Home staging is the practice of preparing a property for sale. It is a form of promotion that tries to distinguish a property from the sea of listings available to a prospective homebuyer or tenant. Home staging might seem simple, but one can spend a lot of time figuring out the best way to make one’s home look enticing - whether it be furnishing an apartment for viewings or sprucing up a property’s online profile on listing sites like OKAY.com.
The concept of home staging is not some novel pseudoscience. In fact, staging your home has been shown to have a very real impact on the interest your property is able to attract on the market. The US-based Real Estate Staging Association (RESA) conducted 2 studies in 2014 that support this. The first study involved 63 unstaged homes which were found to sit on the market for an average of 143 days prior to the owners reconsidering the use of professional home staging services. After staging, these same homes averaged a first offer within 40 days. The second study involved 481 homes that were staged before they went on the market. On average, these homes received their first offer within 23 days after being listed.
If you are someone with a do-it-yourself mentality, we have compiled a list of things on how to stage your home for sale and make your property more appealing to anyone scouring through property listings in search for a place to call “home”.
1. Optimize Space by Decreasing Clutter
The first home staging tip is to optimize space within the home. Nobody wants a home that looks small and cramped. When you put your property on the market think about how you can present it to make any prospective buyer/tenant feel like they could live there. For instance, does that chair really have to be in the bedroom? Are the rooms clean? Does the living room really need 3 separate carpets? Are dishes and clothes stowed away in their respective storage spaces? Are items arranged in a way to ensure there is sufficient walking space around the entirety of the home? It is important to keep asking yourself questions that pertain to the current state of your property and whether or not it looks clean, spacious, and organized. One additional little staging tip is to make sure that your closets and cabinets show a bit of unused space. This gives off the impression to any buyer/tenant that your home is more than spacious enough to house their belongings.
2. Hide personal items and pets
You want prospective home buyers and tenants to feel like they are stepping into a home they could move into right this second. This means that while you do want to decorate your home in an aesthetically pleasing manner, it is best to keep décor neutral to appeal to a broader base of individual tastes. This includes personal photographs and anything that might identify you and other members of the household, as well as your pets. Anything that identifies you affects the visitor’s impression, and their vision of this home being theirs.
3. Define Your Layout
Though you may be aware of every single nook and cranny in your apartment and why it is laid out the way it is, a stranger might not be able to grasp this. In fact, they might just be confused and overwhelmed by the seemingly haphazard and chaotic way things are “organized”. To aid buyers and tenants in envisioning the layout of their future home, clearly defining the purpose of each room and space, and sorting furniture and accessories accordingly is very important when staging your home for sale. For example, a desk and a few bookcases can be put together in a room to form a study or home office.
4. Arrange Your Furniture
Furniture in your apartment can greatly impact the impression of potential property buyers and tenants. Furniture that is all concentrated on one side of the room can make the room feel “unfinished”. If there is too much furniture, then you risk making things look too cramped. Ideally, you want to use furniture that is sized appropriately with the rest of the room and has a purpose. For instance, imagine a living room with a large TV. You are going to want to feature chairs and sofas around it, but you also do not want them to overpower the entire space. Similarly, whilst a bedroom should have appropriate furniture, the bed should not take up the whole room. The room can actually feel more spacious if there is ample room to walk around both sides of the bed.
5. Neutralize Your Walls
The color of your walls and what is attached to your walls are important details to pay attention to when staging your home. You do not want the colors of your walls to be explicitly associated with one gender. White is a great neutral color that also reflects light and can in turn help make your rooms look more spacious. That being said, you must attempt to strike a balance between being neutral and being too impersonal when decorating your apartment. You want to give the viewer the notion that this apartment has been lived in, and that it is not just some random display show. This can be accomplished through the addition of appropriate artwork.
6. Highlight with Lights
Lighting is important because it gives a better impression of the interior space. A room with dimly lit corners will look less spacious than a well-lit one. Consider more than one light source in a room, as one overhead light might not cover the entire room with enough light, and will draw all eyes to it. You want to ensure your rooms are properly lit, but also feel comfy and spacious. Enhanced lighting is often worth the extra expense and it is worth trying different options such as lampshades and recessed ceiling lights in addition to traditional light fixtures.
7. Upgrade your appliances
If you want your house to look new and up to date without spending the money on a full renovation, you will be surprised how much just upgrading kitchen appliances and small fixtures can count towards painting a picture of a modern, well-finished home for any prospective buyer/tenants. This distinguishes your property in the mind of a home seeker, especially if they don’t have to spend the time and money renovating a home they just bought. This technique may not only entice potential property buyers and tenants, but also make them more receptive to paying a premium for a property.
8. Take Professional Photos
After staging your home, taking professional grade photos of your property can help you transact your property faster. While this does not impact the aesthetic of your home, it is one of the most important things that you can do in the home staging process. According to several sources, over 90% of people view homes they first found on the Internet through listing services that feature thousands of properties at any one time. It is essential that the online profile of your property makes a strong first impression. As such, try to use a professional grade camera instead of your phone camera or webcam screenshots where possible.
Additionally, the content and composition of your photos are also important. Your photos should aim to: incorporate natural lighting, show off unique architectural/design features, and display the staged spaces in your property and the scenic views around it. For example, if your property has a view of Victoria Harbor, try and find a way to include it prominently in your photos.
Be sure to account for lighting. While it is advised to not have any dark corners in your photos, if there is too much light from both natural sources and your camera flash, disable the flash function.
Bear in mind that effective photo composition is a difficult skill to learn, and we can only impart so much in one article. We encourage you to study other property photo compositions to learn what makes an effective and appealing photo. Remember that when in doubt, you can always employ the services of a professional photographer or ask our agents for advice.
We hope that the above home staging tips provide you with solid suggestions of how to furnish your home and make it more presentable to facilitate the faster sale or leasing out of your home. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask us for help!