish. You may also want to hire a professional stager who will be able to stage your home in a way that highlights its strengths. Staging can be challenging when you do it on your own. A professional will evaluate each room and determine how much furniture is needed, the type of furniture, the size of the furniture, and where it should be placed. Some skill is required to create an interior design that is both visually appealing and cohesive.
The national average cost of staging a house is $1,229. But you can expect to pay anywhere from $517 to $1,949 based on your needs. On top of that, the longer it takes to sell your property, the more it will cost to keep it staged. Renting furniture for an entire house for an extended period can cost thousands of dollars.
When working with a professional stager, expect to pay between $150 and $600 for a thorough consultation. Professional staging done following the consultation will cost upwards of $600/month for every room. Of course, this is if you need to stage the entire house, and there’s no existing furniture or decor to work with. Furnishing and decorating an occupied home will usually require a one-time fee, often less than $1,000.
Finally, staging doesn’t just involve furnishing and decorating your home. Adding a new coat of paints to your walls, refinishing your kitchen cabinets, making minor repairs, thoroughly cleaning your house can all cost money as well — especially if you don’t have the time or know-how to do these tasks yourself.
Is Home Staging Worth The Cost?
If you have an empty house that you’re putting on the market, then you can expect to pay a few thousand dollars to stage your home. That’s a substantial amount of money at first glance. However, it’s well worth the investment for two main reasons:
Staged Homes Sell Faster Than Empty Homes
According to the RESA (Real Estate Staging Association), houses that were not staged spent an average of 143 days on the market. Homes that were staged before they were listed only spent an average of 23 days on the market. When you consider how much money you lose, the longer your house goes unsold (you are still paying for taxes, insurance, and other associated costs, after all), selling your home as quickly as possible should be a priority.
Staged Homes Sell For More Than Non-Staged Homes
Staging your home can save you money by helping you sell your property faster. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) published a study not long ago, indicating that 58 percent of realtors believe that buyers submit higher offers for staged homes than those that are not. There’s a genuine chance that you’ll not only save money by staging your home, you could also make more money from the sale itself.
10 Denver Home Staging Tips To Help Sell Your Property
Now that we’ve (hopefully) convinced you of the benefits of home staging, let’s go into what it takes to stage a home successfully. Merely adding random pieces of furniture to your home isn’t going to cut it. The benefits of home staging are dependent on whether you do a good job staging or not. A poorly staged home could have the opposite results. The following are 10 of the best home staging practices that you should follow:
1. Brighten Up Your Space
First of all, light is necessary to take high-quality photographs. Without proper lighting, the pictures on your listing will be challenging to make out. Secondly, a dark home will have a poor first impression on buyers who view your house in-person. A dark home is not inviting — and it can even feel scary or foreboding. And a lack of light can make a room feel smaller than it is. The following are a few tips for brightening up each room:
Open Up Curtains And Blinds
Natural light provides the best type of lighting. Before showing a house, you should always open up all blinds and curtains. You want as much natural light to come into each room as possible.
Replace Dead Or Dying Bulbs
Poor lighting often comes down to the fact that the bulbs simply need to be changed. If a room doesn’t seem well lit despite the lights being on, you may need brighter bulbs. At the very least, replace all dead bulbs. The last thing you want is to show a potential buyer a room only to find that the light doesn’t work. It is difficult to show them any space in the dark, especially if there are no windows.
Add Task And Accent Lighting
Overhead lighting is rarely enough. Even if the bulbs are brand new, the lighting will be very one-dimensional. Task lighting and accent lighting in table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces, and more can help add better lighting. They will also make the interior design much more flattering by adding more depth.
2. Prep Your Property For Staging
There’s a lot more to staging a house than just adding furniture and decor. You’ll need to prepare your home for staging as well by doing the following:
Make Repairs Where Needed
Addressing significant repair needs is essential. You can’t sell a house with a giant hole in your roof, after all (unless you’re trying to sell your home as a fixer-upper). However, minor repairs are a must as well. Even things like a broken tile in the bathroom or a loose door handle in the bedroom should be addressed. Smaller issues like these take away from your staging efforts and impart a poor impression on buyers.
Clutter can make a room feel dirty as well as cramped. Go through the entire home and remove all clutter. Either remove it from the property altogether or organize it in your storage spaces, such as your closets, cabinets, or drawers. For the most part, keep surfaces throughout your home clean and clear.
A buyer will know that a dirty window isn’t going to affect the value of the house. However, if they notice it, it will undoubtedly hurt their overall impression of your home, even if it’s subconsciously. Have your house professionally cleaned, from windows to floors and everything in between.
3: Consider Repainting Your Walls
A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for your home’s appearance and can give your home a newer look. Repainting your walls can also update your interior design. It’s not uncommon for rooms to be painted in colors that match the homeowner’s unique style. The current look could be outdated. It would help if you stuck to neutral colors when it comes to painting your interior. Neutral colors are the most inoffensive to look at and reduce the risk that you put off potential buyers who have different sensibilities regarding the use of color.
4. Stage Each Room In Order Of Priority
As previously mentioned, staging can be expensive. Staging can be costly if you have a large house with a lot of different rooms. It’s a good idea to stage each room in order of priority. This can help you save money on less critical spaces and ensure that the essential rooms are adequately staged. The following are the three areas of the house that should be considered top priorities when staging your property:
Very few living rooms are alike. The living room is the most social room in the house, which is why you must stage it properly. Showcase how furniture can be arranged to promote social engagement and where the most effective focal point is. For instance, if you have a fireplace, this is likely your living space’s focal point. You may even want to put a TV above the fireplace if this is the best place to put it.
Everyone knows how a bedroom looks. However, staging your master bedroom is important because you want to provide a sense of scale to buyers. A bedroom may seem small without any furniture, especially if there’s no natural lighting available. Adding a bed and other complementary furniture can showcase exactly how much will fit.
For buyers, the kitchen is one of the essential areas of the house. While staging will be limited (the kitchen’s cabinets and appliances will be permanent features, after all), there’s still a lot you can do to highlight its function. For instance, if there’s an island, you could add stools to highlight that it can be used as a secondary dining area. Or if the kitchen is exceptionally spacious, there may be room for a small breakfast table and chairs. If you don’t stage the extra space, buyers may not realize that the kitchen could serve as an additional eating space.
5. Focus On Showcasing The Function of Each Space
Staging can sometimes place too much focus on creating a certain aesthetic. While your home’s look is undoubtedly crucial to creating a lasting impression, it’s equally vital that you highlight each room’s function. For example, if your living room has a small nook that’s perfect for a home office, then you should stage it as such. Otherwise, potential buyers may not know what that nook can be used for. Instead, they may be confused by the unique shape of the living room. When planning how you stage each room, focus on showcasing its function first, then making it visually appealing.
6. Use Best Interior Design Practices To Stage Each Space
Good interior design is both an art and a science. Simply throwing a few pieces of furniture into each room won’t cut it. Where your furniture is placed and how it works together with the rest of your decor has an enormous effect on whether the room was successfully staged. The following are a couple of interior design practices that should be followed when staging each room:
Create A Focal Point In Each Room
Every room should have a focal point. In some cases, there will be natural focal points. For instance, if your living room has a fireplace, this will likely be the focal point. Empty spaces with no unique architectural features will require you to create a focal point. In the bedroom, for example, the bed would be the most obvious focal point. Without a strong focal point, the interior design for that space won’t be cohesive.
Use The 60-30-10 Rule
The 60-30-10 rule refers to the use of color in your interior design. To create a balanced aesthetic, 60 percent of the furniture and decor in any given room should use your primary color choice. Thirty percent of the furniture and decor you use should use your secondary color, and the remaining 10 percent should use accent colors. Primary colors are typically reserved for larger furniture pieces and walls, while secondary colors are for accent walls and chairs, bedding, and the like. The accent colors are usually reserved for decorative accessories, such as throw pillows.
7. Take The Season Into Account When Decorating
The way people decorate their homes, no matter where they live tends to reflect the time of year. You should do the same when staging a home. If prospective buyers are walking in out of the snow, having a house decorated like it’s summertime (such as through the use of beach decor and the like) is going to be jarring. Instead, introduce elements that reflect the current season. If it’s fall, add colors that reflect the falling leaves, such as red, orange, and yellow. You can do this in the form of accent pillows. Of course, if it’s winter, you don’t want to make it feel cold in your home. Instead, add elements of warmth, such as area rugs or throw blankets.
8. Add Inviting Scents To Your Home
Staging isn’t limited to how things look. The way your home smells will affect buyers as well. It’s why cleaning your home is so important. No buyer will be able to get over a bad smell, no matter how much effort you’ve put into furnishing and decorating the house. Introduce pleasant scents to your homes, such as adding flowers to the living room, scented candles in the bathroom, or cookies baking in the kitchen. Pleasant aromas contribute to a more welcoming atmosphere. Just make sure that the scents you do introduce aren’t overwhelming.
9. Don’t Forget To Stage Your Home’s Exterior
It’s easy to forget about your property’s exterior when it comes to home staging. Most people think of indoor furniture and decor when they think about staging. However, staging the home exterior is crucial to attracting potential buyers. The following are a few of the details you’ll want to address to stage your home exterior successfully.
Your home’s entrance is the exterior focal point. Be sure that the attention of anyone passing by your home is immediately drawn to the front door. Consider staging the entryway using items such as a welcome mat, potted plants, and even a piece of outdoor furniture if it fits the space (such as a bench or rocking chair).
An overgrown lawn full of clutter won’t leave a good impression on anybody. Buyers driving around looking for houses on the market won’t consider scheduling a personal showing or attending an open house if your outdoor space is a mess. The grass should be cut, the bushes trimmed, and all clutter should be removed (such as garden tools, dead leaves, and more). If it’s winter and your lawn is covered in snow, make sure the driveway is plowed, and the pathways are shoveled.
Good lighting isn’t just for inside your house. Many potential buyers may visit in the evening when it’s dark out. Exterior lighting ensures that your property is safe and can highlight various features as well. For instance, pathway lighting draws the eye to the entrance (and makes your home more accessible), while uplighting can help highlight various landscaping features (such as flowerbeds or trees) that you would like people to see even at night.
Outdoor Living Spaces
Don’t leave outdoor spaces like porches or decks bare. Otherwise, potential buyers won’t notice them. Stage them using outdoor furniture to highlight that they exist and showcase how they can be used.
10. Get Help Staging Your Home From A Professional Staging Service
We suggest you strongly consider working with a professional stager. While you could go about staging your home on your own using existing furniture and decor, a professional will know the best practices and current design trends. They will highlight each room’s function while elevating the aesthetics and leaving the best possible impression on buyers. Professional stagers will also have connections throughout Denver, allowing them to obtain better rates on higher-quality furnishing and decor to stage your home with.
Common Staging Mistakes To Avoid
Since poor home staging can hurt a buyer’s impression of your house, you’ll want to know what some of the biggest staging mistakes are. These are a few common home staging mistakes that you should be sure to avoid:
Using Too Many Personal Items
Although you want to create an inviting atmosphere, you’ll want to do so without making your home feel like it belongs to someone other than the buyer. One of the goals is to make it easy for the buyer to imagine themselves living there. If you’re relying too much on personal items to stage your house, buyers can end up feeling like they’re wandering through a stranger’s home. With that in mind, don’t do the following:
Rely Solely On Your Furniture
Your style may be more eclectic, and some of your furniture may not be the best fit for specific rooms. It’s why you may still need to rent additional furniture pieces that will fit the space better. You need to create a cohesive interior design, which means not all of your furniture and decor may be useful for staging the house.
Using Everything You Have
If you are planning on using your furniture, you may not need to use it all. In some cases, subtracting furniture from a room can help make the area feel more spacious and less cramped. Don’t assume that if you have it, you should use it.
Use Personal Decor Items
Your family pictures might make your home inviting to you and those you know, but it won’t to any buyers walking through your house. Seeing pictures of strangers everywhere will make them feel like they’re intruding. This discomfort makes it difficult to see themselves living there as well. You should take down all personal decor items to avoid this issue.
Using Too Much Furniture
You might be tempted to fit additional pieces of furniture into a room if you think there’s enough space. However, the last thing you want to do is to make a room feel cramped. Too much furniture will make a room feel smaller than it is. Also, there’s a risk that the buyer will automatically think that the room won’t fit their furniture if it does not fit your furniture. You need to use furniture strategically. Having space left in a room isn’t necessarily a bad thing either.
Using The Wrong Sized Furniture
Almost as bad as using too much furniture is using furniture that’s not the room’s right size. For example, trying to cram a king-sized bed into a smaller bedroom that is realistically suitable for a full-sized bed is not a good idea. It will make the bedroom feel even tinier than it already is. On the other end of the spectrum, using furniture that’s too small for the space will make the room feel awkward—for instance, using a tiny couch in a large living room space.
Forgetting To Stage Closets And Cabinets
When cleaning up clutter, one of the most common mistakes people make is to just throw everything into their closets and cabinets. However, you should expect potential buyers to inspect these areas. They want to know how much space your cabinets and closets provide, after all. If they’re met with overflowing clutter, it won’t have a great impression on them. Organize your closets and cabinets to ensure that they are presentable.
Playing It Too Safe
Don’t be afraid to add a few touches of style or color here and there. If you play it too safe and limit yourself to neutral colors and basic furnishing, you can end up with an interior design that’s on the bland side. While you may not leave a negative impression on buyers, the odds are that you won’t exactly leave a memorable impression either.
Limiting Yourself To Current Interior Design Trends
Paying attention to current trends can be useful when staging your home. New trends can give you all kinds of ideas on how to furnish and decorate your space. However, trends come and go. Limiting yourself to just the latest trends will limit your appeal to potential buyers. Keep in mind that homebuyers aren’t always up-to-date on the latest design trends, which means that they may not have the impact you’re hoping they’ll have.
Using Poor Lighting
As previously mentioned, good lighting is key to successful home staging. Unfortunately, many homes don’t have the best lighting. Rooms that have no natural light and are limited to overhead lighting will appear dark and gloomy. Even if your overhead light is bright, it can still have a negative effect. Just because a room isn’t underlit doesn’t mean that it’s properly lit. Make sure you use a combination of task lighting and accent lightings, such as table lamps or floor lamps, to better light your rooms.
Not Cleaning The Space Regularly
A thorough cleaning is critical before staging your home. However, you should make it a point to go through and clean the space regularly. Visitors will track dirt in, and dust will continue to collect. As such, be sure to do a quick once over before you show your home, whether it’s before a private showing or an open house.
Effective Home Staging Can Help Boost Property Sales
Home staging does cost money. However, the potential benefits are well worth the investment. If you stage your home correctly and utilize a professional stager, you may save money by selling your house quickly. If that wasn’t enough, successful home staging could potentially boost how much buyers will bid on your home due to the perceived value that successful staging can provide. Whether you’re selling your home or selling numerous investment properties, staging is essential to your bottom line.