According to a research report from the National Association of Realtors, 82% of buyers’ agents say that buyers are more able to visualize a house as their future home when it is staged. This same report found that the most important room to be staged was the living room, followed by the master bedroom and then the kitchen.
You would think that buying a house is such a huge investment that most people would make this decision using purely rational criteria. However, the reality is that buying a house is just as much an emotional choice as it is a financial one, and even if a house checks all the right boxes, a buyer might walk away just because it didn’t feel right.
For this reason, home staging is increasingly common. It’s not the cheapest thing in the world to do, though, potentially costing a few thousand dollars a month. If that sounds a bit steep for you, never fear.
Let’s take a look at tips for staging a house on a budget so you can sell your home without breaking the bank.
Staging a House on a Budget: Declutter First
Before you start thinking about staging your home, the absolute first thing you should do is declutter, declutter, declutter. When your house looks crowded with stuff, it makes people feel as though the home isn’t big enough and even makes the rooms feel smaller.
One of the most cost-effective ways to improve the look of your house is to declutter.
Since you’re moving, you likely are planning on going through your stuff and getting rid of some of it anyway. If you’re like most Americans, you have closets, garages, and storage spaces filled to the brim with things you don’t even remember buying. Before you put your house on the market and before you get into staging, it’s time to get rid of everything you no longer want or need.
One of the first things you can do when you’re staging a house for sale on a budget is to sell some items. You don’t necessarily need to have a yard sale and drag everything you own out to the curb, but some of your belongings are likely easy to sell and worth the trouble.
Bigger ticket items can be sold on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or other buy-and-sell groups.
When going through your stuff, you’ll need to get some trash bags and boxes. Then, always have a trash bag with you and boxes labeled as give away, recycle, and sell.
Do a Deep Clean
One of the things you can do to really make your house more appealing to buyers is clean, clean, clean. After all, what’s the point of sprucing up your home so it looks like it belongs in a magazine only for there to be layers of dust on all of the molding?
If you have more time than money, you can deep clean your home rather than hiring a cleaning company. You can cut costs by using reusable rags rather than paper towels and making your own cleaning solutions.
Get Free Advice
If you’re staging a house for sale on a budget, you likely don’t want to deal with paying for a professional home stager. However, you can enlist the advice of another type of professional: your real estate agent.
Avoid Renting a Storage Unit
If you’re staging a house on a budget, you’ll want to avoid renting a storage unit. Putting your extra furniture and belongings in a storage unit is common advice when it comes to staging, but if you’re on a budget you won’t want to accrue that expense.
Instead, see if you could borrow a corner of the garage at a friend’s house or family member’s home. Otherwise, you can neatly stack your boxes in your own garage. So long as you do it in an organized way and potential buyers can still get a sense of the space, it likely won’t be too big of an issue.
Use Budget Items to Create Curb Appeal
Many people who are thinking about buying a home do their own research on real estate websites. When they like a house, they drive by to give it a look before they even reach out to a real estate agent.
For this reason, it’s just as important to stage the outside of your home as it is to stage the inside. First impressions are important in many aspects of life, and it might be particularly true when it comes to real estate. After all, if a potential buyer doesn’t like the looks of your home from the outside, they won’t bother to set up a showing or pursue it further.
Curb appeal is something you can definitely boost on a budget. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Keep the lawn mowed
- Trim the hedges
- Top off mulch
- Keep outdoor spaces free of clutter
- Soften hard outdoor spaces by adding an outdoor rug
- Lighten up your outdoor space with inexpensive solar lights or string lights on your porch
- Set the patio space for entertaining
When you’re looking into home staging ideas on a budget, don’t forget about the outside. Creating an inviting vibe is essential to the quickest sale possible.
Rearrange Your Furniture
You don’t necessarily need to put your furniture in storage to replace it with nicer, more appealing furniture. Instead, consider rearranging your existing furniture to create clearer pathways through your house.
The flow of how a person naturally moves through the home is important. You’ll want to leave at least 24 inches of space for low traffic areas and 30-48 inches of space for higher traffic areas. When creating these pathways, be sure to consider where chairs rest when they are pulled out.
Shop Your Own Stuff
Before you pull out your wallet to spend the big bucks on home accents, take a look at what you already have in your home. There’s a good chance you already have some elements that would really add something to the space for staging purposes.
For example, you might collect your nicest vases, bowls, and glassware and use them for decorative touches. Fill one of your best vases with fresh flowers or fill decorative bowls with beautiful fruit to display on the kitchen counter.
Add Budget Accents That Exude Luxury
Once you’ve exhausted the supply of accents in your own home, you might consider adding a few budget pieces. This doesn’t have to be a huge expense, and a little bit of class can go a long way.
Fresh flowers is one of the easiest home staging ideas on a budget. They add a subtle floral scent and an unmistakable freshness. On top of that, flowers are thought to boost happiness, improve mental health, and raise the perceived quality of life, all of which are wonderfully positive associations for potential buyers to be made right in your house that is for sale.
Another small detail you can add is luxury hand soaps in the bathroom and kitchen. You can get some pretty bars or soap or bottles from places like T.J. Maxx or Trader Joe’s and it shouldn’t break the bank too much. Leave bar soaps unused until the house is sold to keep them looking your best.
If you have nicer guest towels, swap these out for the daily towels. Otherwise, you might consider replacing the towels with a nicer, more luxurious set for showings.
Replacing the shower curtain can also freshen up the place and turn your bathroom from just-so to spa-level.
Slap on a Fresh Coat of Paint
Most real estate agents agree that you should paint your walls with a fresh coat before you start the showing process. When you do this, however, it’s a good idea to go with a nice beige or greige tone, as this is what buyers respond most positively to.
If you have any rooms that are painted a distracting color or are painted a non-neutral color, you can work on these first to save money. You can then incorporate accent colors with textiles after you create a neutral backdrop. This can keep your home from appearing too bland.
Some of the decor pieces you can use to add personality and color without spending too much money include throw blankets, throw pillows and a small accent rug.
Revitalize Your Existing Belongings
When you’re selling your house, you might feel like the expectation is that you will stage your home in a way that basically requires full remodeling. There’s a good chance you have a lot going on in your life, and taking the time and spending the money to totally redecorate doesn’t seem like your highest priority.
However, you can revamp some of your existing stuff to really make your home more appealing to buyers.
For example, the right slipcover could totally transform that dated and worn sofa you have. Cushion covers can give new life to throw pillows, and a crisp white budget duvet cover could help keep your bedroom fresh and clean feeling.
Many people opt to replace hardware from bathroom vanities, kitchen cabinets, and sometimes even furniture. Little details like this can actually make a big difference.
Tailor Your Staging to Your Most Likely Buyers
The number one rule of marketing is: know your audience. When you’re looking for home staging ideas on a budget, the best thing you can do is learn more about the type of people who will most likely be interested in your house.
While you can’t know everything about prospective buyers, there are definitely some hints to help you know who your target market is. For example, if you’re moving out of a family-friendly neighborhood and a four-bedroom house, there’s a high likelihood that the people looking at houses in the neighborhood will be families with children.
Even if your kids have flown the coop and you’re downsizing for retirement, consider decorating one of the spare bedrooms to look like a child’s room. You might be able to borrow decor, toys, and linens from family members or friends rather than spending money on this part of the process.
Maybe your home is in an area where millennials tend to reside. You can then tailor your decorating to this demographic, showing off how the space can be great for entertaining.
Utilize the Benefits of Natural Light
One of the things that is very important to buyers is natural light. For this reason, you should always maximize the natural light that you have. Remove any heavy curtains or draperies that are hanging and replace them with sheer white curtains, sheer panels, or leave them uncovered.
Replace Your Bulbs
The lighting in a room can totally change the way people see a space. Even if you’re seriously on a budget, you can at least change the lightbulbs to brighten up the space. Choose bulbs that have a higher color temperature that offer a bright, clear, daylight hue to increase the sensation of natural light.
Harness the Power of Mirrors
If your house is filled with small spaces, add some mirrors and hang them right across from windows. This will make the space feel bigger and reflect more light. You might be able to find mirrors on local buy and sell groups, thrift stores, or on Facebook Marketplace if you don’t have any extra laying around.
Are You Hoping to Skip the Cost to Stage a House?
When you think about selling your house, you likely don’t think about how much money it’s going to cost you. Unfortunately, selling a house isn’t free, and many homeowners invest a significant amount of time, money, and energy into preparing their home for the market. While staging a house for sale on a budget is possible, it’s worth knowing that there are other options that don’t involve so much work and hassle.
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