How to Stage Your Home Yourself
There’s no doubt about it. Staging a home will help you sell it faster and for more money. A home that is staged often sells in half the amount of time and for 4% to 8% more than a non-staged home.
Every home seller can benefit from a staged home, but the question is whether or not you should hire a professional. This graphic, provided by Landmark, show what type of homeowners should hire a professional versus doing it yourself.
Homeowners with homes that are greater than $500,000 will benefit the most from hiring a professional stager. Those with homes under $100,000 will benefit the least from a stager. They might be able to sell the home for more money, but the cost of a professional stager outweighs the benefit.
So, if you can recoup the cost of a professional stager in your home’s sale price, then you should hire a stager. But since most houses are under $500,000, you might want to mix hiring a professional stager with doing-it-yourself.
Since you’re going to try to stage your home, there are two really important elements to keep in mind if you want to get the best results:
- The Power of Visualization
- The Act of Quick Judgements
The Power of Visualization
A small, but powerful word. Your goal as a home seller is to help a potential home buyer imagine what it would be like to live in your home. How would their family live their? Will the kids love the place? How will Thanksgiving dinners go? Can we have friends over?
This is the reason that professional stagers recommend that you declutter and depersonalize your home. For example, it’s a good idea to remove used bars of soap and razors. Otherwise, buyers are going to feel like they’re intruding in your home. Even though they really are, you don’t want them to feel that way.
The power of visualization is used in every industry to sell — from pet stores to car dealers. When you go to the car dealer, he tries to get you to take it out for a test-drive because they know it will increase sales conversions.
We want buyers to feel like it’s already their home. We want them to walk in the door and know this is the place for them.
The Act of Quick Judgements
It’s natural. We all do this.
We make quick judgements based on our surroundings, people, and a situation. This served our ancestors well. They had to be able to make quick decisions if they wanted to survive.
We’re bombarded with information, so we need a way to quickly process all of it. It doesn’t matter if our judgements are always correct. Sometimes we make the wrong assumptions.
It’s the reason we see our friends go after the same good-looking guy even though he turn out to be a total dud when it comes to relationships. Our friend assumes that a guy’s looks equate to how good he is in being in a committed relationship.
Every buyer that comes into your home is going to make a quick judgement about your house. It doesn’t matter if their judgements are accurate or not. If they see a dirty home, they will assume that your house isn’t taken care of.
You might take really good care of your home, but feel behind on the cleaning. That doesn’t matter once a potential buyer has already made a judgement.
So, how should we stage our home once we know those two things? There are three major areas, if focused on, will give you the best results. In fact, it will produce 80% of the results and set your home apart.
Create the Perfect Decompression Zone
This idea comes from the retail industry. A decompression zone is a transitional space that allows buyers to move from the outside to the inside without feeling overwhelmed. The failure to establish a decompression zone can cause sales to drop and people to walk out of the store.
Think about any retail store that you have gone to. Immediately after walking in, there is an empty area that is about five to twenty-five feet. The reason is that as we walk in, we’re trying to adjust and won’t notice anything in that transition zone.
When it comes to selling a home, you’ll want to make sure to set up a decompression zone. The space should be as empty as possible. The zone should likely be about five feet for most homes, but for bigger homes you’ll want to push it to ten feet.
In this zone, they will make quick judgements, they won’t notice anything you put there, and will hate sales agents that greet them too early. You will want to have the right lighting, colors, and feeling in this zone. It needs to be spotless.
Focus on the Kitchen
American families are centered around the kitchen and it’s becoming increasingly more important for the busy and modern family. While life is made in the bedroom, it’s lived in the kitchen.
The kitchen use to be used only for cooking, but now families spend much of their time in the kitchen together. I remember growing up and my mom always saying, “Get out of the kitchen. I’m trying to cook.”
But the busyness of modern families has changed all of that. The kitchen has become the hub and central point for families. So, if you have a good kitchen layout — open kitchen, an island bar, and good counter tops — then be sure to play it up.
However, if you have an older kitchen design, don’t worry about making any renovations. Most homes only get about 60% of their money back that they put into renovations. But you can still improve your kitchen.
You’ll want to make your kitchen look more streamlined and modern by keeping cabinets 75% full, clearing counter tops, and removing large kitchen tables. It’s not uncommon for today’s home buyers to walk into a home and instantly start talking about blowing out walls and renovating the kitchen.
You can also add nice touches to your kitchen by placing a fruit bowl on the counters. This will give your home the appearance of freshness and being healthy. In a fruit bowl, put two red apples, two green apples, two oranges, and three bananas.
Create More Storage Space
Homeowners love their storage space. We all want more closet and cabinet space. We want larger garages, basements, and sheds. Don’t believe me?
Most people have a lot of stuff that needs to be stored. Americans don’t like to get rid of things. We save them for rainy days. 25% of people with two car garages can’t fit one car inside them. And 32% have to park on car out on the street.
Cleaning and organizing your storage spaces will have a large effect on your ability to sell your home. The easiest way to organize your closet space is by removing stuff and placing it in some totes. You won’t want your closets or cabinets to look more than 75% full.
Anything more, people will think your house doesn’t have enough storage space. If you can, consider taking some of your stuff and placing it in a storage unit or ask your friend to hold onto some of your stuff.
Don’t try to clean and organize your home by throwing a ton of stuff in your closet. It will backfire.
Most staging can be done by yourself. If you’re selling a home that is worth more than $500,000, then you will benefit from hiring a professional. But for most of us, we will have to do a bit of DIY. Your home will sell faster and for more money when you create a decompression zone, you focus on your kitchen, and you create more storage space.
Want more tips about getting your home ready for sale? Download my guide to getting your house ready for sale.