Room-by-Room Staging Strategies

Staging your home to sell is proven to increase your sale price up to seven percent, so it's worth your time to evaluate your place room-by-room and decide what changes to make. Here are some tips to help you play up your home's assets and downplay its faults.
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Photo By: Martin Klimek

Bathroom: Clean Up the Walls

Grimy bathroom walls are a major red flag to buyers. Here is an easy way to get rid of surface mold: Mix a spray bottle with one part water and one part bleach. Just spray it on the wall, and watch the mold disappear. Give it a fresh coat of paint, and your grimy bathroom will go from red-flag to red-hot.

Bathroom: Scour Yucky Shower Doors

A grimy glass shower door can really wash out your sale. Instead of replacing it, clean it with a mixture of one part muriatic acid and about 10 parts water. Scrub with steel wool. After wiping it down, reinstall the door, and you'll have a shower that'll help you clean up at the open house.

Bathroom: Paint Dated Tile

Bathrooms sell houses, but dated tile in a bathroom doesn't. A low-cost alternative to replacing the tile is to use paint. First coat the tiles with a high-adhesion primer. Next, brush on a special ceramic epoxy covering. For a fraction of the cost of new tile, you will have an up-to-date bathroom that brings in big bucks.

Bathroom: Pick a Pedestal Sink

Pedestal sinks are a big hit with buyers. They show off square footage in small bathrooms beautifully. First, your old vanity has to go. Next, just hook up your new sink, and your bathroom will have dramatic appeal that brings in big bucks. Plus, buyers will see how much floor space your bathroom has.

Kitchen: Stain Dated Kitchen Cabinets

Dated kitchen cabinets can be a big turnoff to potential buyers. Instead of paying big bucks to replace them, just paint or stain them. First, apply the stain in even strokes, going with the grain of the wood. Add some stylish new hardware, and your kitchen will have the up-to-date look that buyers love, for less than $200.

Kitchen: Go For Stainless Steel

Stainless-steel appliances are definitely in with buyers. Instead of buying a new dishwasher, here is a low-cost way to reface an old one: First, remove the front panels, and clean them. Next, apply a stainless-steel stick-on covering, and cut it to size. For just $20 your dishwasher will go from outdated to ultra-modern.

Kitchen: Fill Unsightly Hardware Holes

Removing old kitchen hardware can leave your cabinets with stripped-out holes. Here is a trick to reusing the existing ones. First, dip a toothpick in glue and place it in the stripped hole. Cut off the excess piece. Once the glue dries, you'll be ready to put in the new hardware that buyers love.

Kitchen: Get Granite for Less

Granite countertops are a huge selling feature, but they can be expensive. Here are a few ways to save on this investment: First, do the demo yourself. Also, ask the vendor for remnants from previous projects. And remember, any money you spend will definitely be returned in the value these beautiful counters add to your kitchen.

Kitchen: Invest in New Appliances

Studies show that new kitchen appliances bring high returns from sellers, so get rid of old appliances that make the rest of the kitchen look dated. Once you install the new equipment, it will scream "new kitchen," and you will see that spending a little money will make you even more.

Living Room: Revive Hardwood Floors

Adding drama to old hardwood flooring is easier than you might think. First, isolate damaged boards, cut them out, and replace them with new pieces. Rent a sander from a local hardware store, and give the floor a good sanding. The last step is to stain the boards with a rich color, and watch your floor go from drab to dramatic in no time.

Living Room: Accentuate Built-Ins

Buyers love built-in bookshelves, but there's a fine line between filling them with clutter and staging them to sell. The trick is to arrange neutral items in clusters. Make sure that no single accessory stands out too much. That way, you'll show off your attractive built-ins, and not your personal belongings.

Bedroom: Keep It Simple

Remove distracting, unnecessary furniture from the bedroom. "Bedrooms need to send a signal of relaxation and comfort, not where you're doing your work, not where you're storing everything," notes designer Monica Pedersen. "If you have multiple purposes in one room, people are going to think there aren't enough rooms in the house for you and there won't be for them. When in doubt, take it out," adds designer Lisa LaPorta.

Bedroom: Add a Headboard

Headboards draw attention to a bed and make a bedroom feel fancy. "When a buyer walks into a master bedroom, they are expecting to see luxury, to see comfort, to see elegance," says Souza. "I look at the master bedroom as really being the lion. That is the formidable master bedroom, so you have visions of grandeur when going into a master bedroom," adds real estate expert Shirley Mattam-Male of the Washington, D.C., team.

Bedroom: Stick to a Color Scheme

Coordinating bedding and window treatments add instant style and class to a bedroom. "If you feel like you're not a designer and you're not good at pulling together a room, just go to a great bedding store, buy bedding and from the bedding, pull out a paint color and get matching window treatments. It will instantly look like a high-end hotel suite, and it's a no brainer," advises LaPorta.

Outdoor Areas: Kick Up Your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is vital to attracting buyers. Here is how to stop traffic using color. First, with two tones of paint, add a faux finish to any corner keystones. Next, bring out the color of walkway pavers using a stone sealer. Plant flowers in bloom, and you'll have buyers swarming like bees to your front door.

Outdoor Areas: Refresh Your Deck

A nice outdoor deck can be a big selling feature, but an old one is a major liability. To give your outdoor space new life, first sand the wood. Cover it with a light-colored stain instead of paint to give it a rustic, grainy look. Furnish it for entertaining, and watch your open house turn into a party.

Outdoor Areas: Perk Up a Patio

Do you have a red-brick patio surface that needs to be freshened up? Here is an easy way to give it new life with paint. First, roll a light coat of paint onto the bricks. Next, lightly spray them with water and then dab them before they dry to give them an outdoor look. When you are done, you will have a patio that looks fresh and reels in buyers.

Outdoor Areas: Focus on the Front Door

Breining suggests a quart of glossy paint in a bold, cheerful color for the front door (we suggest red); new hardware (or a little elbow grease to clean and polish the existing knocker, lockset, porch light, house numbers and mailbox); a fresh coir or seagrass mat; and a trio of seasonal potted plants on the landing to dramatically brighten and refresh your home's entry and make visitors feel welcome. This small investment pays personal dividends, too, giving you an emotional boost and a dose of house pride with each homecoming.

Other Rooms: Stage Rooms With One Purpose

Potential buyers are confused by extra rooms that have a mishmash of uses. To avoid this problem, first clear away clutter and excess furniture. Paint the walls a neutral tone and then furnish the room with a desk to stage it as a home office in which buyers will want to get down to business.

The simple addition of a comfortable armchair, a small table and a lamp in a stairwell nook will transform it into a cozy reading spot, Russell suggests. Or drape fabric on the walls of your basement, lay inexpensive rubber padding or a carpet remnant on the floor and toss in a few cushy pillows. Voila! Your new meditation room or yoga studio.

Other Rooms: Don't Forget Storage Space

Resist the temptation to shove clutter into closets – buyers will be opening all your closet doors during showings. It's a good idea to clear out unnecessary clutter, and organize your shelves to show off how much storage you really have. Plus, it gives you a chance to start packing, as you will definitely be moving once buyers see all that closet space.

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