Design and staging secrets on how to update your home and attract buyers without a major investment.
With 2019’s housing market off to a modest start, sellers must seek to stand out. With more homes for sale in formerly red hot markets like Seattle, there’s less competition for buyers. Fortunate for them, but as a result, sellers must make their homes shine in a way they haven’t had to in years.
One of the smartest ways to go about this is staging, which may help increase the home’s perceived value to buyers, said Redfin Concierge Lauren Lindsey.
“Sellers have their personal taste and style, and it might not be what buyers want,” she said. “Buyers may be thinking of spending their life’s savings. If there’s yellow on one wall and purple on the next, an immediate to-do list can feel daunting. Staging helps the home feel as new as possible so there are less objections.”
Indeed for a 2 percent listing fee, the Redfin Concierge team provide all the benefits of a Redfin 1 percent listing, plus white-glove services to manage improvements in order to make a strong market debut. This includes a custom improvement plan for updates such as decor, lighting, paint, furniture placement, deep cleaning and decluttering.
“People don’t want to go into a home and see someone else’s life. They want to envision their future.
I make design choices to allow that, and also find out what the client needs, and how to accommodate them,” Lauren said. “If the seller will be living in the home while it’s being shown, I want them to sleep in their own bed and be comfortable, but eliminate pieces that might darken their space, or otherwise detract from the value of home.”
To learn how to best stage your home, read on for Lauren’s easy ideas and insider tips.
1. Replace outlet and light switch covers
“Replacing yellowed outlet and light switch plates is an inexpensive, 28 cent way to change the perception of your home and make it look maintained. Yellowed fixtures can encourage the mind to go to negative places such as wondering whether there was smoking in the home.”
2. Cross line items off your closing list
“Do simple things like replace old carbon monoxide detectors. This helps take line items off your inspection report. One line item less is always a good thing.”
3. Say ‘so long’ to dark sofas
“If sofas are really dark, swap them for staging. Replace a dark brown leather sofa or reclining chair with softer grey pieces that look more modern. Pillows and throws helps, as does adding high end fake plants or succulents, which bring greenery and life to the home.”
4. Create systems to keep rooms neat
“Anything that shows you’ve been living there, like a toothbrush, needs to be put away. I give clients caddy baskets, like the kind you took to the bathroom in college. It creates an easy daily system to pull out what you need and then put it away. These habits help so you don’t have to clean every day.”
5. Glaze your tiles
“I had a bathroom with all purple tiles, and my seller couldn’t justify spending an exorbitant amount of money to replace it, so we glazed it white. This also works for kitchens if the tile and grout is really dirty, and marbled bathroom vanity counter tops. They can all be glazed instead of replaced. Glaze is one of the tools I use most, and it’s a no chip finish.”
6. Don’t show a bedroom as a home office
“Stage all bedrooms as bedrooms, because the number affects the value of the home. If you’re staging one bedroom as an office, you’ve just lost a bedroom because your buyers aren’t going to come in and see it as a bedroom.”
7. Pay attention to scale
“Scale of furniture should match the space. You want to have a nice weight to the room, so it feels livable without too much open area, and also not too cramped. In small bedrooms, stage with full size bed at minimum, and always a queen or king in the master. People have trouble envisioning scale in bedrooms and incorrectly assume what can fit.”
8. Choose white or sheer curtains
“Remove dark or blackout curtains, and replace with sheer or semi sheer curtains. They endlessly let natural light in to give the room an airy feel, but with privacy so you don’t feel like you’re part of a zoo exhibit. My favorite are the $10 curtains from Ikea, which are all cotton, and come in a pair. You can’t find a better price than that and I take them from house to house. You can also hang curtain rods higher than your windows to make your windows look bigger and extend the room.”
9. Don’t forget to deep clean
“Make sure baseboards and appliances are clean. Get a nice good deep clean before you put a home on the market. Before open houses, do a quick sweep and make sure there are no dishes in the sink. Small things go a long way.”
10. Pick a simple backsplash
“Avoid opinionated finishes. A trendy backsplash might appeal to some, but not others. Subway tile has been around since the ‘60s and hasn’t gone away for a reason. You can dress it up or down and it’s inexpensive. It’s a clean simple option and doesn’t make enough of a statement to truly dislike it.”
11. Make your home light and bright
“Using 3K or bright white bulbs will brighten without overdoing it. You don’t want so much brightness that it looks like a hospital, and similarly, if lighting is too soft it won’t light the space accurately.”
12. Neutralize and modernize living spaces
“When potential buyers walk through a house, we want them to focus on seeing their future, not on distracting elements of the seller’s personal taste and style. To do this, we neutralize and modernize the space. I use a lot of greys and love Benjamin Moore’s color of the year, Metropolitan, which I’ve been using for the last year and a half. It might sound boring, but it makes for a neutral palette, and it works.”
13. Depersonalize the home
“Designing for selling is very different from designing for personal lifestyle. Take down family photos and replace them with abstract artwork, but nothing too opinionated. This helps sell it to someone who needs a clean slate and gives them the opportunity to envision how they’ll add their own personal touch.”
14. Make your bed
“Create a bed setting stacked with pillows and shams for a nice polished look. Make the bed, and use white or grey duvet covers. You can give personality by adding pops of colors from throw blankets and extra pillows.”
Need help staging your home to sell? Talk to Redfin Concierge.