The Definitive Guide to Home Staging and Maximizing Your Profit

If you had the chance to make thousands of dollars and reduce your stress level at the same time, wouldn't you jump at it? That's exactly what staging your home for sale can do for you. According to the Christian Science Monitor, staging can increase the selling price of your home anywhere from 7-20%.

Many real estate agents recommend staging and there are now certified home stagers to help you earn top dollar on your house sale. The professionals can either be hired for consultation or to do the work for you. But if the idea is to save money, why not do the work yourself? The key to successfully staging your home is to start before your home ever goes on the market. Take a look at your home, inside and out, with a critical eye, bearing in mind the things that a buyer will be looking for.

Start Outside
Curb appeal is key. Surveys indicate that about half of all potential buyers will drive by your home before they ever schedule a showing. If you don't pique their interest, you've already lost the sale.

Trim hedges (particularly those blocking windows) and trees, pull weeds, and mow the lawn. In spring, plant some bright flowers or put a pot of flowering plants on the front porch. Make sure shutters are clean and paint the siding if necessary. Give the door a fresh coat of paint. Replace torn screens, repair loose shingles and make sure all locks and doorknobs are secure. Hang a seasonal wreath on your front door and put out a new welcome mat (no cute sayings).

Inside-The First Impression
Nothing can kill a sale faster than having a potential buyer greeted by an unpleasant odor the minute they open your door. Once you decide to sell your home, it's time to stop smoking in it. If you have pets, make sure the litter boxes are cleaned daily. Open windows as much as possible to keep your home smelling fresher. Before a showing, light some scented candles, put out a floral arrangement or bake a batch of cookies to infuse the air with a pleasing aroma.

Increase Your Square Footage
You can't make your home bigger but you can give the impression that it is. The first step is to remove all clutter. Remove all personal items so buyers can imagine themselves in the home. Box up collections and family photos. Reduce the things you have on open shelving by half. Leave only one print or painting hanging on a wall to maximize wall space. Any furniture you don't use on a daily basis should be put in storage. Reduce the amount of seating to just what is necessary for a normal family evening. Baskets of magazines or blankets, the rack of TV trays and the extra shelving unit you brought in for displaying collections should all be packed up.

In the kitchen, clear off counters. Move small appliances into cupboards or the pantry. Go through all cupboards, drawers and the pantry and box up anything you don't use regularly. Clear off the refrigerator-remove family photos, your child's latest masterpiece and all of the magnets. The idea is to make the kitchen look as though you can easily fit in everything a family will need. Do the same thing in your bathrooms.

Clean out closets as well. Again the idea is to make them look spacious. Pack up out-of-season clothing and anything you are simply storing in your closets.

Don't forget the garage. Clear out toxic products (old paint, weed killers, etc.) and dispose of them properly. Box up any sporting equipment you are not presently using. Move the lawn mower, snow blower and bicycles to storage is they are out of season.

If there's time, consider a garage sale. If not, make a donation to a local charity.

Be ruthless-box up everything you don't absolutely need in the next few weeks. You'll have to do it sooner or later. Don't just shove everything you've removed into the basement or garage-you'll want those spaces to appear spacious as well. If there's a corner of the basement you can stack boxes in, do that. But if your basement is already full or you need room to store furniture, it's best to rent a small storage facility. The cost is minimal, particularly in light of the fact that the idea is to increase the asking price on your home.

Make It Shine
Before you put your home on the market, you want it spotlessly clean. Wash or dry clean all window treatments, thoroughly scrub down all appliances (inside and out), wash walls and windows (inside and out), and shampoo the carpets to remove odors and enhance their appearance.

Patch up all holes in walls and add a fresh coat of paint. If you've chosen a deep or bright color for a room, it's best to repaint in a neutral color for selling.

Replace outdated light fixtures and faucets. Repair loose doorknobs, squeaky doors and old caulk.

Staging The Rooms
Once the clutter is removed and everything is clean, it's time to actually stage your home. Staging should make the rooms look spacious, highlight focal points and allow the potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. The quickest and fastest way to bump up the perceived value of your home is to fill it with EMFURN's mid century modern furniture classics, the same type of furniture you might've seen on your favorite tv show such as Suits or Mad Men.

In the entry, leave only a small table with a lamp if there is room. Remove any coat or shoe racks. In the dining room, use your china to create a beautiful table setting.

In the bathrooms, keep out only what you use daily. Hang towels in only one or two colors. Add a couple of candles on the counter to create a spa feel. Remove plush toilet covers and leave only one rug on the floor. Put away toilet brushes and plungers.

Move furniture out from the walls. Place at least one piece at an angle. Arrange furniture to highlight a focal point. Disguise dated or stained furniture with throws, pillows or slipcovers. Get rid of large plants unless you have very little furniture in a room. Desktops should be kept cleared off. If your desk is very large, consider replacing it, while your house is on the market, with a smaller table.

Get Ready For A Showing
Before a showing, take some time to make sure your home is looking it's best.
Clean sinks and bathrooms
Vacuum all floors
Wash dirty dishes and put them away
Empty all trash
Put away clothes and personal items
Lock up valuables or put them in your car trunk
Clear away all mail, newspapers and magazines
Make beds and put out guest towels in bathrooms
Pick up litter on your property (including animal droppings) and put away any children's toys
Clean litter boxes and move them to the garage along with your pet's bowls
Open curtains and blinds
Turn on all lights

If it all sounds like overwhelming, keep in mind the bottom line. Your goal is to sell your home fast and for the best price. Staging typically cuts the time your home is on the market in half and can increase your profit. Buyers have so many choices available-make your home the best choice.