How to stage your own home and get the price you want

Are you about to sell your home?  Are you wondering how to improve your house ready for market?  Are you thinking about staging your own home?  How do you go about staging your own home for sale?  How can I prepare my house for market?

The definition of ‘home staging’ is, ‘cleaning, repairing, and updating the decor and furnishings of a home to make it more attractive when shown to potential buyers’.  In other words, it’s about ensuring that your property looks its absolute best before it goes on the market, and before the professional photographs are taken.

Here are our guidelines to make sure your home looks the best it can and give you the best chance of achieving the price you want: -

  • Take a long look at your furniture – This isn’t easy as we all become so accustomed to looking at our home that it’s difficult to take an objective view.  How is your 3-piece suite looking?  Is it old and tatty?  Does it look like some throwback from the 80’s? There is nothing more off-putting than a sagging sofa, or a sofa with chewed corners or coffee stains.  Old sofa = dated house, or that’s what a buyer will think.  Invest in a new, modern and stylish sofa which will elevate your living room to a whole new level.  If you can’t stretch to a new sofa, why not check out your local ‘Seek and Sell’ pages on Facebook, or have a look on eBay.  Cheaper still, buy some lovely new throws to liven up your living room.
  • Clean carpets and attractive flooring – Are your carpets acceptable?  Are they clean?  We suggest that you replace any heavily patterned or dark carpets with lighter, more neutral tones.  If your carpets are acceptable, you may be able to get away with a professional carpet clean which will bring them up like new.  There is nothing more off-putting than a dirty, worn carpet and it gives the impression that the house has not been loved.  Pets and children don’t help matters, so make sure you keep them looking lovely for viewings.  If you have wooden or laminate flooring, ensure the edges are finished neatly and the floor is clean and dust-free.  
  • Neutral walls and decor – You have heard it all before – neutral tones are better for selling houses.  It’s true.  Bright colours and garish wallpaper could potentially alienate your viewers who may not be able to see beyond the décor.  Aim for calming colours – creams, browns, greys and off-white tones.  Not only does it create a feeling of calm, it also allows viewers to imagine themselves in your home.
  • Improve your lighting to add ambiance to your home – Lighting is a fantastic way to add cosiness and charm to a space, but too many people overlook it when preparing their house for market.  Downlighters and table lamps can create a cosy atmosphere in your living room and bedrooms; up-lighting can add a splash of drama and are great for highlighting any attractive ceiling features such as a ceiling rose, or attractive coving.  Avoid using overhead lights during viewings or when taking photos as they can feel a bit stark and clinical.
  • Maximise the natural light in every room -  The key words here are ‘light’ and ‘airy’.  Not many people like a dark, dingy home.  Dark homes also look smaller and more poky – not a good idea if you are trying to make your home look as big as possible.  Before every viewing, make sure all curtains are fully open, blinds are open and if it’s a nice day, windows too.  This will give the house a bright and spacious feel.
  • Invest in some new soft furnishings – Something as simple as new cushions and throws can change the look of a room and give it a splash of colour.  Try mixing different textures and colours to make an impact and give your home a ‘hotel chic’ look.  New cushions are a must if your living room is lacking the ‘x’ factor.  This is an easy and inexpensive way to make a big impact. 
  • Add some well-chosen accessories – If you have spent the last 10 years hoarding various ornaments from around the world, or photos of your family or pets, it may be time to pack them away until you move.  They don’t tend to improve the look of a room, and have probably multiplied over the years to cover every possible surface in your home.  Viewers don’t want to see personal belongings or family photos – they need to see clear surfaces so they can imagine what they want to put on them.  The odd ornament is acceptable, but only things that accentuate the room.
  • Personal art on the walls – We suggest that you take down anything that is too loud or personal and replace it with fairly neutral pictures that won’t offend anyone; the kind of pictures you would see in a hotel.  This way, the walls are still dressed, but it won’t put your buyers off.
  • Make sure your living room looks warm, cosy and relaxing -  Your living room or lounge must be a comfortable and relaxing space where your viewers can imagine themselves ‘chilling out’ with a cuppa or a glass of wine after a hard day at work.  Try to arrange your furniture around the fireplace or another feature, rather than the TV.  That way, the TV does not become the focus of the room.  A bunch of fresh flowers and some strategically placed magazines on the coffee table will finish the look off perfectly.  Light candles and ensure low lighting is switched on when viewers arrive.
  • Spruce up your Kitchen –  The kitchen is considered to be the most important room in the house when it comes to viewings.  Some say it’s the ‘heart of the home’ so it needs to look the best it can.  If your kitchen is already modern and minimal, you may only need to clear tops and polish stainless steel accessories and appliances.  If your kitchen is a tad dated, why not re-paint the cupboards.  A dark wooden kitchen is immediately brightened by painting the cupboard doors a light colour.  New lighting is also a great way to improve your kitchen and also looks good on photos.  Invest in some bright new tea towels and polish your windows.  Add a vase of flowers on the kitchen table or the windowsill.  Your kitchen should be clutter-free and spotless before viewings.
  • A bright and spotless bathroom –  Your bathroom needs to smell fresh and look completely spotless before viewings.  Remove all surface clutter and personal belongings – no one wants to see razors and spot cream!  Imagine a hotel bathroom and try and go for that look.  Buy some brand-new towels and keep them specially for viewings.  A fresh green leafy plant looks great on a bathroom windowsill.
  • How is the ambiance of your home? – The ambiance, or mood of your home is very important.  Does your house feel cluttered and busy, or calm and relaxing?  Use low lighting and candles to soften the general mood of the room.  If you have children or pets, make sure they are out of the way for photographs and viewings.  They will immediately add ‘stress’ and ‘drama’ which will inevitably take your viewer’s attention away from your home and could jeopardise a sale.
  • Ensure your garden looks loved and cared for –Mow the lawn, tidy the borders, spruce up your decking and garden furniture and make sure that it looks fabulous.  Just a couple of hours in the garden can make a huge difference.  Your front door and front path are also important and are the first thing viewers will see.  A large potted shrub or plant either side of your front door is a brilliant decoration and will make your home look loved.
  • A fresh aroma throughout your home – No one wants to smell pets or ‘stuffy’ rooms that have not been aired.  Invest in some plug-in air fresheners, and open all windows before viewings (unless it’s freezing cold outside).  Fresh flowers will also help.
  • Turn the heating on or light the fire -  If you have a real fire, or a wood-burner, make sure it is lit and roaring before viewings, and also before photos are taken.  A cosy, warm home is so inviting and will make your viewers fall in love.  There is nothing worse than a cold home, particularly in winter.  Even if your property is empty, make sure the heating comes on an hour before viewings
  • Add finishing touches before photographs and before viewings – Finishing touches, such as lighting candles, placing a vase of fresh flowers in every room and tidying cushions and throws are all essential before each viewing.  Run around the house quickly to check everything is in order, curtains are open, bins are empty (or better still, out of sight) etc.

We hope our tips will help you to maximise the look of your home and hopefully achieve the offer you want at the price you want.

Do you have any of your own tips you would like to share?  Have you ever staged your own home for sale?  Did it help? What was the outcome?  We would love to hear about it.

Send us an email at enquiries@alisongeorge.com or give us a call on 01639 631706

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