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How to Stage Your Home to Sell (With Tips)

How to Stage Your Home to Sell (With Tips)

By Katrina Creer on Oct 28 2021

Whether you are listing a small apartment or a stately mansion, knowing how to stage your home to sell is essential to win over prospective buyers.

It might sound like added work or expense, but it can make a significant difference – adding an estimated five to 10 per cent to the final sale price. Moreover, if money isn't incentive enough, research shows staged homes tend to spend less time on the market.

Staging a property is more than just tidying or perfectly arranging lounge cushions. It is about creating an emotional connection. You want buyers to fall in love at first inspection.  

Ask anyone about why they bought their property, and you will usually hear how they stepped inside their home and just knew it was the 'one'. Staging is one of the best ways to make a great first impression.

Why staging your property is so important?

The key is allowing buyers to envision themselves living in your property. But, of course, this won't be possible if the walls are plastered in family photos or shelves full of holiday trinkets. Decluttering is a big part of staging a house to sell, which means putting all your personal items and memorabilia into storage.  

Start by going room by room, clearing out any mess and making sure everything is super clean. Grimy marks on the wall, a dirty sink, or a pungent toilet can do enormous damage to your hopes of finding a buyer.  So, pull out the duster, the vacuum and the mop to have the house sparkling.

And while you may love a vibrantly painted feature wall, be mindful that anything too bold will potentially narrow your market. Buyers are budget-conscious, and they may see changing the colour scheme as an added expense they can't afford to fix.

Walk through your home and try to imagine seeing it for the first time. But don't strip it completely bare – a sterile setting is probably even less appealing!

Staging a home for sale isn't limited to the interiors

When prospective buyers come to cast their eye over your abode, it's not the living or dining room they see first. So, you need to ensure the exterior is appealing enough to entice people to leave their car and come in for an inspection.

Make sure the lawn and garden are tidy, and the front fence has a fresh coat of paint. If there's a gate, make sure it swings and doesn't give off a screech that has people scurrying back out of there.  

Gutters should be clean and eaves free of flaking paint or stains. Invest in some plants, a garden chair or doormat, while blasting the pavers with a high-pressure hose can work wonders.  Add a new letterbox and updated outdoor light fixtures – and you are almost there. Be sure that the street or unit number is clearly visible, as you don't want anyone missing out on attending the open home.  

When prospective buyers arrive at the front door, you want them to feel excited about what lies ahead.

Staging your property will maximise its appeal  

Once you have them inside, make sure potential purchasers don't feel like stepping into a cave. Bathing the interior with natural light provides an inviting atmosphere and generally puts people in a good mood. Conversely, a dim setting leads to dark thoughts, like "imagine how cold this place will be in winter".  

If natural light is scarce or the weather miserable, make sure all your light fixtures are on and even bring in a few lamps to brighten any dark spots around the house. Roll up your sleeves and clean all the windows – or employ a professional to do this job.

Installing a skylight is another cost-effective solution to adding light and can create the illusion of space. These cost as little as $250 to purchase but can make a huge difference.  

Staging can make your home seem more spacious  

It is easy to become oblivious to the furniture and personal items gradually accumulated over the years. Too much clutter will make your home appear smaller and, while normal to you, it could simply appear messy to someone else.

While you don't have to stage every area, it should all be neat, tidy and functional. And yes, that means cleaning out the dreaded junk room.

Expect potential buyers will open the pantry and a few kitchen drawers, so they will need to be orderly.  

Rearranging furniture doesn't cost a thing and is an effective way to create more space and improve flow. Here, the aim is to make your home feel larger, so remember, less furniture is always best.  

Tips for staging your home  

Cleaning, decluttering and depersonalising are key, and the good thing is they don't cost anything except energy.

While fresh flowers are nice, a pot plant is a better idea to add some greenery and freshen up your interior.  You should be able to find some hardy ones at least through to the end of the marketing campaign.

Other ideas include:
  • Make sure your entrance is extra appealing  
  • Be inspired by the season – focus on the outdoors during summer and keep the interiors cosy during winter
  • Partially emptying cupboards can make them seem larger
  • Clear the kitchen benches and add a bright bowl of fruit
  • Go for gender-neutral decorated bedrooms
  • Add a scented candle and white towels to the bathroom
  • Artwork is a great way to make an empty room seem warmer
  • Go for a mixture of textures, glass vases and woollen throw in the lounge
  • Make sure you remove all traces of owning a pet

How much does it cost to stage a home  

After decluttering, it's time to call in the experts to stage your home for sale. Your LJ Hooker agent will be able to recommend a home staging company familiar with your area.

Using a stylist can save time and stress – and bump up your potential profits.  It is ideal for all types of properties, particularly those with a few quirks or even in need of renovation.  

Professional house stagers have a background in interior decorating and access to a warehouse of furniture, accessories and artwork that will make your home look like it is starring a magazine editorial. It may be that your interior just needs a few tweaks, partial staging or the full works - including outdoor furniture.  

The fee for staging your property depends on its size, location and how many areas need a makeover. Expect to pay from around $2,000 to $3,000 for an apartment and $4,000 to $8,000 – and possibly even more - for a larger home. The hire is usually for a six-week campaign.
While it sounds pricey, remember it can add handsomely to your final sale price.  

If that's out of budget, virtual staging is an inexpensive option. Computer-generated furniture is added to your photos for a cost of $30 to $120 per image. And even better, it can be turned around in 48-hours.

Staging a house for sale on a budget  

If your funds are a little tight, don't be afraid to stage your property on your own. You'll find no shortage of inspiration from YouTube, TikTok or renovating TV shows.  

Before making any major cosmetic changes, talk with your agent. They are best to advise on where to spend your money and what rooms should be a priority.  

Look for inexpensive ways of adding a little touch of style. New towels, bathmats, towels and linen are other thrifty ideas. Place a coffee table book in the lounge to add a touch of elegance. Scour second-hand stores or even borrow an item from a friend.

Be mindful that you are not selling 'your' property, detach yourself emotionally and be excited about your next move.  
For more tips on how to stage your home to sell, download our Styling Your Home to Sell eBook or get in touch with your local LJ Hooker real estate agent for a free property appraisal and some advice.

DISCLAIMER - The information provided is for guidance and informational purposes only and does not replace independent business, legal and financial advice which we strongly recommend. Whilst the information is considered true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided. LJ Hooker will not accept responsibility or liability for any reliance on the blog information, including but not limited to, the accuracy, currency or completeness of any information or links.

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