Home Selling

Top 10 Tips for Staging Your Home Before Selling

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I'm a Kansas City realtor and #girldad sharing my favorite things for the whole family. Follow along to learn all about home buying and selling in KC, home decor and hosting tips, and more! 

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Today we’re talking about most people’s least favorite activity – moving. Want to add even more to the stress of moving? We’re talking about preparing your home to be sold WHILE planning to move. So how do you prepare a house for showings while living there, likely with kids, pets and all the messiness of life still going on? It can feel extremely overwhelming. In a perfect world, you would move before listing your home. But the reality is, that isn’t an option financially for many people or due to the craziness of the current housing market. However, there are ways to lessen the burden and prepare for a smooth move. Get our tried and true tips to prep your house and staging your home with ease. 

First of all, let us just pause here and say – CONGRATS!! Wherever you are in the home buying or selling process we want to congratulate you for taking a big step for your future. There was once a time when we were brand new parents and suddenly very aware that we needed more space for our growing family. We quickly began the house hunting process with our three-month old baby in-tow to each showing. The market was extremely competitive and we would have to jump at the opportunity to look at a house, sometimes with a moment’s notice, in order to get an offer submitted quickly. It was overwhelming, to say the least. And let’s not even get started on the stress of actually moving with a newborn. Bottomline – we learned a ton of lessons on simple things we could have done to prepare in advance that would have saved us so much time and energy. Well friend, we’re here to share, so you don’t make the same mistakes we did!

Before we get started let’s do a little visualization activity. Close your eyes and mentally walk through your home starting in the front yard. Imagine what potential buyers will experience – from the very first sight, to what they smell as they explore your home. This may seem a little extreme, but the reality is that we get so used to our environments that we completely overlook things that may be very obvious to guests. For our seller clients we complete this process with them to make sure they feel supported throughout the entire home selling process. 

Top 10 Tips for Staging your home before selling

Now that you’ve taken time to visualize creating a positive experience for prospective buyers lets get down to the nitty gritty (literally). When you are trying to sell your home, it’s important to make sure that everything is in order. One of the easiest ways to do this is by decluttering your home. Decluttering is the number one thing you can do to prepare a house for a showing (and it’s FREE!). Cleaning and decluttering your home doesn’t have to be a tedious task, in fact it should only take a couple days at most depending on the size of the house. For larger homes, it may be beneficial to have a professional house cleaner complete the process prior to staging and an added touch we highly recommend.

Next, do an actual walk through of your home and make a list of things you will need in order to declutter and organize. You can find most items for under $20.00, quite often cheaper! After performing the walk through and making the list, now is also a good time to gather all supplies needed for decluttering and cleaning. For example trash bags, cleaners, towels and so forth.

  1. Remove personal items 
    When staging a home it’s best to remove any pictures or mementos that are visible from outside of the home. When buyers are touring the home, they want to envision themselves living there so removing personal items can greatly help them do so.
  2. Organize kitchen pantry, closets and bathrooms 
    It can be beneficial to do a temporary clean out of the pantry before staging your home. If you have items that are expired, donate them to a food bank. In the bathrooms, throw away expired medicine. A buyer will want the opportunity to thoroughly look through the entire home during their showing including cabinets, closets and drawers. You don’t want them discovering old meds in the back of your bathroom cabinet!
  3. Move items to make the place feel larger 
    A great tip for staging a home is to move furniture and decor around. For instance, if you have an island in your kitchen and want to make the kitchen appear more spacious, move it out from the wall and utilize space around it. If possible, assess each room and remove furniture that isn’t completely necessary. When selling it’s essential to make rooms feel as big as possible. 
  4. Focus on smell
    Let’s be honest, when touring a possible home, smell can have a huge impact. With so many options on the market, finding a way to freshen the smell of your home is not difficult. One of our favorite ways to do this is making a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies prior to an open house or showing, if possible, leaving them out for buyers to enjoy. This is a classic smell that immediately makes people feel at home. For harsher smells like cigarettes or pets, consider using a reverse ozone machine to eliminate strong odors. These machines can be rented from Home Depot or Lowe’s. 
  5. Keep decor neutral 
    While this isn’t always necessary when staging your home, it is better safe than sorry. Tasteful decor around a home gives potential buyers ideas of how they could arrange the home when they live there. However, avoid taking certain styles to the extreme. First impressions are everything! 
  6. Make it bright and light
    Open up the blinds and curtains and let the light shine in! Seriously, enhance natural light as much as possible. If it’s been awhile, consider cleaning windows on exterior and interior for brighter light. For staging purposes consider adding mirrors to your decor to pull in more of the light as well. There are also some inexpensive ways to makeover a room with lighting if you don’t have the budget for new lamps or lighting fixtures. Adjusting your existing light sources can brighten up a room. Try using lamps to lighten dark corners or utilizing accent lighting on furniture, artwork or plants! When using lamps make sure all lightbulbs match. We recommend warmer glow rather than blue LED as many people feel that adds a cozy element to spaces.
  7. Add yellow to the front porch
    Our family has been in real estate for a LONG time and one of the oldest pieces of advice we have heard is adding yellow to the front of your home in some capacity. Plants, wreaths, furniture or go all out and paint the front door. Yellow catches peoples eye as they drive by. It’s also been said that seeing yellow as the first and last color of a home makes it more memorable. 
  8. Provide a list of updates
    This is something a seasoned agent will always do. We like to take it even further for our clients and label updates around the home to make sure that everyone notices upgrades. If your real estate agent doesn’t ask you for that information make sure to bring it to their attention by providing a list. 
  9. Clean, clean, clean
    We said it before but really a clean home makes all the difference. Even if you don’t get the opportunity to declutter as much as you had hoped, it’s okay! As long as the space is clean it will help go a long way to maximizing the sale price of your property. 
  10. Just remember – you’re doing great!
    We’re here to remind you – this stage of the process is temporary! When selling a home quickly and effectively, decluttering and cleaning are the most important things you can do to get your house sold. The more space that exists in each room the better it will feel for buyers when looking at different homes.

Want to take your selling experience to the next level?

We hope you found this quick list helpful when thinking about selling. If you’re located in the Greater Kansas City area and thinking about selling, reach out to Mitch Lickey today or schedule a free consultation here! We go above and beyond for our sellers to make the process as stress free as possible. Let us know how we can help you today!

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Brooke & Mitch.
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Each office is independently owned and operated.