Home Staging boot camp - 5 cheap ways to stage your home for success
We specialize in helping our clients sell their homes for the best possible price and to do so in the shortest period of time. With this in mind, we wanted to share with you 5 quick and inexpensive ways for you stage your home for sale to get the greatest return on your investment. We call this our Personal Property Managers home staging boot camp.
This is part of our best in class continuing series of helpful articles from Joe Santoro and Nick Santoro of Personal Property Managers to assist you in home downsizing, content liquidation, home staging and full service discount real estate services. Personal Property Managers services clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
If you’re selling your house, it has to look its best so buyers can see its potential and imagine themselves living there. That’s what home-staging is all about. It’s about first impressions, which are lasting. It’s about separating yourself and your home from others on the market, so look, feel, style, organization, cleanliness and decluttering is super important.
A professional home-stager will cost between $50 and $150 per hour, say Nick Santoro.
The good news is that you can get it done for a lot less money. You can do it yourself for the most part and you can have fun doing it. Joe Santoro, co-founder of Personal Property Managers shares his expert tips for staging your home at almost no cost.
1. Remove your personal items
Packing away your personal stuff, such as pictures, sports memorabilia, even religious items, is one of the easiest, cheapest things you can do to stage your house.
“The reason you want to depersonalize your home is because you want buyers to view it as their potential home,” Santoro says.
Prospective buyers may have a hard time envisioning themselves in the house if they’re surrounded by photos of your family. They want to envision their family in your home; not yours.
“Pictures are extremely distracting,” says Nick Santoro, who also recommends removing religious items from view.
Besides attracting a buyer, “you want the buyer’s agent to enjoy showing the home,” Nick says, because even if a particular buyer isn’t interested, the agent might represent someone who would be a good match.
The cost: $2 to $3 for a roll of packing tape. You can pick up free boxes at stores in your neighborhood or go to a big box store and pick up boxes for under $2.00
Decluttering is another simple way to get buyers to focus on the bones of the house. “After years of living in the same home, clutter collects in such a way that may not be evident to the homeowner. However, it does affect the way buyers see the home, even if you do not realize it,” Joe says.
We recommend clearing off kitchen and bathroom countertops. Remove everything you can to give an impression of large space and cleanliness.
If you have kids, get rid of the toys all around the house. For all you know, the buyers could be empty-nesters.
If you cannot remove unwanted items or just want to hold on to what you have, we suggest packing that stuff in boxes and neatly stacking them in a corner of the garage. Anything extra should go in a small storage unit. Even better, ask a friend or relative to stash your items at no charge.
The cost: The price of a storage unit varies (around $75 a month for a 5-by-5-foot unit). You can get back some of that money as a refund on your taxes for any of the decluttered items you donate to charity.
3. Rearrange rooms and give them purpose
Rearrange the rooms in your home and make sure each room has a distinct purpose. You may also want to take a look at builder spec home in your area to get a feel for the look, theme and style of today’s furnished homes.
Builders are experts on preparing their product for prospective buyers.
If your home has been painted recently, you’re ahead of the game. If not, take a paintbrush to the rooms that need it most. Sellers who paint the interior of their home will see a large return on the investment. There is no substitution for a clean, well-organized and freshly painted home.
The cost: Anywhere from $16 to $50 per gallon for paint, plus an additional $10 to $50 for other painting supplies (primer, brushes, drop cloths, etc.).
4. Clean and deodorize
No one wants to visit a dirty house, especially prospective buyers. So make sure your house is squeaky clean.
'When buyers see an unkempt home or smell something when they first walk in, they become turned off immediately,” Nick says. “They can rarely see past it to look at all of the great features in the home.”
For a fist time, long time heavy cleaning job, we suggest having the house professionally cleaned so that everything is spotless: windows, sliding glass door tracks, garage, basement, ceiling fans, etc.
If you have having an open house, we also recommend baking cookies in the oven, bringing cinnamon sticks to a slow boil in a pot of water or using air freshener before each showing. Above all, please remember to remove any pet litter boxes or food bowls. Not everyone is a pet lover.
The cost: Varies by the location and size of the home, but expect to spend at least $100-$250 to clean a four-bedroom, 2,500-square-foot home.
5. Enhance curb appeal
Don’t overlook the home’s exterior when you’re selling.
“Curb appeal is just as important as cleaning the inside of
the home,” Nick says. “It’s the buyer’s first
impression of your home.” Mow the lawn, make sure the sidewalk
and driveway are free of clutter and debris, and make sure the house
number is easy to see. You may need to pressure-clean your driveway
Another valuable low-cost solution? Mulch. “It makes everything look trim and neat,” Joe says.
Please remember that first impressions are lasting impressions. Joe Santoro, shared that on a number of occasions, when taking clients to look at home, he has had clients pull up to a house and just refuse to get out of the car because the home was not well kept from the outside. He has experienced a similar negative reaction when buyers entered the house and it appeared to be too cluttered giving it a much smaller impression. This turns off buyers and they simply walk away. Simple things like this make all the difference in the world.
The cost: Mulch costs about $3 per bag. You may be able to rent a pressure washer at Home Depot or your local hardware store for $35 per day or more. It will cost you a lot more than that to buy one. Hiring a professional to pressure-clean a 2,500-square-foot-house may set you back about $300.
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For more information on real estate or home downsizing please contact Nick Santoro or Joe Santoro of Personal Property Managers at 215-485-9272 or 908-368-1909. Personal Property Managers specializes in helping home owners transition from their home of many years into a new community. Personal Property Managers services Pennsylvania and New Jersey and offers downsizing services, estate sales services, home staging, discount full service real estate services via its association with EveryHome Realty. Learn more about Personal Property Managers from our recent News Stories.