Preparing to Sell Your Home: 13 Do's & Don'ts of DIY Home Staging

Posted by Laine Smith on 10/5/15 12:47 PM

Topics: Home Ownership

The best selling experience means selling your home quickly and for the price you want. "Staging" is the process of making your home appealing to the broadest group of potential homebuyers.

Home Staging

The Real Estate Staging Association studied 89 homes that were un-staged and previously on the market. On average, those homes sat for 166 days on the market before the owners called in a professional stager. After those same 89 homes were professionally staged, they received their first offer in 32 days, on average.

If a professional home stager isn't in your budget, there are several ways you can get the same effect for less. Here are the DIY do's and don'ts of staging your home.

Do Show Guests How They'd Live in Your House

In the process of removing clutter and personal affects, don't forget that you are selling a home, not just a house. Your goal is to show your potential homebuyers how to live in your home. Leave a cookbook open on the kitchen counter or place books on an end table near your favorite reading spot.

Don't Over Personalize

As mentioned above, potential homebuyers want to picture themselves living in your home. So remove family photos and personal items from your walls. Have a gallery wall of all of your favorite family photos? Replace them with art prints that show off your taste rather than your personal life.

Do Float Your Furniture

Furniture Arrangement

Image via Pinterest

One of the biggest components in home staging is furniture arrangement. Your goal is to reposition sofas and chairs into conversational groupings while optimizing the flow of your home.

Don't Push Furniture Up Against Walls

It's a common misconception that rooms will feel and look larger if there is a big space in the middle of a room. In reality, it just makes everything look odd and out of place.

Do Freshen Up Paint Colors

Neutral Paint Colors

Image via Pinterest

You really don't want your home to be remembered as the house with a hot pink bedroom. Paint walls in neutral colors and use your decor and furnishings for accent colors. If your wall colors are already neutral, consider giving them a fresh coat, trim and ceilings included. New paint makes an older home seem new again.

Don't Paint Everything Beige

While you want neutral wall colors, painting everything beige or white brings about an institutional feel. You can still showcase style with an accent wall, as long as it complements your other neutral colors.

Do De-Clutter

Whoever said there can be too much of a good thing was not talking about storage space, which is what you'll want to showcase your buyers. Make storage options appear more plentiful by going through each room (and closets!) and packing away at least 30 percent of your belongings. This is should be the first step in preparing to sell, as you'll want to remove any furnishings that obstruct the flow of your home and personal memorabilia.

Don't Ignore the Smell of Your Home

Citrus Scents

Image via Pinterest

Everyone's home has a scent, and you don't want that to be what buyers remember about your house. Studies have found that simple and light, yet recognizable scents are the most desirable to homebuyers. Think orange, lemon, vanilla, cinnamon, cedar, etc. However you choose to add a recognizable scent to your home, just make sure it's not overbearing.

Do the Necessary Home Repairs

All of your home staging will go unnoticed if potential buyers are making a mental to-do list of home maintenance items.

Don't Disregard Your Bathrooms

Bathroom Staging

Image via Pinterest

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Think clean, crisp and clutter-free. Buy fresh white towels to set out before showings and tuck away cosmetics, brushes and other bathroom necessities in baskets. Check out the best bathroom trends of 2015 for more ideas on creating the most up-to-date bathroom.

Do Focus on the Outside, Too

Nighttime Curb Appeal

Image via Pinterest

Your home's exterior is just as important as the interior. Buyers will make assumptions about the interior of your home based on your curb appeal, so spend some time doing the proper maintenance (i.e. power washing the house, driveway, and sidewalks, painting the front door, updating house numbers, laying new mulch, cleaning windows, etc.).

If your home includes an outdoor living area, show it off. Place a throw blanket over the chair on your front porch and add an outdoor rug or other exterior decor items.

Don't Forget the Kid Stuff

Home staging is all about appealing to the biggest group of homebuyers and that means buyers without kids, too. If you have child-themed wallpaper or character decor like light switches and bedspreads, it's a good idea to replace them with neutral options.

It's hard to see past bedroom decor that screams "princess room" when potential buyers are looking for a home they'd like to add a home office to. Store stuffed animals, toys, and dolls away for showings and listing pictures.

Do Make Your Home Sparkle

On top of staging, selling a home quickly and for top-dollar often means getting down to basics. One of the best things you can do is to get your home the cleanest it has ever been. Spending a few hundred dollars for a professional cleaning service to give your home a scrub-down is in your best selling interests.

For more ideas on staging and preparing to sell your home, follow us on Pinterest. Also, our free Upsizing and Downsizing Guide is a great reference for repeat homebuyers.

Download: Upsizing/Downsizing Guide

Subscribe to Email Updates