If you have no budget but need to get the staging done, employ this handy to-do list, and you won’t have to worry about forgetting anything.

Picture this: You just got a listing that you fought hard for. Because you’re an all-star real estate agent (otherwise, why would they hire you?), when the staging conversation comes up, you’re told to figure it out on your own. In other words, there’s no real budget to work with.

If you’re more than familiar with this situation, we’re here to make it easy for you. Below you’ll find a checklist to get you through staging without any fuss.

1. Declutter

Photo by Douglas Sheppard on Unsplash

Less is more! Make the buyers feel like they are walking into their home. From the moment they walk through the door, do your best to help them envision their life in the home.

Declutter the following:

  • Make the foyer open and welcoming.
  • Hide keys and random items that might have been emptied from the residents pockets as we tend to do when we walk through the door.
  • Buyers are looking for storage space, so declutter closets so that their size can be seen. When you have a closet jammed with clothing and random stuff does not help.
  • Put away family photos.
  • Put away trophies, diplomas and any item that adds personalization. Give the buyer the space to be able to envision their own belongings in the home.
  • Put extra items in storage. The rooms should feel open and empty not cluttered. If there are too many pieces of furniture in a certain room, move them into storage.
  • If there are too many pillows or coffee table books, get those out as well.

2. Rearrange furniture

Photo by Chastity Cortijo on Unsplash

The proper placement of furniture can make the room look and feel brand new.

  • Start with emptying the room. This way you can get a feel for the space and place the furniture where it best belongs.
  • Place the largest piece of furniture first each room, and work the rest around it.
  • Decide on how the room will be used.
  • Don’t block doorways, windows, views to other rooms or the flow of traffic through each room.
  • Add artwork to give each room character.
  • Let rugs lay underneath your furniture to make the room feel larger.

3. Decorate

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

  • A fresh coat of paint will go a long way.
  • Set the table. This is another way to help buyers see themselves in the home.
  • If the floors are very scratched up, refinish them! Buyers might think they have to replace floors when usually a simple staining can make the floors look as good as they did when they were installed.
  • Replace light bulbs with bright ones. Nobody wants to live in a dark home.
  • Add flowers throughout the home to brighten up the mood.

4. Freshen it up

Photo by Arnold Leung on Unsplash

Our sense of smell is considered to be one of our strongest. Keep this in mind when staging.

  • Get rid of all bad odors due to pets, foods, plants and more. Research shows that certain scents can distract from the ability to make decisions.
  • Research shows that using the following simple scents are the most productive: lemon, orange, vanilla, green tea, basil and pine, just to name a few.
  • The amount of the scent is just as important. You don’t want your buyers to be overwhelmed by them. Use sparingly.

5. Clean up the bedroom

Photo by Chastity Cortijo on Unsplash

Time for bed. Our bedrooms are our sanctuaries, so it’s extremely important that this room shows well.

  • Keep décor neutral. Because this is one of the most personal spaces in a home, you should try your best to have the room be appreciated by everybody.
  • Make sure that the bed has a headboard. If there is no headboard, you can just add one. This will bring balance to the space. It’s not difficult to find an inexpensive headboard, and it can make a world of a difference.
  • Keep the clutter to a minimum. Like for the rest of the home, this is even more important in the bedroom. You want to make it feel like a place where you can unwind after a long day.
  • Be sure to use bedding that makes the room feel comfortable. You can do this by using white sheets and not using anything too bold or colorful. Remember to iron all of the bedding.

6. Don’t forget the bathroom

Photo by Chastity Cortijo on Unsplash

As the room that generally gets the least amount of viewing time, you only have a few seconds to make a good impression. Here’s how to get your buyer to look some more:

  • Replace light bulbs.
  • Replace all towels with fresh white ones.
  • Get rid of mold. No matter how well the bathroom has been cleaned, there is always some mold there to remove.
  • Remove all calcium residue and soap grime from shower doors.
  • Replace all rugs and floor mats with new ones.
  • Replace all soaps and shampoos with brand new bottles.
  • Add some flowers and greenery.

Alexander Boriskin is a licensed real estate salesperson with Douglas Elliman in New York City. Follow him on Instagram.

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