With the advent of smartphones, photos are everything. You need to have an outstanding image to get attention from all of the other listings online.
Staging works because it lets prospective homeowners see what their life might look like inside and outside of the home they're looking at. In fact, the National Association of Realtors released a study this year that said that 83% of buyers' agents recognize that staging allows potential buyers see the home as theirs. Half of those agents say that staging raises the value of the home from 1% to 20%.
Here are some simple things that you can do to stage your home, increase its value, and make the house easier to sell:
Clean up - It's very hard to imagine what house can look with your stuff in it when it's cluttered with someone else's stuff. The idea is to make your home look like a model home. Remove as much clutter as possible and make sure that you clean very well. A home that's dirty is off-putting. The buyer will look at it and wonder if it's simply hard to clean. Also, it can be hard to tell the difference between dirty and worn out, especially with floors and walls. Clean it all. And don't forget the cat box, the kid's toys, and the garbage cans.
Take you out - It's really uncomfortable to walk through a house full of family photos and kids' drawings and say, "Wow! I can't wait to buy that house and throw those people out!" People want a home to be theirs. That's hard when the seller has left everything around that makes their home theirs. Take down photos. Remove names from doors. Paint over the marks where you tracked the kids' height (or replace it). Don't make potential buyers uncomfortable imagining a family out on the streets when they buy your house.
Move furniture - Make the living room look like it's a happy place to have a conversation, not just sit down and veg in front of the TV. Turn pieces so that they are in conversation mode. Also, don't make people come in and see the back a sofa. Make the space open and inviting.
Lights and Color - This might seem simple, but make sure there's lots of light in the house. Clean the windows so the sun can shine in. Add some mood lighting in the house. Make it so that there are as few dark corners as possible.
Invest - The cost of staging a home is between $350 and $500 on average. It's a simple, quick investment that sometimes includes paint, cleaning products, etc. Sometimes something as simple as painting the front door can make all the difference. The key is to make sure that you keep the costs in line with what you can make back from it. It's not likely that you'll get your money back on a $10,000 paint job, but a couple hundred dollars of carpet cleaning and light painting can be easy to recoup.
The important thing is to look at your house the way a buyer would. Think about what they need and want from a new home. That'll make it easier to sell your home and maybe even make more money on the sale.