Everyone knows that the housing market is down nationwide, but did you know that staging or decorating your home can not only give you a competitive advantage in the market, but add 10-15 percent to the price you get for your home? Staging isn't something you need to hire a professional to do. You can do it yourself - and for under $100. In fact, most areas can be staged for nothing! Yes, you heard right. Nothing. Here are my tips for staging on a budget:
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Pack up your personal items and photos. Also, pack all but essential clothing. The less you have cluttering rooms, closets and storage space, the larger that space will appear. And space sells.
Remove accessories, rugs, plants and miscellaneous clutter from all rooms. Leave space for a buyer to imagine filling with his/her own furniture.
Finally, clean, clean and then clean some more! When I say clean, I mean taking the toothbrush and a q-tip where the toilet meets the tile, the baseboards, the... faucets, the refrigerator, doorknocker, and even the top closet shelf. And don't forget to clean or power wash the outside of your home as well. Clean up toys, weeds, and debris.
02 of 05
Lighten Up (Price: Free)
Open the curtains and turn on all the lights (at least while you are showing the house). Light makes a space seem bigger and less claustrophobic. It lets the space breathe! Having less furniture and clutter also makes a room feel lighter. Remember the light feeling when painting or adding accessories as well.
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Repair all cracks, holes, and dings with caulk and spackle. The buyer will only see neglect if these tasks are left undone. Go through the home with a friend and ask them to point out any problem areas. Be sure to pick a friend that will not spare your feelings, but will be totally honest. They will notice things that you won't, simply because you see it every day and tend to overlook problems. And remember, if your friend notices a problem area, your buyers will too!
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Cover up the walls with neutral paint. Neutral does NOT mean just beige. Paint the walls in an earth tone shade. You can find paint that was not quite the right color for the buyer at your home improvement store. It's usually called "oops" paint. Look there first before spending money on paint. Another person's "not quite perfect" could be your "just right".Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Before you move the furniture back into rooms, draw a graph to figure out where to place items to take advantage of at least one focal point. If there is no architectural focal point, create one with a piece of furniture or art. And be sure to move the furniture away from the walls! Ensure that buyers have a clear path to wander through your home. No furniture or miscellaneous "stuff" should block access to walking lanes. Stage furniture with easy conversation areas and plenty of light... nearby.
Staging your home may not guarantee your home will sell, but taking these steps will increase the chances buyers will have a positive impression of your home. And that, dear reader, means that staging your home is the best investment you can make.