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Thousands of homes are sold each year in the US. According to a calculated estimation by the United States Census Bureau, Americans are quite a transient population as an average person in the US moves 11.7 times in their lifetime. People sell their homes for all sorts of reasons. Increased family size, changes in needs, changes in the neighborhood, and job-related relocations are all common rationales for moving.

Financial issues, of course, are another common motivation for people to sell their homes. Recently, many are selling their properties due to COVID-induced financial necessities and because of steep job losses and precipitous economic recession, the inventory is expected to grow as people fail to stop foreclosure past the moratorium expiration date.

Regardless of the reasons, selling a home is a significant financial transaction that requires forethought. Like in any other sales activity, you need to use the techniques and tools you have available at your disposal to positively impact the value of what you are trying to sell. In the real estate industry, one such technique is called home staging.

What is Home Staging?

Home staging is a process through which you increase the perceived value of your home by creating a better experience for potential buyers. This is done by highlighting the best aspects of the house and minimizing its flaws to make a strong first impression during showings and help the potential buyers better visualize it as their future home. Depending on the conditions of your property, you can hire home staging professionals or take the matter into your own hands using what you already have. Whichever route you take, consider it as an investment.

According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, 47 percent of buyers’ agents stated that home staging had an effect on most buyers’ view of the home and 23 percent of sellers’ agents reported that home staging increases the home’s value by 1 to 5 percent. Staging a home also reduces its time on the market as the improved appeal makes it sell faster.

The art of home staging lies in maximizing the appeal of the house for the minimum investment necessary. It doesn’t need to be expensive. You can still enjoy the benefits by making improvements that fall well within your budget range and capabilities. It may take some time and effort, but improving your home’s marketability always pays off.

Declutter and De-personalize

When staging your home, always think about the prospective buyer and look through their perspective. Storage is almost a universal concern and everyone is looking for a house as spacious as their budget can buy. So, you need to strip the house to the basics and pack away and out of sight (preferably out of the house) anything you don’t use regularly. Aside from freeing up space, decluttering also removes any source of distraction and helps with maintaining the buyer’s focus on the house features and architectural details.

In addition, try to remove any trace of personal belongings and items like family pictures, mementos, trophies, or anything that is deeply associated with you. You don’t want the house viewers to feel like they have invaded your privacy because it usually makes them uncomfortable and makes them want to leave as soon as possible. Conversely, buyers linger in de-personalized and decluttered houses, look around and imagine themselves living there and notice things you want them to notice.

Clean and Repair to the Maximum

Within 30 seconds or so of entering your house, clients make up their minds about whether or not they are willing to pull out their checkbook. Most people want to buy a NEW house meaning that they don’t want to deal with repairs of any sort. If your house is old and years of residence has taken its toll, at least fix up the fundamentals like the painting, cracked floorboards, damaged drywalls, leakages, and so on.

If your house is in a good condition, a new coat of paint is still recommended as nothing else makes a house feel as fresh. Try to clean every nook and cranny of the house. Clean every surface from baseboards to cabinets and counters. When preparing the house for professional photography used in listings, every stain, nick, or imperfection gets amplified. You basically want to present your house as spotless and new-looking as possible.

Make Your Home as Bright and Current as Possible

A bright home is an inviting home. Brighten up all of the rooms and let the natural light shine through by opening up all the blinds and turning on all the lights during showings to make your home feel much bigger. If you haven’t already, clean the windows to let the light shine through as much as possible. You also need to make adjustments to make your house look updated and current.

Not everyone wants to buy a new house that looks a couple of decades old. Small touches like adding linens such as towels, throw pillows, and curtains, or some modern accessories and fresh plants make your house look newer. If you can afford to spend a little more, replacing faucets in the baths and kitchen, replacing the counters, and upgrading the light fixtures and chandeliers significantly impact the marketability of your house.

Lastly, a very good piece of advice would be to keep your expenditures in the staging process minimal. Don’t go overboard with upgrades as aesthetics are subjective and you want your house to appeal to the widest range of potential buyers. Thus, keeping taking the minimalistic approach is often more affordable, less time-consuming, and simpler to implement.