When you are selling a house, you want it to look its best. Stagers can be expensive and many potential homsellers are looking for ways you can stage your house for less.
Staging a home in Seattle, WA can cost thousands of dollars, usually up-front and without any guarantee of effectiveness. (You have to make a decision based on referrals and the quality of the stager’s portfolio.) Plus, stagers get busy especially during peak market times when Seattle homes are selling like hotcakes in multple-offer scenarios. You may actually have to delay your sale while you wait for the stager to arrange your home for you. For that reason, you may also wonder if you can stage your house for less on your own as a DIY project.
It’s worth considering. Quality home staging is said to yield a nearly 300% return on investment. If you don’t have the cash up front but still want to stage your house, there are inexpensive ways to do it. Here are 3 tricks to stage your house for less in Seattle.
Trick #1: Declutter the Property
When you walk into a model home regardless of its size, everything has its spot and enough space to make it seem like the whole unit just flows. One of the hardest things about selling a house is trying to keep it nice while you are also trying to pack and get ready to move out. You can give yourself a head start by packing and removing things that you don’t need on a daily basis, get them out of your living space and it will feel more open and inviting. Over time people accumulate things in their homes; this is common and natural. The longer you’ve been in the house, the more stuff you’ve likely accumulated. Don’t wait for moving day to clear things out.
Get three piles going: keep, donate and dump. Box things up that you are keeping but don’t use daily. Most of the items you only use occasionally, like books, seasonal items such as boots, beach gear, skiis, etc.) and extra kitchen items can go into storage.
Immediately donate and dump anything you don’t want to keep. You may find yourself making Goodwill runs every day, but getting the stuff out of your house and seeing it get cleaner and more ready to go will help you in staying motivated and feeling a sense of progress toward your goal.
Remove excess pictures and wall art, and clear off your counters and shelves. You don’t want to project a strong sense of personal style. Let things remain neutral so the buyers can infuse the home with their own style. Rent a storage unit to store everything, or put items in your garage, basement or attic until moving day. Give every surface a thorough cleaning once you get everything out. You’ll be surprised how much dust will be revealed during this decluttering process.
Trick #2: Position Furniture
The decluttering process should have removed excess items including the oversized recliner that sat in the middle of the living room. “Less” is better when staging a home. Many experts will tell you that you don’t need to rent furniture to effectively stage the home. Your Seattle realtor is a great resource to help walk through the home and position furniture in each room. As a real estate agent, I absolutely think homes show better when they are professionally staged, however, if you’re living in the house while you are selling it, you can still utilize staging techniques while you stage your house yourself.
Typically only vacant houses are professionally staged with rental furniture because if you’re still living there, you’ll have your own furniture in place. (Plus the stager doesn’t want you to spill guac and chips on their relatively pristine rental furniture.)
If you have big furniture or a lot of it, consider removing some. Stagers are known for using small, lightly-built furniture to make the home look bigger. A professional interior designer or your real estate agent may have suggestions for you in helping you use your existing furniture to stage your home.
Here Are Some More Tricks For Setting Up The House So It Shows Well:
- Keep walkways and hallways open without obstruction.
- Make sure windows and drapes are pulled back allowing a lot of natural light into the house. This makes rooms look bigger.
- Trim any hedges or trees right outside of windows if needed.
Don’t worry about a room being completely functional when it is staged. You are just suggesting a concept with your arrangements. Staging a room to be a home office doesn’t need much more than a desk, probably positioned away from a wall in the center of the room.
Trick #3: Keep Everything Neutral
If you haven’t already packed away the family photos and road trip spoon collection, before you stage your house is the time to do it. Put religious items away during showings or open houses. (If it’s Christmas, or you’re decorating during the holidays, refer to my tips on selling and staging homes during the holiday season.) Just like white walls are neutral, keeping art and décor non-descript allows potential buyers to imagine themselves living in the home. With these items out, potential buyers might make a false judgment about the people in the home and the house itself.
While most people can’t relate to that spoon collection, they can relate to mainstream trends and traditional items like coffee, candles, and clocks. The counters and shelves that are cleared should display universal home décor items like these when you stage your house. Place only a few items around to decorate, keeping counter and shelf space open. You want it to look like there is room to grow in this home, not like it is already crammed and full. Use only a few pieces of art on walls; patch picture holes and touch up paint.
Staging gives potential buyers an idea of what to do but it utilizes art and decorations that are neutral enough slate to inject their own personal lifestyle in the home. This increases the likelihood of potential offers and selling the house quickly.