Want to make sure your latest listing looks its best? Darryl Davis offers simple staging strategies to enhance every inch of that space.

It’s Marketing and Branding Month here at Inman. As we enter a competitive spring selling season, let’s examine which tried-and-true tactics and cutting-edge innovations are getting deals done in today’s market. We’ll also be recognizing the industry’s marketing and branding leaders with Inman’s Marketing All-Star Awards.

This post was updated Mar. 22, 2024.

When it comes to selling a home, first impressions are everything. From the first aroma to the visually appealing décor or the gut-wrenching clutter (how many fridge magnets can a refrigerator hold, anyway?), all five senses are engaged from the moment a potential buyer sees the first photo or sets foot in the home.  

That’s why real estate staging is such an important part of the homeselling process.

In fact, from the National Association of Realtors’ 2021 Profile of Home Staging, here are a few findings to consider:

  • 47 percent of buyers’ agents cited that home staging impacted most buyers’ view of the home.
  • 82 percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.
  • 23 percent of buyer’s agents said that staging a home increased the dollar value offered between 1-5 percent, compared to other similar homes on the market that are not staged.
  • Staging the living room was found to be very important for buyers (46 percent), followed by staging the primary bedroom (43 percent), and staging the kitchen (35 percent).

By taking the time to stage a home before listing it, you can make it more appealing to buyers and ultimately sell it faster and for a higher price.  

Not sure where to start? Here are 6 real estate staging tips every agent should know

De-clutter and depersonalize

One of the most important things you can do to stage a home is to remove any clutter and personal items that might be present. Buyers want to be able to see themselves living in the space, and they can’t do that if the counters and shelves are covered in family photos and knick-knacks.

Clutter also makes a space feel small and cramped, so getting rid of it is crucial. This should also include clearing out the home’s storage spaces so that they appear larger.   

Create an inviting entryway

The entryway is usually the first thing buyers will see when they enter a home, so you want to make sure it’s inviting and welcoming. Remove any unnecessary furniture or belongings from the area, and add a few strategically placed plants or sculptures to create a pleasing aesthetic.

You might also want to consider hanging a mirror in the entryway; they make spaces seem larger than they actually are.  

Let there be light!

Good lighting is essential for making any space look its best, so take some time to brighten things up before showings begin. Open all the curtains and blinds, and turn on all the lights (even if it’s during the daytime).

You might also want to consider adding some additional lighting fixtures if the space feels particularly dark, and placing mirrors can also create a brighter space. Skylights are also a great way to let in natural light and make a space feel more open. 

Create cohesive color schemes

One of many elements that can help set the tone of a room is color, so choose your color schemes wisely. If you’re not sure where to start, try using one main color with two accent colors; this will create visual interest without being too overwhelming.

Once you’ve decided on your colors, paint all the walls in each room (including touch-ups) prior to showings so that everything looks neat and uniform. And don’t forget about accent pieces like throw pillows, blankets, curtains, etc.; these can also help tie a room together visually. Neutral colors with pops of brighter colors tend to do well, as your buyer’s color tastes may not be the same as yours.  

Arrange furniture strategically

How you arrange furniture in each room will play a big role in how inviting and spacious it feels, so take some time to arrange things in a way that makes sense for both form and function.

In general, you’ll want to keep furniture away from the walls so that walkways don’t feel cramped, but you’ll also want to make sure there’s enough seating for people who might want to sit down during showings (especially if you’re holding an open house).

And don’t forget about traffic flow; arrange furniture in such a way that people can move easily from one room to another without having to navigate around obstacles or navigate tight spaces.   

Spruce up your kitchens and bathrooms

These rooms are typically priorities for buyers, so you’ll want to put extra care into making them look as good as possible. If your budget allows, consider hiring professional cleaners or even contractors for bigger projects like painting, tiling, etc.

Even small changes like updating hardware or fixtures can make these rooms look much nicer. Just remember: potential buyers will be looking closely at every detail, so don’t cut corners. 

It doesn’t take a lot to get a home into show home condition, but taking the time and making the effort to stage a home well can make all the difference. When a buyer comes to see the home, you want them to be focused on the potential this home offers to them. You want them to be focused on the unique features of your listing, and when a home is poorly staged, they will be looking at the clutter, not the potential. 

As an agent, I think it is always an advantage to partner with local experts such as stagers, landscapers, painters, contractors, photographers, etc., especially when selling homes in higher price points. This helps you not only serve your clients at a higher level but also allows you to spotlight that you bring an entire team of real estate professionals to the table when you take on a listing.  

In a competitive market, everything counts.

Darryl Davis is a speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate, as well as the CEO of Darryl Davis Seminars. Connect with him on Facebook or YouTube.

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