This summer I have enrolled in the Seneca College home staging program to improve my skills to become a professional home stager. While there are two more seminars until I complete the program, I have learned so much that I am excited to share with my readers right away.
I assume most of you reading this post know what home staging is and you do (to a certain extent) believe that it is a great tool for home sellers to get the home sold faster and at a higher price. In fact, research done by REAL ESTATE STAGING ASSOCIATION showed that home staging generate a 348% return on investment. However, if you are budget savvy like myself and lots of my clients, you might still be concern about how to get the biggest bang for your buck when staging.
Let me share some money saving tips when preparing a home for sale. Feel free to comment below if there are any tips you can share with me! I love feedback and comments!
1. Get a professional opinion
As the goal of staging is to make your home feel less like the home for you and more like a home for the prospective buyer, most homeowners would benefit from some professional help in the staging process: first to get a sense of what appeals to potential buyers and second to help them detach themselves from the house. Sometimes it is just helpful to have a third person’s honest opinion about the home.
Most professional home stagers offer different types and levels of services, for about $200-300, you can get them to do a walk-through consultation for the home. At the end of this consultation, you will get a room-by-room report with a to-do list. Also with the help your Realtor, you can decide what to do, how much to spend and set your priorities. For some homeowners, this consultation fee, along with some sweat equities are all they need to invest in staging the home.
2. DIY and start ASAP
Like everything in life, time is your most valuable asset. As soon as you start shopping for a new home, plan the sale by hiring the right professionals. To really get ahead, get the home staging consultation done and start tackling the list. The first step is usually to pre-pack and de-clutter. It will take some time so the earlier you start the less stressful the process is for you. If a paint job is recommended and you are confident as a painter, ask the home stager for recommendation of paint colours and start the job right away. Also, most homeowners can fix the following easily: painting and patching holes and cracks on the wall; mowing and weeding the lawn, pruning the shrubs, fix a leaky faucets, switching out unattractive door knobs, and making sure all windows and doors open and close smoothly.
Cleaning is something that most homeowners can do on their own. In addition to the routine cleaning of the bathrooms, kitchens, floors and carpets, pay special attention to tile grout, appliances (inside and outside), closets and cabinets, walls, baseboards, window treatment, crown mouldings, overhead lighting, ceiling fans, ceiling exhaust fans and chandeliers.
Exterior cleaning requires more tools and skills so you might require professional help. Time is your friend when shopping for the best quotes and having flexibility in your schedule will some time give you advantages in negotiating. Most homes require exterior window cleaning and homes with vinyl, cement fiber board or stucco siding may require power-washing.
3. Keep furniture rental costs at a minimum
Furniture rental is expensive. For most condos and homes, furniture rental (excluding the fees for the home stager) can cost $1000 – 3000 plus delivery charges. For budget-savvy homeowners, avoid rentals as much as possible. Since most people planning a move would like to purchase new linens, floor lamps, accessories and furnishings when they move to a new home, I would suggest them to plan these purchases ahead and choose items that can be incorporated in the staging of their “old” home. That way they can get a refreshing new look without having to spend extra for rentals.
Check to see if you already own the following staging must-haves, these items are versatile enough to be incorporate to any designs and it might make sense to purchase them for staging and re-use in the new home. Because these items are so versatile, you might be able to borrow them from your friends and family, and you realtor.
- Glass coffee table: home stagers love clear glass coffee tables. A clear glass coffee table create negative space, reflect light and showcase the beautiful flooring underneath it. It can cost $70- 200 per month plus delivery charges when you rent. Most people have a glass coffee table at home that you might be able to borrow. With $200 you might even be able to buy a decent glass coffee table on sale.
- “Accent” chairs with legs: Most people have a matching sofa and loveseat set in the living room. For a typical home, removing the loveseat from the room will likely make the living looks larger and improve the flow. Very often the loveseat will be replaced by one or two accent chairs with legs to create the illusion of more space without sacrificing the number of seats in the room. Accent chairs can also be used as dining room chairs and for some creative decorators, as night stands for smaller bedrooms. Renting one accent chair may cost $50 to 200 per month plus delivery. If you don’t already own chairs that can serve this purpose, it might make sense to buy and let staging be your excuse to replace the dining chairs or add a new lounging area in your new home. Some staging-savvy realtors might have accent chairs to lend to their seller clients.
- Mirrors: mirrors reflect lights, create the sense of space and (when placed in the right place) draw attention away from unattractive structures. Chances are you might have a few decorative mirrors at home, as long as it's in the right shapes and sizes, most mirrors would work with any styles of homes.
Do you have plans to move? Would you like to receive a free staging consultation along with your free home evaluation? I have learned so much in the home staging program and would like to put my skills to test! Contact me for a free home evaluation as well as staging consultation.