One of the best ways to boost your chances of selling your home for your desired asking price is to stage your home. Staging a home may seem intimidating to many, and you might think that you need a professional to do it. But, staging a home can be simple if take the time to do it right! Check out the home staging checklist below.
Home Staging Checklist: Exterior
As you sell your home and look into buying a new one, the procedure can get a little tricky. Here are some helpful tips to assist you through your move and make life a whole lot easier.
- Clear lawn debris and equipment
- Replace outdoor lighting
- Clean your mailbox & make sure your home numbers are readable
Add Some Curb Appeal to the Exterior of Your Home
First and foremost, the outside of your home (known as curb appeal) is one of the most important things the buyer considers. When they pull into your driveway, what’s their first impression? Make sure the yard and all walkways are cleared of any debris, lawn equipment like hoses and mowers and toys.
Bonus Tip: A fresh mulch job is a great way to spice up the outside image of your home, especially in your flowerbeds. Don’t stop at mulch, be sure to remove weeds as well.
Replace Outdoor Lighting
Next, you want to ensure that lighting is adequate. Replace old or burnt-out bulbs in your entryways, outside soffits, and garage. You can even add some solar lighting to the driveway.
Check Your House Numbers
Lastly, make sure your mailbox and house numbers are clean and readable. You want those potential buyers to find your home easily. You can’t sell it if they can’t find it!
Staging a Home Checklist: Interior
Now that the outside of your home is looking totally amazing, it’s time for the inside.
- Put away all sentimental items (family photos, kids artwork, etc.)
- Move CDs, DVDs, and books into storage
- Organize and downsize furniture to make your home appear larger
- Add lighting and ensure all bulbs are in good working order
- Paint all walls a neutral color
Declutter and Protect Sentimental Items
To start, you’ll want to go through all the rooms and clear away any clutter or personal items that have accumulated. Clear out personal family photos, including kids’ artwork on the fridge and on the walls. Remember, you don’t know who the potential buyers will be, you don’t know their style, and you don’t know what might turn them away. Keep in mind that you want potential buyers to be able to envision this as their home, not yours. This is one of the most important parts of this home staging checklist!
You’ll also want to move most of your CDs, DVDs and any older used books into storage. If you are keeping books to fill shelving make sure they are nicely stacked and organized, and free of dust. Get some nice baskets to fill in empty spaces on shelves since they double as essential hiding spots (keys, remotes, etc.). It’s best to keep things as simple as possible – less is more.
How to Know What to Put in Storage
A good rule of thumb, if you have not used the items in your home in 3 months, it is best to put them in storage until you find your new home. If the items you store in your home have gone more than a year untouched, it is best to donate or sell them. And if some items just hit too close to home and you can’t give them up, just move them into your storage unit for safekeeping! By the time you finish clearing out, you will actually want about 90% of your home packed up for storage, donated, or sold.
Bonus Tip: All of our locations have Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania donation bins for new and gently used clothing and shoes. You can also check with the property manager and see if you can donate small household goods and furniture that are in good shape as well.
Organize Furniture and Shelving
Now that all the clutter is cleared out of your home, it’s time to rearrange and organize what’s left. Take a look at the furniture. We all have a tendency to accumulate this, too. Some furniture is not necessary to keep in your home during the selling process. It’s best to move those pieces to your storage unit. Some furniture may be hard to store, but in the long run it will drive more value into your home. A common misconception is that furniture has to be up against walls. Not true! You want to float the furniture away from them, creating usable space all around. Keep in mind that every cleared square foot is added real estate in the buyers’ eyes. This all helps give the potential buyers the ability to see the entire home for what it is.
Make rooms have a purpose. One “bad” room can be a make or break point for potential buyers. They like to be able to envision how they will these rooms: an office, a nursery, the master suite. If you have a room used solely for storage, clear it out and move it all to your storage unit when staging a home! Turn it into a workout room, an office, an organized craft room, a family room or a meditation room. You need to prove there is meaning to the home and that no matter who occupies it, they will feel at home.
Clean and Sanitize Everything
Another biggie in this home staging checklist is making sure everything is cleaned and sanitized. Perhaps someone walks in and gets hit in the face by odd and disgusting smells; they will have a tendency not to pay much attention to anything else the house has to offer. Create a welcoming environment by baking cookies right before a showing or have a simmer pot sitting on the stove. And, replace all those plugin air fresheners with something mild and soothing – stay away from heavy floral and musty scents as they give the impression you are trying to cover something up. Choose something like vanilla or lilac. Don’t have time to clean and sanitize your home? Invest in the professionals. Trust us, this is money well spent!
Check All Lighting for Consistency
A key factor most people forget while staging a home is lighting. Utilizing lighting properly really adds to the appeal of the home and again, gives it the desired “homey” feeling. Get rid of those big bulky drapes and trade them in for something that is more light and airy such as blinds or transparent curtains. Let the outside light into your home, don’t block it out. When choosing curtains or blinds; use something with a subtle vertical pattern. This will make the windows and overall living space appear much taller and will create a more open environment. Install dimmers where you can. With these, you can adjust the lighting to match the time of day so certain spaces won’t appear too bright or too dark.
Make Wall Colors Neutral
Make sure you use neutral color palates on your walls. This makes everything appear clean and fresh. Remember, simple is better! You don’t want a buyer walking into a Barbie pink room and having that be the reason you can’t sell. The biggest concern you want to avoid is having your buyer think, “Well this is going to have to be redone.” This just gives them more reasons to negotiate the price down. You want them to able to envision living in your home. If you invest a little time and money into the appearance, you will see the return.
This is our number one tip on this home staging checklist: use storage to protect all of your items and to make a good impression! You don’t want a potential buyer to see a bunch of “junk” filling every nook and cranny. It just gives a really bad impression. If you don’t currently have a storage unit, now is the time to get one! Use it for any clutter that is not a necessity, things you don’t want to part with, personal belongings that may distract buyers, and furniture pieces that are used for space hiders. Anything you can live without on a daily basis is what needs to go into storage.
If you still need more assistance on the whole selling and staging process, contact us to speak with one of our helpful property managers. And, if you know what you need to do and you are ready to start using storage right away and get your home listed, you can check out our unit prices, reserve a unit and even rent a unit completely online 24/7!
Bonus: Make Your Home Smell Amazing!
Now, here’s a little bonus for you; a very easy simmer pot recipe to get your place smelling amazing!
Spring/Summer: pineapple juice, coconut extract, slices of lemons, limes, and oranges
Fall/Winter: 2 cinnamon sticks, orange peels, apple peels, 1 tbsp whole cloves, 1/2 cup cranberries
Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the ingredients from your favorite recipe, boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer all day. Top off the water as needed.
Set your timer for 30 minutes so you remember to top it off with water. You don’t want the pot burning dry. And, don’t leave the house with the recipe left the heating on the stove. Simply turn it off before you leave and let it sit on the back burner while the potential buyer is visiting your home.
Originally published 7/14/2015; updated 7/30/2021