Home Staging Before You Sell: What You Can and Can’t Do Yourself

April 5, 2021

Home Staging Before You Sell: What You Can and Can’t Do Yourself

If you are working with a good Realtor, then you know that you can’t just put your home on the market as is and hope for the best. Buyers won’t likely be charmed by your family vacation pictures on the wall and the shoe collection next to the front door. When buyers walk into a home they potentially want to buy, they are wanting to see a clean slate that is move-in ready.

It’s not uncommon for buyers to pass on what could be the best home for them, if they’re turned off by some furniture, decor, and paint choices, even if they won’t really make a difference long term. These things shouldn’t affect a serious buyer’s decision, but they do.

Yes, you can stage your home yourself

In order to maximize the purchase price that you can get for your home, it’s a necessity to stage it. The majority of home sellers see up to 15 percent return on investment over the list price of their home after making an average investment of 1 percent of the list price, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.

At a minimum, you can stage your home the best you can, using what you have to make your home clean, clutter-free, and as neutral as possible. 

Before you commit to staging your home yourself, talk to your Realtor to see if they include hiring a stager in their services or recommendations, and how that plays out as a return on investment for you regarding increasing the amount of the home sale.

You can: Declutter and clean

Removing personal photos, most decor, and any extra furniture is the best way to get rid of distractions, when you’re wanting buyers to view your home as their new dream home. 

You may feel that your home will look too “blank” or “boring,” but it is best practice, when selling your home, to allow buyers to easily envision themselves living in the home. That is easiest to do without your personal decor. Think of how upscale hotels are neutral and have minimal decor, and try your best to emulate that. 

For tips on what to deep clean yourself when getting ready to put your home on the market, see Things Buyers and Realtors Hate to Tell You When You’re Selling Your Home.

While it is a good idea to first clean your home yourself while decluttering, it is also a good idea to get a professional deep cleaning of the home, before putting it on the market. This will help eliminate any dirt or odors that you may not notice but could automatically be a deal-breaker for potential buyers.

You can: Paint interior walls

Paint is something that can easily deter someone from buying your home. This is a relatively easy job to tackle and finish in a weekend, in order to accommodate buyers who will inevitably prefer to buy a home that is move-in ready. 

Also know, if you are hesitant to paint simply for the purpose of pleasing potential buyers, staging the home well may help you avoid that. When a home is well-staged, buyers are willing to overlook an undesirable paint color and other small issues as well.

You shouldn’t: Paint everything white

It’s true that painting a room white is probably the cheapest and easiest way to remodel any room. However, you shouldn’t paint your whole house white for the sole purpose of pleasing buyers. If new paint here and there around the house will make your home more marketable, then you can. But don’t think you have to, if the current paint looks fine as is. 

Your best bet, to not waste money or your effort where it’s not needed, is to ask for your Realtor’s opinion. They will know what buyers are looking for.

You shouldn’t: Perform major renovations

If you feel confident to do so, you should definitely do small repairs yourself, like minor front yard work, fixing doors and cabinets that squeak, caulking bathtubs, plastering small holes in the walls, etc. These are small but important things to take care of before calling in a professional home stager, as they won’t be able to cover all of these up with well-placed decor. 

If you have larger renovations, it’s always a good idea to rely on professionals, especially when your projected home listing date is coming up. 

If you’re not sure what you might need to renovate (and what you don’t), see What to Renovate for the Best Return On Investment When Selling Your Home.

You shouldn’t: Rent furniture

Your home stager will be the best person to know what should be in your home. They often have their own staging furniture to use which  doesn’t require you renting any.

If you aren’t going with a professional home stager, then when it comes to renting your furniture, you should use your Realtor’s advice for what will work best and most cost-effectively for your situation.

You can: DIY home staging tips during Covid-19

During the pandemic, demand has really gone up for home offices. So if you have one, that can be a great asset when selling. We recommend storing away personal items (especially because of work-related privacy) in your home office, just like with other areas of the home. Leaving out a laptop or desktop computer on a desk is a great show piece, but as for the rest of your office paraphernalia, clear it out. Allow buyers to see themselves in that office. 

For the rest of the home, it is a great idea to clear things and store away as much as possible.  There will be fewer things to sterilize after, if you have buyers doing walkthroughs.

A few things can make all of the difference:  Real or fake plants brightening a room. setting the table, removing decor unless it’s relatively neutral, and letting in as much natural lighting as possible. 

When in doubt, call a stager in your area. You may even be able to do a virtual consultation with a stager, to help you figure out how to fix your space up, without having the stager come into the home. 

For more ideas on staging your home yourself, see How to Stage Your Home to Sell for Top Dollar.

Your best bet for selling a home at a great price?

Work with a great Realtor. They are an invaluable asset to help you sell your home, and have a wealth of knowledge to help you make the best decisions that will work for you. 

If state safety guidelines are still required, check out the Coronavirus Real Estate Guide on how your Realtor and potential home buyers can view your property safely. After that, discuss how the process will work with your Realtor, as guidelines can always change.

Navigating the home-selling process can be intimidating, especially during a pandemic. Luckily, you can still have a successful home-selling experience, when you have a good Realtor on your side to help you. 

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in the Sacramento area, contact us at Quantum Real Estate to schedule a free consultation. We’ll help you through each step of the process. 

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