5 No-Cost Home Staging Tips

By Lori Livers

Staging a home for sale is simply preparing a house to be sold. There are many different aspects to staging, but there is a simple foundation to all of it.

Hiring a professional stager is worth the investment because they address all aspects of staging. But what if you have no staging budget?

There are several steps you can take to stage your home for sale — and many of them don’t cost a dime. Here are five free things you can do to prepare your home to sell.

Clean, clean, clean

Sparkling counters and appliances go a long way in home for sale.

Sparkling counters and appliances go a long way in a home for sale. Source: Fraley and Company

The number one thing people think about while in a home is whether or not they believe it is clean. A home that is absolutely pristine presents as well cared for.

Clean all windows inside and out. Dust all door frames, light fixtures, ceiling fans and blinds. Don’t leave a single spot in your home untouched. Potential buyers look everywhere, so make sure the entire home is clean.

Depersonalize the house

Just furnish the room with the absolute minimum items. Source: Zillow Digs.

Just furnish the room with the absolute minimum items. Source: Zillow Digs

Pack up almost all personal photos and family keepsakes. If you have a great photo of your family enjoying a camping trip or other family activity, you can leave it out on display if your home is being marketed to families. This one family photo plants a seed of happiness in a buyer’s mind, making them think how happy their own family could be living in the home.

All other photos, portraits and keepsakes must be packed away out of view — and ideally, stored outside the home. In general, family photos and keepsakes draw a buyer’s attention to your family and keep them from seeing your home as their potential home.

You’re not selling the family, you’re selling the house — so always let that be the center of attention.

Pack — and pack some more

You could probably live comfortably for a short time with about half the things you own, especially if you have lived in your home for more than a few years. We all tend to collect things. Whether we use them or not doesn’t matter, but what does matter is showcasing the space your home has to offer potential buyers. You cannot showcase rooms that are full of stuff — especially too much furniture.

Pack up as much as you can live without, then store it offsite if possible. Store packed boxes and extra furniture neatly away from living spaces no matter what. If you have to store items in the garage, make certain you leave enough room for a car.

Manicure outdoor spaces

Even if the yard is simple, cut grass and clean pathways make an impact. Source: Zillow Digs.

Even if the yard is simple, cut grass and clean pathways make an impact. Source: Zillow Digs

Outdoor living is now a part of everyday life for most of us. Potential buyers will absolutely consider the outdoor spaces as critically as they do indoor spaces. If you don’t have the budget to freshen the landscape with flowers and decorative items, you can still make sure the yard is perfectly manicured.

Keep your yard watered, and cut grass to approximately 3 inches high. Any shorter takes away from the fresh green look, and any longer starts to look unkempt.

Foliage should be very neat and properly shaped to match your neighborhood. Trim the trees so that a 6-foot-tall person can easily pass under them. This makes the trees appear taller, and gives the yard a clean, tidy look.

Power wash the sidewalk, patio, deck, driveway and fence. You will be amazed what a difference this will make in the look of your home.

Lighten up

Turn on the lights and open the shades. Source: Zillow Digs.

Turn on the lights and open the shades. Source: Zillow Digs

When showing or photographing your home for potential buyers, open every blind and curtain in your home, and turn on every light. Even the lights over the stove and inside the oven should be on. (Remember, the appliances are pristine — they need to be shown off!)

Buyers are looking for “light and bright,” not “dark and dreary,” so give them light. Help them see how clean and well cared for your home is. Don’t be afraid to move a lamp to brighten up a space if you need to. Let there be light — and lots and lots of it.

It can be a lot of work getting your house ready to sell. Even with no staging budget, you can still take the time to make a few changes that will have a profound impact on your home sale.

Get budget decor ideas on Zillow Digs.

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Lori Livers is a Certified Professional Home Stager in the Houston, TX area specializing in staging both occupied and vacant homes for sale.  Lori understands staging a home is not about decorating, but about focusing a potential buyer’s attention to the most positive aspects of a house so that buyers want to make the staged house their home. Lori regularly offers staging advice and tips on her website.  Connect with her via Facebook or at her website.

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