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Home Staging: Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

In today's competitive housing market, your home's appearance plays an important role in determining how quickly it will sell. Before you put your home on the market, many real estate professionals recommend doing at least some form of home staging.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to stage your home for selling that take only a little time and effort, and more importantly, won't break the bank.

Be sure to make a good first impression

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions are important. A yard that is overgrown and poorly maintained can turn off a potential buyer before he or she even walks through your front door.

But keep in mind that you don't have to have a green thumb or hire an expensive landscape designer to make a difference. You can make the outside of your home more welcoming by:

  • Cutting grassy areas that are overgrown
  • Trimming trees and shrubbery--especially those that are near or next to the house
  • Clearing walkways and paths so visitors can easily enter/exit your home
  • Giving your front door a fresh coat of paint
  • Making sure outdoor lighting is adequate/updated

Create a welcoming environment

When potential buyers first walk through your front door, you'll want them to feel comfortable and at ease. You can create a welcoming environment with a few minor touches such as fresh flowers in the entryway or the smell of freshly baked cookies.

Give your home a thorough cleaning

Never underestimate the impact a clean home can have on a potential buyer. Dust on shelves, mildew in the bathroom, and dirty carpets can be huge deterrents when selling a home.

Before you put your home on the market, you'll want to give it a thorough cleaning from top to bottom. If it's a big enough job, you may even want to enlist the services of a professional cleaning company to assist you with the cleanup.

Remove clutter

Removing clutter from your home will make it seem more functional, spacious, and organized--all important features for a potential homebuyer.

While it can sometimes seem overwhelming to have to sift through and organize all of your personal belongings, you can get started with these simple tips:

  • Clean out closets and install closet organizers
  • If home office space is limited, add shelves and storage bins to hide office clutter
  • Remove any personal effects, such as photos, mementos, and even toiletries
  • In addition to main living spaces, be sure to clean out attic, basement, and garage spaces
  • Rent a dumpster or hire a waste disposal company to make it easier to get rid of larger, unwanted items or consider donating unwanted items that are in good condition to a charitable organization
  • If necessary, hire a professional organizer

Invest in a fresh coat of paint

Dated wall treatments, such as wallpaper borders and faux finishes, can deter a potential buyer. A fresh coat of paint is a cost effective way to give your home an updated appearance.

When picking out paint colors, be sure to stick to neutral color schemes, which tend to have a broader appeal. In addition, remember that darker colors often make rooms seem smaller and more intimate, while lighter colors can make a room appear larger and more spacious.

Hold off on major improvements/upgrades

Except in certain circumstances, most home staging projects should only involve minor improvements to your home that won't take up much of your time or cost you a lot of money. As a result, you should hold off on major improvements or upgrades, such as renovating an entire kitchen or putting on a new addition.

Get professional help if needed

If you feel that you need assistance staging your home before you put it on the market, there are staging professionals and companies that assist homeowners during the home-staging process.

The cost of professional home staging varies, depending on the types of services provided. Basic staging services usually offer simple advice and tips for organizing and cleaning your home. Other, more involved staging services provide full home redesigns along with specially staged furnishings and accessories.