Most homebuyers know that sensation—the moment you walk into a house and just know it's the home for you. What they may not know is the feeling of "home at first sight" sometimes needs a helping hand.
Home staging is all about creating that emotional connection. To be successful at it, you have to appeal to all five of the buyer's senses.
Smell can evoke an emotional response that doesn't even register in our conscious thoughts. Even the slightest hint of mustiness can conjure impressions of mold and mildew, so make sure each room of your home smells as fresh and clean as possible.
- Weather permitting, open your windows and doors to let in the fresh air. Box and ceiling fans can help you circulate air into rooms with less ventilation.
- Fresh-cut flowers can brighten any room's atmosphere. Just make sure you choose varieties with subtle scents and low pollen. See examples »
- Replace or remove old rugs and bathmats and clean or air out curtains.
- Have your carpets and upholstery cleaned just before you put your house on the market and remember to vacuum daily. With any luck, your floors will be seeing a lot of extra foot traffic!
- As much as you can, keep trash—especially kitchen waste—in sealed containers outside or in your garage.
- Don't let dishes pile up in the sink or dishwasher. Rinse after each use and take special care to keep your garbage disposal clear. Run the water for at least 30 seconds after you turn off the disposal and clean with vinegar and water as needed. Toss in some citrus peels for a fresh aroma.
- Choose cleaners that won't leave a harsh chemical smell in your home. This is a chance to do something nice for yourself, as well as your visitors. Cleaning is a much more pleasant task with a dose of aromatherapy. See examples »
Pet owners: If your furry family members must stay in the house while it's on the market, try to limit them to areas with hard-surface floors and encourage them to stay off the upholstery. Bathe and brush them as much as possible to keep shedding and odors minimal. Buyers with allergies will thank you! Learn how to "stage" your pets »
Smokers: If you've been smoking inside your house, now's the time to stop.
Use a variety of cloths and textures in your home. Cover your furniture with new fabric if the original upholstery is starting to look worn. Bed linens should be clean, stain-free and touchable. Run your fingers over some of the surfaces in each room. Dusty? Clean it. Splintering wood? Sand it and refinish.
While your home is on the market, it needs to be set up in a way that serves your selling goals, not necessarily your lifestyle. That may mean rearranging or redistributing your furniture, putting personal belongings into storage and/or painting and other redecoration.
- Each room should be shown to its best advantage. Small rooms can appear larger with the proper furniture placement, paint color and lighting. The right window treatment can help compensate for small windows. Take steps to address cracks, stains or other visible signs of disrepair. No matter how minor they may be, you don't want buyers to start thinking the house needs work.
- If you've been using the dining room as a home office or your guest room as a storage room, consider borrowing or renting furniture that helps re-establish each room's original purpose. Buyers should be able to see how they'd live in each space, not how you've chosen to use it.
- The less you showcase your personal tastes, the easier it is for buyers to see their own design possibilities in each room. Pack away mementos like family pictures and trophies and de-clutter as much as you can. Consider adding a fresh coat of paint; it will help create that clean slate you're going for and freshen up your walls at the same time. Need help choosing an interior paint color? Check out this article »
Take a moment to listen to your house. No, this isn't a zen exercise. Do you hear dripping faucets, squeaky steps or anything else that needs a quick fix? You can't control things like traffic sounds or noisy neighbors, but you can distract from them by playing soft music throughout the whole house.
Arguably the most difficult sense to appeal to when selling a home, taste can be addressed by providing refreshments. Visitors might not remember which house had a vase of daisies on the counter, but they'll remember the one that had just-brewed coffee, ice-cold bottled water or a fresh fruit tray.
Just how important is a first impression? In a 2012 Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey, 62% of women and 61% of men knew within the first visit if a home was the right one. What's more, 28% of women and 25% of men put greater emphasis on their feelings about a home than they did on the home's price, square footage or layout. Read more here or see the video here »
Staging your home may seem like a lot of work, but it will all pay off if it helps sell your home faster. Keep reading our blog for future DIY home staging tips!