It’s home selling and buying season!
Are you looking to move this summer? If so, I’ll be cheering you on from the sidelines. I sold two homes last year so I I don’t have anything left to sell. (Right now, I’m looking to buy again!) Today, I’d love to share my top 10 cheap or free home staging tips to sell a home FAST.
Our first home sold in a day and the second home, our fixer upper, sold in less than a week (over the Thanksgiving holiday).
We worked with a realtor for both sales, but a realtor can only sell what you give them. If you want to sell your home for a good price, you need to do as much as possible to get your home in tip-top shape.
I can’t promise that these staging tips will sell your home in a day, but these tips were my favorite tricks that did not break the bank.
Cheap Or Free Home Staging Tips
1.Pack it like you’re moving. (Because you ARE.)
If you’re serious about selling, you need to make a serious dent in the packing BEFORE you put your house on the market. With two small kids, we packed up half of house, including most toys, out-of-season clothes and all knick-knacks. Do you think my closet normally looks like this? (Hint: The answer is NO.)
And do you really think my daughter’s room looks like this?! No WAY.
Potential buyers understand that people still live in a home, but clearing the clutter makes a huge difference. Rooms and closets will appear bigger. This technique also gives potential buyers the space to picture their stuff in their future home.
A quick and cheap solution is to buy large boxes or Tupperware bins to store along the garage wall. If you have WAY too many things, a storage unit is also an option.
Oh! Oh! One other benefit to packing up before you sell is that you have less to clean. (You’ll thank me when you get a call for a showing. You’re welcome.)
2. Clear off the counter tops…mostly.
Clean and clear counter tops make a kitchen look bigger. But it’s still important to keep a few items out to create a lifestyle that a buyer is looking for. Here are the items I chose to keep on display and the thoughts and feelings that I wanted to stir up in potential buyers.
- Fresh Fruit – “You’ll eat healthy in this house!”
- Kitchen Aid Mixer – “You’ll cook fancy food in this house!”
- Coffee maker – “This house has caffeine!”
It’s all about creating a life that potential buyers want to be living. Go around and ask yourself what your displayed items tell a future homeowner.
3. Brighten the home by leaving lights ON in the main rooms before a showing or open house.
People will make decisions about your house based on how they feel when they walk through the door. Don’t give potential buyers the opportunity to even think “this house is dark” or “I wish it was brighter in here.”
The second house that we sold did not have high ceilings, skylights or amazing natural light. However, we did have bright LED can lights and other lights placed purposefully around the home (see picture above). Instead of letting a buyer fumble with light switches while they focus on the lack of natural light, we just left the lights on. Problem solved.
4. Invest in linen scented plug-ins.
Every home has a smell. Some homes smell like pets. Other homes smell like Great-Grandma Marty’s Marinara sauce, while some homes smell like drywall from the 70’s. You never know what scent is going to rub a home buyer the right or wrong way. To be safe, invest in glade plug-ins for all the major living areas of the house. The smell I used for both sales was “linen” and we received nothing, but compliments from potential buyers and agents. It made the house smell clean and fresh and new.
5. Cover family pictures with stock photos.
I read somewhere that it’s a good idea to take down family pictures hung around the house. First, for safety reasons, now the stranger in your house (or strangers if you do an open house!) know way more than you want about all your kids, their schools, etc. Second, it reminds potential buyers that they will be living in your home. Instead of removing the pictures, I dropped stock images in the frames! You can use pictures from old magazines or you can download and print images from free stock photo sites like pixabay.
6. Use cheap or free items (things you already own!) to show buyers how to use your home.
There are dozens of small touches that you can do around your home to tell buyers how to use the space. I channeled my inner hotelier and placed fluffy beach towels by the pool and fresh bars of soap in the bathroom shower. We also bought a new beach umbrella in vibrant colors to showcase our in-pool table. The buyer loved the umbrella so much that he wrote it into the sales contract! A $14.99 Walmart umbrella may have secured our home sale. 🙂
It may seem like overkill, but the little touches make the house feel like a home that someone would want to live in.
7. Hide everything that reminds a homeowner that they will still have to do chores in their new house.
Throw the dirty laundry basket in your car. Load all plates into the dishwasher. Empty all of your trash cans. Hide any evidence that the potential buyer will still have to do work in their new house. Of course, the housework will not stop once they move in. (It never ends!) I know that, you know that and yes, the potential buyer knows that. But don’t ruin the dream of a clean, new home with a hamper of dirty gym shorts that smell like a middle school field day!
8. Buy fresh flowers for your dining room table.
Fresh flowers on a dining room table add a high-end feel for less than five bucks. Aldi sells very nice mixed flower bouquets for $3.99. That’s what I used.
9. Use dollar potted plants to add a pop of fresh color in neutral spaces.
I may have gone crazy when I saw Walmart had small, colorful potted plants for a dollar. I paired the flowers with equally cheap pots and placed them throughout the house for a fresh, natural pop of color.
10. Buy new WHITE bath mats and hand towels for your bathroom.
See the hand towels above? You can buy those at the dollar store or a multi-pack for CHEAP at Walmart. My best advice is to not let anyone in our house actually use the white accessories until your house it sold. Pull out the towels and bath mats for showings…and then stick them back in the closet when your family returns home. This will keep the bathroom fresh and clean and you won’t be running bleach loads in the washer all day long.
Staging a home to sell does not have to be expensive. In fact, I want to challenge you to stage your home today using the items you already own! Do you have any other great cheap or free home staging tips?