How to Stage Your Home on a Budget

Selling your home for the best possible profit involves more than listing it for sale and posting a couple of pictures on social media. You have to show off your home in a way that appeals to prospective buyers who are willing to give you the best price for it. Staging your home can help you to do that.

The good news is that you don’t have to hire a professional stager — or rent staging furniture — to prepare your home for sale. Staging a home doesn’t have to break the bank and can be done by following a budget.

Strategically using pieces you already have in your home and a little bargain-hunting, you can effectively stage your home and move it from “for sale” to “sold.” Read on for ways to stage your home on a budget.

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Declutter and Organize

One of the first and most important steps to selling your home is decluttering and organizing your belongings. We all develop clutter over time while living somewhere. Removing it will draw attention to your home’s best features — such as crown molding or a wood-burning fireplace — instead of the books or knick-knacks you might have displayed on them.

The best part about decluttering and organizing: You can do it for free! As a bonus, if you’re in a hurry, removing or packing some items now will save you time and energy later once you sell your house.

Start by sorting items into three piles: keep, sell, and donate or toss. Get moving boxes and pack up the items you want to keep in storage. Take items for donation to a drop-off facility or arrange to have a local charity pick them up.

Hold a garage sale or list items for sale on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or other community-based sales platforms. You can even use the income earned from these sales to make minor repairs to your home.

Be Impersonal

We personalize our homes over time by displaying pictures of our friends and family or decorating with items that honor our interests and beliefs. By depersonalizing a space, you help prospective buyers better imagine themselves making the house their own.

In addition to removing photos of your loved ones, consider removing trophies, stuffed animals, club banners, and other hobby items. The more flat surfaces you leave bare, the more welcoming your home will look to its future owner.

Do a Deep Clean

Make your house shine to buyers — literally! — with a deep cleaning. Even the tidiest people have parts of our home that we don’t get to as often. Now is the time to do it.

Target your floors (such as carpet stains and dusty floorboards), wipe down molding, clear out light fixtures, and polish hardware (such as the handles on doors and cupboards).

Don’t forget to turn your attention outside. Trim back any overgrown bushes or trees, and weed your flower beds. While you have your house on the market, keep the lawn trimmed and walkways clear of debris, such as dirt or snow.

Add Some Neutral Color

Giving your walls a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective things you can do.

Start by painting the most distracting walls, such as ones with sustained, noticeable wear and tear over the years. And you may love the bright orange accent wall in your living room, but it may not appeal to most buyers. Instead, paint it a neutral color, such as off-white, gray, or beige.

While you’re painting, consider giving your front door a quick facelift. The front door is the first part of your house buyers will see up close when they come for a tour. Like the walls, go with a neutral color such as white or black.

A local real estate agent can offer tips on colors that will appeal to buyers in your area. Working with a top-rated local agent from a major brand doesn’t have to break the bank.

Know Your Nose

While staging a home often focuses most on what buyers can see, don’t discount the other senses. Particularly, pay attention to your home’s smell.

Over time, homes can develop a scent, particularly if you have pets or if you live in an area with frequent rainfall. We also tend to get used to the way a place smells over time and stop noticing odors.

To be safe, give your home a clean and clear scent by using diffusers or plug-in air fresheners. Opt for neutral, lighter scents, such as fresh linen. Strong fragrances, such as coffee or florals, may irritate some buyers during their tour.

Be sure to take care of any underlying issues that may be affecting your home’s smell, such as water leaks. Save yourself the time and trouble later by fixing them now. Remember that you can write off home repairs and find financing options that won’t break the bank.

Shop Your Home’s Floor Room

After decluttering, depersonalizing, and deep-cleaning your home, you might realize it needs a few pieces of furniture or decorations to stage it. Before spending money on rentals, take a close look at what you already have in your home and storage. There’s a good chance you already have exactly what you need.

Select furniture that best highlights your home. For example, arrange multiple seating areas in a large sitting area to show how it can accommodate several needs. Or if you have a fireplace, creating a conversation area in front of it shows off an already-appealing feature.

Choose simple and classic decorative items. Set a single vase on an entry table and add fresh flowers from your garden or purchased on sale at the grocery store before you have an open house. This little touch is inexpensive but looks inviting to buyers.

Get a realtor’s opinion. When interviewing prospective real estate agents, ask them to point out any pieces that might make a positive impression on buyers.

Get Thrifty

If you still need furniture or decorations after looking through your inventory, consider picking up items at a thrift store. Not only can these pieces be bought for less than the cost of renting, but they also reduce the waste of buying new.

Go for inexpensive pieces that don’t require much effort to fix up. If an item looks like it will take more than cleaning or a light coat of paint to spruce up, leave it behind. That will save you both time and money.

Pro tip: Look for pieces that can be either used in your new home or given to friends and family when you move.

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