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How to effectively stage your home

How to effectively stage your home


Selling your home can be a complex process. Aside from making sure that it is attractively priced, you want your home to look appealing to as broad an audience of potential buyers as possible. Home staging is one way to increase the appeal of your home. By highlighting the best elements of your home, you create a visual that allows buyers to see its potential and envision their life in it.

Read on to learn more about home staging, how your home will benefit from it, and a few home staging tips to keep in mind.

What is home staging?

Simply put, home staging is the process of making improvements and styling your home – inside and outside – so that it’s at its most appealing to potential buyers. Home staging is said to have its beginnings in 1972, when Barb Schwarz introduced and coined the term, and she has since been speaking at conferences and offering courses related to home staging for the past several decades.

Once upon a time, you may have seen pictures of homes for sale with bare rooms. Stripped off furniture, they gave you a feel for the space and allowed you to imagine what you could do with it. Also, preparing a house for showing used to mean simply cleaning up the space.

This bare-bones approach has been replaced by home staging, which made a home feel more lived-in, yet not to the point where the owner’s personal effects made buyers feel alienated by the owner’s personal effects.

Some may confuse home staging with interior design. While styling is involved in the process, there are differences. Interior design showcases a homeowner’s personal taste through decor and furnishings. Home staging aims to make a home broadly appealing to buyers.

Thus, home staging turns a highly personalized home into a neutral crowd-pleasing canvas (think gray, beige, and white walls) to make it easier for people to imagine what it’s like to live in it. Rooms become devoid of personal photos, souvenirs, and memorabilia. But some of the decor may remain, so buyers won’t feel that the space is too cold and impersonal. The aim is to make your home feel aspirational.

Overall, home staging’s goal is to show buyers how the home could look and feel once they’ve moved in. It also suggests design possibilities. Done right, home staging intends to generate positive feelings among potential buyers, which is crucial in helping seal the deal.

If you’re home staging in Orange County, work with a real estate professional to make your property more desirable to the target market you hope to attract.

Benefits of home staging

A woman holding a phone and smiling

Home staging offers key benefits.

  1. Creates a positive impact on buyers
    When walking into a home for sale, buyers don’t want to see evidence of the seller’s life in it. They want a space they can call their own, one they can emotionally connect to, allowing them to imagine how they can transform the space to suit their needs and lifestyle. If the furniture and decor is all the seller’s own, then there’s the option to include the furnishings with the sale, which makes the home even more attractive because it presents as move-in ready.
  2. Increases the value of your home
    Buyers are more likely to make an offer quickly and even increase the price of your home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 23% of sellers’ agents surveyed reported a price increase of 1% to 5% on offers for staged homes, and 18% of sellers’ agents stated that the dollar value of a home increased between 6% and 10% as a result of staging.
  3. Makes an impact online
    Home staging serves buyers touring your home in person as well as buyers going on virtual tours, especially if they live outside the state or the country. Home staging in Orange County can show the house at its best to a wider swath of buyers, whether they’re driving down from nearby or they’re hundreds of miles away hoping to migrate to the area.
  4. It works even in a seller’s market
    Remember that staging a home is a good idea even in a seller’s market. When there are more buyers than sellers, a well-staged home can spark a bidding war and drive up the price.

Getting your home ready for staging

A living area and a blurred man

Staging should always start with a clean slate. If you’re staging your home yourself (we’ll get to the topic of professional home staging later), you don’t necessarily need to strip it of all your belongings immediately, especially if you have some key pieces that could be styled properly to go with any look. Start small, and then work up your way to the major steps of home staging once you’re done with the following:

  1. Declutter your space
    Getting rid of things will make your home feel a lot more spacious. You know where to start: from top to bottom. This is a chance for you to unload the stuff you’ve been meaning to get rid of. If you intend to keep everything you’re putting in storage, organize them in labeled bins so you don’t have to wade through the items a second time. Store them elsewhere to avoid having buyers see them stuffed into closets or random areas around the house.
  2. Do a deep clean
    Deep cleaning and sanitizing your home will leave a good impression on buyers. Your foyer should be sparkling clean as it will be the first thing buyers see when they enter the home. Then, tackle the kitchen, which is one of the top things that can make or break a deal. Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are another deal breaker. Enlist the help of a cleaning service if you find yourself overwhelmed by the prospect of cleaning your house from top to bottom.
  3. Make quick fixes
    Any major issues can be taken care of once you’re in talks with the buyer. But for now, opt for minor, manageable repairs, both inside and outside of your home. For example, make sure that the light switches work, that the drawers don’t stick, and cabinet doors open easily. Replace missing tiles in the bathroom, repair toilets, and revive the space with a coat of paint. Change burned-out light bulbs and replace them with new, energy-efficient ones. You don’t need to do any major renovations; the buyer most likely will want to do their own anyway, so it’s an expense and effort that you can skip. What people really want is a home that’s functional and well-functioning.
  4. Remove personal items
    A picture here and there may help buyers imagine what a great place your house is for their family, but make sure the number and size of the pictures don’t overwhelm the space. Remove unusual art or decor – unless you want to retain a statement piece (consult your real estate agent for advice). Re-do themed rooms or spaces or tone them down as much as you can.
  5. Don’t forget curb appeal
    You know the drill: remove weeds and dead plants, trim your lawn, add flowers, repair walkways, fences, exterior windows and doors. Make the outside look as appealing as possible so prospective buyers can’t wait to get inside to take a look around.
  6. Consult your real estate agent
    Once you’re done with the above, have your agent take a look at your progress so far. Getting a fresh pair of eyes can help determine what else needs to be done, and you can also get some feedback and ideas for the rest of the staging process.

How to stage each part of your home effectively

A sofa and throw pillows

Now that your house is ready for staging, it’s time to have a plan in place and put it into action.

When undertaking home staging in Orange County, you want to create the feeling of a bright and airy home that can accommodate all lifestyles and family sizes. Basically, you want buyers to feel like they’re about to live their best lives in their future home.

How to maximize the features of your home

Impart a fresh feeling into the space

You want your home to “breathe” and you want buyers to feel refreshed when stepping inside. Decluttering is just the first step to making your house feel more open. Other things you can do are to add indoor plants and fresh flowers throughout the house. Refrain from using strong air fresheners; buyers might wonder if the scents are hiding something particularly foul.

Working with lighting also adds to that fresh feeling. Natural light provides a welcoming and energizing atmosphere. Do away with heavy drapes and make sure your windows are clean. Opt for brighter light bulbs as well, especially in areas of the house that don’t get much natural light.

Use neutral accessories

You know what you’re aiming for – a home that appeals to as many people as possible. Thus, using a neutral palette helps. Jewel tones, unusual wallpaper, or bold patterns may prove polarizing and narrow your pool of potential buyers. A white or off-white space perked up by colorful accents is the best way to present your home without putting off buyers.

Eliminate excess furnishings

Keep everything basic. For example, your bedroom should have a bed, night stands, and a dresser; your living room should have a couch, accent chairs, a rug, a table, all centered on a focal point, such as an interesting art piece or the fireplace. You don’t want to fill up the space too much with knick-knacks and extra furniture. There should be enough room to spark a potential buyers’ imagination. Paring down stuff in the room also makes the space look larger and easier to maintain.

Define the purpose of the space

There may be some portions of your house that could be used for any purpose. For example, there may be an extra room just off to the side of the living room that you could dress up as a guest room or, given the increase in the number of people working from home, it could be presented as a home office.

Set the scene

A couple of books on the coffee table, a throw casually strewn on the couch, the thermostat adjusted to a comfortable level – these can make a buyer feel welcome the moment they walk through the door. You could even provide a pitcher of water and set out a plate of cookies or crackers and pretzels as a light snack, which could encourage buyers to stay and look around your masterfully staged home a little longer. These thoughtful additions will make your house feel less like it’s just on display and more like a warm place to be in.

Tips for staging various rooms in your house

A woman sitting a the top of a kitchen


Aside from making sure that your appliances are gleaming and your cabinets are in good shape, make sure that the contents of your cupboards are organized and that your pantry isn’t overflowing. There should be just enough space to give an idea of its capacity. Pro tip: take out half of what’s in your kitchen cabinets, drawers, or pantry to make buyers feel that there’s ample storage in your kitchen.

Dining room

Keep the dining room spacious by choosing a smaller dining set, such as a four-seater. Create a vignette by adding a table runner, setting the table, and topping it off with a simple centerpiece.

Living room

Avoid bulky furniture so the living room won’t feel cramped and buyers will have an easier time navigating the room. Neutral colors are another key component here, with color or pattern popping up only on accessories like pillows, an area rug, or a statement piece.

Primary bedroom

Keep it inviting and crowd-pleasing by changing the beddings to white or something that matches or complements the wall color. If you can, position the bed opposite the door so it’s the first thing a buyer sees when they enter. Enhance the natural light of the bedroom by drawing the curtains open. Turn on your bedside lamps and finish off the scene by placing books on the nightstand.

Laundry room

This is an example of a utilitarian space that gets a lot of use but not enough love. Laundry rooms are in high demand among homebuyers and this functional space can be styled to look more appealing with the addition of new shelving and storage bins. Clean your washer and dryer, install brighter lighting, and enliven what would otherwise be a dull area by playing around with paint to designate the space for the washer and dryer.

There are a lot of meticulous buyers who may look more closely at different parts of the house. So always try to take a step back and view your home with fresh eyes. Overlooked areas could serve a new function. For example, a corner that used to be occupied by a house plant can find new life as a reading nook. A dim area in the house could be brightened by using a mirror to reflect light. The point is to allow buyers to visualize the potential uses of areas throughout your home.

Should you stage your home yourself or hire a professional?

A woman fixing a plant placed on a vase

Staging your home is definitely something you can do on your own, especially if you’re on a budget and you feel like you’re able to set aside your personal taste and rework your space into something that would appeal more to people. Plus, you may feel you’ll have more peace of mind as you work on preparing your home for staging. The process can also help train your eye design-wise and help you learn about what would look best in a home, which are lessons that you can take with you as you move into your new place.

However, this does take a lot of work and trial-and-error, and you may find that you’re unable to pull together a cohesive look for your home. Engaging professional home staging services for home staging in Orange County may be a good idea in this case. Your real estate agent may have experience staging homes, or they could refer you to a professional home stager. A professional home stager will know what trends are popular in your area, and they’ll take the burden of prepping your home for maximum saleability out of your hands, especially if you don’t have the time to handle it yourself. Working with a home stager also means you won’t need to worry about whether your own home staging handiwork is good enough.

On average, home sellers spend from $755 to $2,863 on home staging, depending on the size of the home, the number of rooms you want staged, and other expenses, from consultation to renting furniture to the cost of storing your existing furniture. While things can get pricey real quick, remember that the cost of hiring a professional home stager will be worth the increase in the value of your home.

Let Impact Properties help you sell your home

Impact Properties has been working with sellers for many years, helping them showcase the best of their properties and making sure they get top dollar in every transaction. If you’re ready to sell your home or need advice on home staging in Orange County, we’re ready to help. Give us a call at 888.508.0518 or contact us here.

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