Welcome back! I am nearing completion on my Certified Staging Expert course, and I have been eager to share some of the outstanding ideas and tips I’ve learned so far. Home Staging is becoming increasingly important in our competitive world of real estate and, as agents, we need to do everything we can to help our clients’ homes stand out from the rest. In my experience, the right staging makes a major impact on potential buyers and has led to quick sales and offers close to list price. In fact, the most recent home I staged received a full-price offer within four days of listing, which is a great testament because this particular home was a bit outdated and in need of “sprucing up”.
The purpose of home staging is, of course, to present our properties in the best way possible for listings photos and showings with buyers. The house needs to be staged in a way that will allow buyers to see their own families there — we want them to form an attachment to the space and feel like they belong there.
So how can we help our clients stage their homes? I’ve got some tips that you can use to increase the emotional appeal of your listings. Let’s call it “building a story” in the home. These are small-scale updates and adjustments that are both easy and affordable. There is no need to invest in a large inventory of staging materials to utilize these ideas.
- Kitchen: Aromas from fragrant goodies like vanilla or sugar cookies will give a sense of comfort. Invest in 2-3 vanilla scent diffusers like Glade Plug-Ins and place them throughout the house.
- Bathrooms: Always put fresh towels in bathrooms in a color that complements the look of the room. Buy new shower curtains if needed because old ones are usually spotted with mildew and just look dingy. Put new soap bars in the soap dishes or purchase a new bottle with attractive packaging. (Think about what a hotel bathroom might look like and try to mimic that.)
- Clear everything off the refrigerator: Most people use magnets or tape to show off everything from vacation pictures to kids’ artwork. Clear everything off while house is being shown. It just gives a cleaner look and also depersonalizes the space.
- Keep dishes clean. This seems obvious, but I’ve shown homes with dirty dishes in the sink, and buyers definitely noticed. Remind your clients to remove dirty dishes from the sink in case there is a showing and run the dishwasher frequently. We want to prevent any kind of food stench in the kitchen — that includes taking out the trash as well.
- Flowers: Vases of colorful, fresh flowers spotted throughout the house make a wonderful impression on prospective buyers. They really bring life into the space and make a room feel extra “homey”. Your local grocery store is a great place to pick up simple, affordable arrangements.
- Good lighting: Remind your clients that we always want blinds/curtains open during the day to let in as much natural light as possible. Also make sure all light bulbs in lamps and ceiling fixtures are replaced and in working order.
- Furniture & Decor: As the listing agent, you might rearrange some of your clients’ furniture and accessories to ensure good “flow” and functionality. Looking at home design/decor websites will help a lot with this step because it is individualized based on the home and existing furnishings. The main goal is to make sure each room is discernible in terms of its design and function, meaning a buyer will walk in and see that space’s purpose and potential. (Side note: I have often taken items from my own home to use in a client’s home for staging. A nice lamp or accent piece, some beautiful coffee table books, and throw pillows really do make a difference.)
- Greenery: Consider purchasing a few house plants or an indoor tree to place in the home. Like fresh flowers, house plants add a very welcoming, organic element in a room. Fiddle leaf figs and olive trees are nice options — just be sure your clients are willing to care for them properly.
What else do you want help with when it comes to staging? I always welcome questions or discussion and would love to help with anything you need!