Home Staging 101: How to Sell Your Home Fast

If you’re planning to sell your house, you’ve probably heard of the term home staging by now. The goal of home staging is to make your house more attractive in order to appeal to a larger number of buyers. Since everything is a numbers game, the more interested buyers, the quicker and higher your home sells for. Sounds simple, right? The concept is, but results can vary based on how well your home is staged.

Some sellers spend a couple thousand for home staging professionals to come in and redecorate the place. If you can afford to do this, by all means, go for it. If that’s not in your budget, there are still basic principles you can follow to help your house sell faster and for more.

Follow these five steps to get your home ready to sell:

1) Declutter and Organize

Declutter household items.

This is a seemingly simple task, but daunting nonetheless due to the amount of clutter we tend to accumulate over time. However, this is probably the most important thing you can do before you sell. It’s also a great way to make some extra cash (sell what you don’t want or donate the rest) and as a bonus, you’ll get to move into a new place with a clean slate, only bringing the items you actually value.

To get started, take it one room at a time. If you hop from room to room, it can become overwhelming. After you declutter, be sure to designate where the unwanted items will go, either donate, recycle (if possible) or sell them. Next, you’ll want to reorganize your remaining items so that everything has a place. Finally, do a deep clean. If cleaning isn’t your strong suit, you may want to consider bringing in professional help.

2) Rearrange Furniture

Newly arranged furniture in the living room of a luxury home.

Unless you run an interior design blog, chances are your furniture is arranged in a comfortable + practical way, as it should be. However, now is the time to style it up for looks — not comfort. This means removing outdated pieces and adding in new, modern furniture. If you simply can’t afford to spend anything, still move around what you have — sometimes that’s all it takes for a fresh look. If you’re not sure how to start arranging the furniture, browse the website or Instagram of modern retailers such as Crate & Barrel or West Elm for inspiration.

3) Paint Works Wonders

Wall paint contrast.

An easy and inexpensive way to update your home is with a fresh coat of paint. The safe bet is to go with light colors, such as white, light grey or blue. These are neutral colors that appeal to most people (remember that’s the goal here) and can help brighten + enlarge the look of a room. Most people are pleasantly surprised by how new paint can transform their space.

4) Accessorize Your Space

Rear kitchen bench styled with cut flowers and colorful saucepans.

You don’t have to go all out here, but adding a decorative plant, candle or even stack of books can warm up the space and add a cozy feel. This doesn’t mean fill every inch of empty space, you just decluttered for a reason. Instead, select maybe three decorative items per room, less if it’s a small space. Also, make sure the items are relevant to the space. For example, you might add a throw blanket in the bedroom or a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter. The goal is to keep it simple and attractive.  

5) Mow the Lawn

Mulching garden beds with pine bark pieces

It’s easy to get hung up on the interior details, but you can’t neglect the outside either. Keep in mind, your home’s exterior is the first thing buyers see, and if they don’t like it, chances are they won’t make it inside. It doesn’t have to look professionally landscaped, but some general maintenance goes a long way.

That being said, keep the lawn mowed, edges trimmed, and weeds pulled. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint and add a new welcome mat or planter on the front stoop. Clean the windows, gutters, and remove any debris from the yard. If you have plant beds, be sure to clean those up as well and maybe spring for new mulch or flowers. It sounds like a lot of work (and it is), but the reward will be worth it.

Four Ways to Increase Your Curb Appeal

How would you rate your home’s curb appeal? If you’re trying to sell, let’s hope its good!

Curb appeal is crucial to helping your home sell fast and for more. When prepping a home to sell, people often focus on the inside — painting, refinishing floors and staging. This is all 100% necessary, but you can’t neglect the outside either, because first impressions can make or break you.

That being said, you don’t have to hire a professional landscaper to get your home noticed. Most of the work can be done yourself, without breaking the bank.

DIY – painting door.

Here are four ways to make your home’s exterior stand out:

1) Paint the Front Door

If your front door has cracked or peeling paint, it’s time for a fresh coat. Also, color trends often change, if your door hasn’t been painted in a long time, you may want to consider an updated color such as navy blue or maroon. While you’re at it, go ahead and spruce up the entire front stoop. Consider adding a new welcome mat or potted plant to go with your freshly painted door.

2) Yard Maintenance

Everyone’s least favorite chore, but probably the most important thing you can do when selling. Basic tasks like mowing the lawn, trimming edges and pulling weeds can make all the difference. Make sure to remove any debris such as leaves or fallen branches from your yard. Maybe even spring for some new mulch or flowers to add a finishing touch!

3) Light it Up

Proper lighting not only allows potential buyers to see your place at night, but it also adds a level of security. Start off by updating what you have– switch out old lights for new bulbs that are energy-efficient and offer better lighting. If you don’t have much lighting, to begin with, consider pathway lights (bonus points if they’re solar-powered) that will illuminate your walkway at night.

4) Gutters, Cracks and More

This is probably the most labor-intensive category, but necessary nonetheless. As houses age, cracks develop, fences get worn, gutters are over-do for cleaning. Now is your chance to update anything that has developed as an eyesore. Think of it this way, instead of adding new things to your exterior, consider updating what you already have — that’s all you typically need to improve your home’s curb appeal.

Eco-Friendly Upgrades That Are Worth the Investment

There are many ways to add eco-friendly upgrades to your home that will help the environment and save you money in the long run. Some require a bigger investment and others are a no brainer. Regardless of whether you start small or jump straight into solar panels, you’ll still reduce energy costs + help out the environment — so it’s a win-win!

Below are four eco-friendly home upgrades that will have a significant impact on your savings.  

1) Appliances

Eco-friendly appliances such as washers, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators, conserve more energy and use less water. They’re a little more expensive, but if you’re already installing new appliances, it makes sense to splurge for energy-efficient ones. If all your appliances are still in good shape, there’s no reason to replace them all, but if one dies, consider replacing it with an energy-efficient model. If you continue to do this over time, you’ll end up with serious savings.

Eco-friendly Appliances.

2) LED Lighting

LED lighting is perhaps the most affordable eco-friendly upgrade you can make. Unlike appliances, it’s worth it to replace all of your bulbs even if they haven’t burned out yet. An LED light uses approximately 20% of the energy required for an incandescent bulb with the same lighting quality, so switching out your current bulbs will payout in no time at all.

Eco-friendly LED light bulb.

3) Windows

If you’ve been considering upgrading your windows, now is the time to spring for some extra insulation. Cheap or improperly sealed windows can be the reason for out of control energy bills, which makes sense as windows protect your home from the elements. If you’re looking to upgrade, opt for double glazed windows. It will cost more upfront, but proper insulation makes a huge difference.

White window glass.

4) Solar Panels

This is by far the most expensive option, but if you’re serious about making an impact and reducing your home’s energy costs, solar panels are the way to go. This is an upgrade that will pay off over time, so it’s probably not the best idea if you’re planning to move in the near future. Although, when you do decide to move, solar panels can give you a hefty return on investment.

Solar panels on the roof of the house

Daily Chores to Keep a Clean House

If you’re not in the habit of cleaning daily, it may seem daunting, but many tasks are simple to keep up with once you get in a routine.

So whether you’re in the process of selling and need a squeaky clean home for showings, or you’re just sick of the constant grime, here are four daily tasks that will keep your home looking spick and span.

Keeping counter-tops clean.

1) Dishes and Countertops:

It’s no secret that everyone’s least favorite chore is doing the dishes, but if you let them pile up in the sink, it only creates more stress and grime to tackle later. Instead, make it a rule to clean the kitchen immediately after use, and you’ll find over time, cleaning the kitchen will stop being a point of dread.

This rule not only applies to doing dishes, but to cleaning countertops and the stove as well. Be sure to wipe down all surfaces you cooked or ate on and if you’re feeling extra productive, a quick sweep of the kitchen floor never hurts.

2) Straighten Up and Declutter:

This is a seemingly simple task, but it’s one that people often neglect until company is coming over. Instead of letting the house descend into chaos, try straightening up as you notice things. Perhaps, it’s just folding the blanket on the couch or putting an item away instead of leaving it on the counter. If you can’t find a place for an item, and it’s not something you actually use, consider donating or selling it.

3) Make Your Bed:

Nothing will instantly pull together the look of a bedroom like a nicely made bed. If you feel overwhelmed by the mess in your bedroom, start with your bed, which is usually the centerpiece of the room. That should immediately improve the look of the room and make it seem more manageable to tackle the rest. If you get in the habit of making your bed as soon as you get out of it, you’ll hardly consider it a chore. If you have kids, get them in this habit as well — it teaches them responsibility and it’s fewer beds for you to make!

4) Folding Laundry

Similar to dishes, laundry is a task that can pile up, except it’s considered more acceptable to leave it for multiple days. It’s easy to understand why laundry becomes such a nuisance, it’s a multi-step chore. You have to separate colors, load the washer, load the dryer and then fold everything and put it away. If you have a large family, this can be an overwhelming task. Consider folding the clean laundry while you watch a show or movie — you’ll hardly even notice you’re doing a chore!