Home Staging on a Shoestring

Home Staging on a Shoestring

Picture this. You sit down with your realtor to discuss buying a home. He or she asks you what your ideal home looks like. Images of beautiful facades, lush lawns, high quality appliances, clean lines, and many other dream-home features flash through your mind. You answer, “I need 3 bedrooms for my personal use, at least 2 bathrooms, the home should be clean, and if possible, I would like a mortgage helper.” Realtor says, “Yes we can find you something like that.”

So, you go out on a tour and see a few homes. The first one was a bungalow, built in the 1960s and it had 3 small bedrooms 1 full bath and a half bath upstairs. There is also a 1-bedroom rental suite, shared laundry area and some extra space for storage in the basement. The home was fully staged in a mid-century modern style and many of the original features of the home were kept. You like the home a lot but know that you will be paying extra for the presentation.

The second one is a 3 level home in mostly original condition save for an addition to the attic. It had 2 bedrooms on the main level, a bedroom upstairs, 2 full bathrooms and 2 bedroom in the basement with no kitchen. A suite can be easily added. It was evident that the home was well taken care of. This one has a lot of potential you think to yourself. With a little bit of work, the shine can be restored.

The last home is a 4-bedroom split level home with a 1-bedroom suite that is already rented to a good tenant. You are getting excited to see this home but become horrified upon pulling up to the driveway and seeing the sight of a possible haunted house. The grass is overgrown, and the old white picket fence is falling apart. You step inside and wonder, “How can anyone possibly live in this place?” Having seen thousands of properties in my selling career, I can tell you that some of these people not only live in these homes, but they sometimes try to sell them in their current conditions too! Piles of dishes in the sink, boxes full of unsorted paper, pizza boxes, kitty litter; you name it and you can bet someone out there thinks it is acceptable home décor (Ladies, I didn’t mean to describe your home after leaving your husband home alone for the weekend).

I think it’s safe to say that, if you are looking for a clean, move in ready home, you are probably not picking that last one. But it didn’t have to be this way. Now, I must confess that I am no expert on interior design, but I do watch a lot of HGTV and I am an expert on selling homes. I know that if you are planning to sell your home, your goal is to sell the home to someone who will pay you a little extra for your presentation. That person will consider the floorplan, the location, the finishes, and the overall feel of the home. Since we cannot change the location, and it is most likely too costly to change the floorplan or the finishes, let’s talk about what we can do to affect the feel of your home for sale without breaking the bank. The most cost-effective way to drum up interest for a prospective buyer is staging. Follow these 3 simple steps to stage your home like a pro!

          Living Room (Before)                                        Living Room (After)


No staging project can ever start without first removing everything you do not need. That microwave on the kitchen counter might be ideal for you when you are living in the home, but it also shows the potential buyers that there really isn’t that much counter space once you fill it with your essential kitchen ware. Extra furniture should be put away, donated, or tossed to the curb. Your goal is to show off how spacious your home is and not how much stuff you can pack into it! The more you pack away during this initial step, the less you will have to pack when there is a deadline to get moved out of the home before the completion date.

If this step is done correctly, you should momentarily feel like you don’t actually need to move, before you snap back to reality and remember that half of your possessions are on the front steps.

                    Kitchen (Before)                                              Kitchen (After)


Before you read further, you must be clear with yourself about your objective with this staging project. Your goal is to create an aura in your home that feels comfortable to a prospective buyer so that they will want to buy it from you. Basically, you are trying to sell your property to someone else.

In order for someone to want to buy your home, they first must be able to imagine living in it and you can help them with this by removing all personal items that only fit your tastes. We are talking about family photos, framed certificates, awards, religious and cultural artifacts, and any sentimental items that are not likely to be featured in the latest home staging magazines.

                       Bedroom (Before)                                Bedroom (After)

Add color!

After de-cluttering and de-personalizing your living quarters, take a step back and see how much space there is! Amazing right? It may look kind of dull but this is where the fun begins! You are now free to use your creative senses to paint the picture of how this home can feel like to live in for the next family. Simply adding some colors in just the right places will give life to the home to create the positive emotions to those buyers walking through the door and provide just the right amount of imagination to promote the desire to make this their home. A few examples of décor items that can use some colors are:

  • Cushions
  • Throws
  • Plants
  • Towels
  • Bedding
  • Wall Décor

All of which can either be found in some of those boxes we asked you to put away or at any sale rack at your local thrift shops and department stores.

                        Bathroom (Before)                              Bathroom (After)

It may seem like a daunting task to transform a space that is comfortable for you as your home for a long time but it is a necessary step in a successful sale and may possibly be the most underrated part of the process. If you need further consultation, get in touch with us and we will do our best to guide you in the right direction!

A journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step


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