The ultimate guide to staging your house for sale

The ultimate guide to staging your house for sale

July 10, 2024 | by DiJones

There is no doubt that selling a house is exciting, but it’s also nerve-wracking. With an ever-expanding to-do list, you need to handle the paperwork, liaise with real estate experts, and, above all, you actually need to convince someone to buy the property.

Thankfully, attracting buyers isn’t out of your hands. Staging your home will help you get your property sold faster.

Home staging is a way of making your home look as attractive as possible to prospective buyers. It tells anyone who views your property, “See, this is how awesome your new home will look when you buy it’. You should totally buy it, by the way”.

Staging your home might sound daunting. But it’s actually pretty simple. We should know. We’ve helped our clients get on and off the market for the last 32 years. And one thing we’ve learned? Staging doesn’t need to be one big headache.

Follow these steps. Run through our top tips. Plan carefully. Do all of that? You’ll get your home sold faster and for more money. Let’s dive in.

What does ‘staging a house’ even mean?

Staging your house means styling and decorating your property to give the right first impression when people view your home.

Home staging is about no one but the buyer. Namely, it is about making sure the buyer can envision themselves living comfortably in your property. As such, the goal is to make the home look flattering and functional—even better than it appeared in the photos.

This isn’t just about fluffing the cushions. It involves completely restyling your home. The end goal is that it appeals to the largest number of buyers, which will hopefully get your home off the market faster.

We’ll look at the benefits of home styling soon. But for now let’s look at why you should stage your property in the first place.

Related: Understanding the distinction between property appraisals and property valuations in NSW

How does staging a house help me sell my property?

How long your property is on the market will impact your home’s value. The value decreases the longer your home takes to sell. This costs you time and money.

Staging and styling your home helps your buyer get a feel for your property. It shows them:

How beautiful their new home will look.

The property offers a comfortable space for living.

That they can move into the property now. Not later after more work is done.

Your buyer isn’t looking for a mere property. They are looking for a home that they feel emotionally attached to. They want to be invested. Property staging creates that connection. It makes it more likely a buyer will look at your property and say, ‘this is the one. Where can we sign?’.

This isn’t just theory crafting. 81% of buyers’ agents said staging actually makes it easier for a buyer to visualise your property as their new home.

Staging isn’t just for show. It makes it more likely you’ll sell the home quicker. Plus, it makes it more likely that buyers will pay a higher selling price to make sure they get the home for themselves.

Doesn’t staging a home cost lots of money?

This is a valid concern we see on the regular. The time and cost to stage a home or investment property actively puts a lot of homeowners off. But think of it this way.

Spending the cash now to stage your home is always cheaper than losing money to a depreciating market value. You’ll sell your property faster. You’ll also often sell it for more money than you initially anticipated—mainly because you’re helping the buyer form a connection with the property.

So it’s worth it even if the home staging cost will set you back in the short run. It’s an investment. And a potentially lucrative one at that.

Doing it yourself vs. hiring a professional

The age-old question. Should you hire property stylists? Or should you roll up your sleeves and do it yourself?

Our advice in most cases is to hire a professional home staging company—at the very least for the crucial parts like styling and decor.

A design team will take the pressure off you and can style your home without the personal attachment you possess. They have experience know what works within a space, and can implement ideas you perhaps hadn’t considered.

And the benefits are no secret. Staging a property will help your home sell faster. It’ll also potentially net you more money. It’s worth getting it right.

Still, we’re not here to tell you that you can’t stage your home yourself. If you have a keen eye for design and know what buyers are looking for, you can absolutely go it alone. Follow the guide below for help doing just that.

Staging your home step-by-step

Six steps to staging—that’s the number we landed on. Along the way we’ll also give plenty of extra home staging tips to help you out.

Declutter and depersonalise.

Decluttering your house is easy. And it is a proven way to make your home look more appealing.

Store away any memorabilia or personal items. Family photos. Books. Board games. Nick-nacks. Novelty fridge magnets from your holiday in Europe. Put it all away temporarily.

This makes your home feel more spacious. It is also a process known as depersonalisation. You want your buyers to imagine themselves living in your home. You don’t want them to feel like they’re walking into someone else’s.

Depersonalising your space will help your buyer form that all-important emotional connection, which will make them more inclined to buy the property.

Deep clean and refresh

Once you’ve decluttered and depersonalised, you now have the perfect opportunity to deep clean. Clean your property from top to bottom—floor to ceiling. Make everything look like new.

We even recommend cleaning the parts of your home you think no one will ever see. Trust us, you never know when a keen-eyed buyer will spot something you thought was out of sight.

Part of this process is also making your space feel ‘fresh’. That seems like a pretty loose goal. But a good place to start is by eliminating odours. Put fresh linens on the beds. You can also add some additional potted plants and space them out throughout the property.

An air freshener can help your home smell great, but it might be overpowering for some buyers and can be difficult for people with asthma. We recommend going for natural smells from candles and flowers instead.

Arrange furniture for flow and functionality

Furniture is a balancing act. Make sure there’s enough so that the house feels comforting, not cold. But don’t let style get in the way of function. Each room needs to flow well and feel easy to move around. If there is too much furniture, you risk making the home look smaller.

This also makes it harder for the buyer to envision themselves living in the property because they can’t picture how they’d style the space themselves. Leave enough room for interpretation.

Bonus Tip: Make each room feel like it has a single purpose. We’re all used to creating spaces that are multifunctional for our busy lives, especially if we don’t live in a larger home. But having a desk in the kitchen and your home gym setup in the bedroom won’t send the right message to your buyers.

Enhance with décor

Decor is a difficult balance when staging a home. On one hand, you want to make the home look inviting. On the other, leaning too heavily into a theme or colour palette can be divisive.

We recommend opting for neutral colours like whites, creams, greys, beiges and taupes. A pop of colour is never a bad idea. But limit it to artwork, accent pillows or even plants. Remember. You’re trying to cast a wide net and appeal to as many buyers as possible, so it’s a good idea to play things safe.

If you have a target market in mind, you can adapt the interior decoration to them. Young professionals often like a minimalist, industrial vibe. Families regularly prefer more homely Scandi aesthetics.

Bonus Tip: You can be inspired by the season here, too. If it’s summer, go for light, outdoorsy themes. Staging a home in the winter? Try something cosy.

Decorating is where an expert can really shine. A professional can view your property and hire the right decor to bring everything together. If there’s one step its worth working with the best, it’s this one.

Leverage lighting

Lighting is an often underutilised aspect of staging a home. But it’s essential. It makes rooms look bigger. It also makes your property look more welcoming.

The best part about great lighting is that it’s so easy—no money required to get started there. Make sure every curtain is open when you’re hosting viewings. Turn all the lights on including any in closets and utility rooms.

And lastly—our little secret. Mirrors are a godsend because they reflect light brilliantly and diffuse into every dark corner that your window can’t reach. They also make your space look bigger. Don’t have many mirrors? Invest in a few cheap ones, it’ll make all the difference.

Don’t forget the exterior

Dozens of homeowners get invested in staging the interiors of their homes. Many totally forget about the importance of the outside in the process.

Remember. When a potential buyer drives up to your home they see the exterior before they walk through the door. Curb appeal is everything.

If you have a front garden, make sure it’s trimmed and arranged. Do you have a fence? A lick of paint will do wonders. Make sure the path is clear of debris. Add some flowers to the entranceway. Make it look beautiful and your buyer will be eager before they even set foot in your property.

Essential Staging Tips on a Budget

All of the advice above is excellent. But what if you don’t have the funds to fork out for expensive decor furniture and fresh coats of paint?

Luckily, you don’t have to spend your savings on fancy styling. Here are a few ways to stage on a budget.

Focus on curb appeal. Buyers get a feel for your property the moment they set eyes on it. Make that first impression count by prioritising your outdoor area as well as your entranceway. The better that first impression is, the more likely they’ll be to overlook drawbacks when viewing the home—they’ve already made the decision to buy in their head.

Repurpose existing furniture. Staging a home doesn’t have to mean new everything. Repurposing what you have can work just fine and it won’t cost you a fortune. Try adding new cases to pillows or reupholstering chairs. And when in doubt, a fresh coat of paint can do wonders.

Shop smart for decor. Charity stores. Bargain bins. Second hand-shops. Not every piece of furniture needs to be bought new. You’ll be surprised how much character you can inject into your rooms with affordable decor. You just need to be willing to hunt around a bit for a good deal.

Let there be light(ing). We mentioned this earlier. But great lighting is totally free. Open curtains. Leave the windows open. Add table lamps where there isn’t enough natural lighting. And don’t forget about using mirrors to make the space look bigger and more airy.

The bottom line

Staging or styling your home doesn’t have to cause headaches. Declutter. Depersonalise. Do a deep clean. Arrange furniture smartly. Enhance with decor. Keep the buyer in mind, and don’t forget natural lighting. These are essential practices for all home stagers.

It sounds like a lot of work. But house staging is a manageable and even enjoyable process when you break it down into chunks. And when you get it right? You can sell your home faster. You can also increase the final sale price. Win-win.

How DiJones can help

We’ve helped hundreds of Australian home sellers get on and off the property market over the last few decades. With our knowledge of property styling and property management, you'll be on your way to a sale in no time. Check out our buying and selling guides that offer helpful information and guidance for selling real estate, assisting you throughout the selling process.

Looking to request an appraisal or need further help? Connect with us today! Our expert team is always on hand to provide support.

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