Indianapolis home buyers are becoming increasingly design savvy and are expecting a lot more out of their new homes. A well staged a house can benefit you regardless of what type of real estate market you’re in, and can be the difference between your home selling and your home sitting on the market. According to Stagedhomes.com, 94% of staged homes sell in 29 days or less on average, compared to 145 days for non-staged homes. Here is a list of my staging tips, broken down into the main areas for Indianapolis home owners to follow when preparing to list their homes.
When most people hear the phrase “staging a home”, they immediately think of the home’s interior. Although the interior is extremely important, a home’s exterior can be equally important, if not more in some situations. When home buyers pull up to your home, it’s crucial to make those first impressions count.
- Landscaping – Keeping your lawn neatly mowed and edged will do wonders for your curb appeal, and give the impression of a well maintained home. In addition to the obvious advice, depending on the condition and time of year, be sure to rake leaves, pull weeds out of the flower beds, hedge bushes, and lay down fresh mulch.
- Painting – Painting the exterior may not be necessary, but if your home’s paint is chipped or faded, give it a fresh coat. You can refresh the appearance in no time by touching up the trim around windows and doors, gutters, and shutters. If you do decide to paint the exterior, be sure to keep all painted areas on the same color scheme.
- Pressure Washing – Over the year(s), all sorts of dirt and debris collects on your windows, driveway, roof, and side of your house. Either hire a professional or clean these areas yourself with a pressure washer.
- Windows – Make sure all windows are spotless. Give them a thorough cleaning with vinegar and newspaper. This includes the frames around the windows, as well as the shutters.
- Updating/Replacing – Replacing old door hardware, house numbers, and tarnished light fixtures may require a little work, but it is only a minimal investment relative to the amount of added value it brings. Quickly replacing and updating these features will add instant sparkle to a home, which is a key staging tip when selling it.
- Furnishing the Exterior – Outdoor living space has become more desirable over the recent years. Staging a home can occur not only on the back patio, but on the front porch as well. Add some potted plants, a nice bench, or even a couple chairs to help people see themselves relaxing on the porch.
Living Room & Dining Room
People spend a lot of time in their living room and dining room, especially when they have – or planning for – children. So when home buyers walk through these rooms in your home, they want to envision themselves spending time with their family and entertaining.
- De-Clutter & Personalize – It goes without saying that every room should be cleaned thoroughly. However, when you’re going through and cleaning these rooms, be sure to clear off your mantle and bookcase, pick up your knickknacks, and take down any family pictures or anything religious. The objective is to have the home buyers see themselves living there and that won’t happen if your family pictures are all over the house.
- Painting – A new coat of paint does wonders for a room. Strongly consider a neutral color for your paint – a lighter color will brighten a room and make it feel larger and more inviting. This doesn’t mean that your color scheme has to be boring. You can liven up a neutral color scheme with color accent items, such as pillows and rugs.
- Light Up the Darkness – It’s really amazing what natural light can do for a room, so always keep the blinds up and let in as much natural light as possible. If there’s at least one wall of windows, try hanging a mirror on the opposite wall to reflect natural light. You can also place a pair of skinny, tall lamps on a console table with a mirror hung above to make your room shine.
- Focal Point – The dining room is one of the easier rooms for buyers to envision laying out furnishings, but you still want to capture their attention. Placing a large vase with fresh flowers on the dining table and colorful artwork on the walls will help solve this problem. Also, if you have a fireplace in the living room, making it the focal point of this area will be easy on the buyer’s eyes.
- Furniture Arrangement – If it’s not already, arrange the room in a conversational way. Don’t let the furniture obstruct the flow, so arrange the seating to face the fireplace and let the room breathe. As a rule of thumb, reduce the amount of furniture in a given room by 1/3.
Kitchens are arguably the most important room in the entire home. A lot of it has to do with resale value, so Indianapolis home buyers want to be impressed with this area and see themselves in it. Rest assured, whatever improvements or staging updates you decide to make will go a long way.
- Clean & Clear Countertops – Spend some extra time de-cluttering and removing any unnecessary items off the countertops, sink, and stove. This includes utensils, countertop appliances, cookbooks, etc. It’s a good idea to look over the countertop space multiple times from different views.
- Lighting – Similar to every other room, be sure to turn on the lights and let in as much natural light as possible. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing to have a well lit kitchen, but also to have proper lighting functionality. For example, ambient lighting, pendants hung above an island, and under cabinet lighting.
- Cabinets – Depending on the condition of your cabinets, it may not make sense to get brand new cabinets. Usually, however, you can modernize them just by staining or painting them. This may take a little bit of time, but compared to how much money you’ll save, it’s well worth the effort.
- Hardware – Another way to update your cabinets is to replace/add the knobs and handles. The same thing applies to your faucet, lights, and any other fixtures.
- Organization – You don’t need to buy new cabinets in order to have the appeal of a highly organized kitchen. IKEA and The Container Store both have modern shelving, drawer organizers, and pantry baskets.
Bathrooms and kitchens are well known for being the two areas that carry the most resale value. These are the rooms that home buyers will be very picky about and will use when comparing properties against each other when shopping for a new home. Therefore, it’s imperative to stage and keep your bathrooms clean and simple.
- Open Space – Keep personal items off all counters and cabinets. De-personalizing is key to staging properly. You want the home buyers to focus on the features of the bathroom, not the type of shaving cream you use. Freeing up counter space will open up a bathroom.
- Décor – Just because you removed all your personal belongings, doesn’t mean your bathroom can’t have anything in it. In fact, certain décor can make a bathroom really stand out. For example, depending on your space, you can add wall hangings, an organized basket with magazines, white shower rod, and/or flower arrangement.
- Color Coordinate – You don’t want the items in your bathroom to match too much. However, you can color coordinate plush towels on a towel rack and match them with a rug, flower arrangement, etc.
- Fixtures – Depending on the condition and how outdated your bathroom fixtures are, you can replace them with sleek new modern fixtures without breaking the bank. Although this is common sense, it’s important to note that buyers want current and trendy styles, not old and outdated fixtures.
- Hardware – Stay away from gold and brass! Brushed or shiny silver knobs and towel racks are in!
When staging your bedrooms, the words you want to keep in mind are: spacious, comfortable, and neutral. Keep these words in mind and you’ll be in good shape.
- De-Personalize – De-personalizing the master bedroom is key when trying to sell an Indianapolis home. Pack away all religious items, family/personal pictures, and anything else that is going to prevent the home buyers from seeing themselves in the house.
- Bare Essentials – You can make the bedroom look larger by reducing the amount of furniture. All you need (for staging) is a bed, a dresser, and maybe a few nightstands. Anything more than that will take up too much floor space.
- Closet Space – Make your closets appear more spacious by emptying them of 80% of the clothing items. You’re going to have to pack when you sell the house anyway, so get a jump start on it during the staging process.
- Neutral Color – Your bedroom should be tranquil, not vibrant. Use soft, neutral colors such as the earth-tone family for all your bedroom design elements. This will appeal to most home buyers.
- Bedding – It should go without saying that you should make the beds every day. More importantly, if your comforter and sheets are too plain or loud, you may want to invest in different bedding and pillows. This will improve the bedroom design while the home is on the housing market.