This post is sponsored by Simply Earth but all opinions are my own.
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Our suburban home’s remodel is complete and now it’s time to list it! Before we start accepting potential buyers into our houses, there are five things I always want to make sure I do. These are techniques I’ve used over the past decade to make sure my homes - the ones I’m actually living in - hit the real estate market with gusto and sell within a few days. Today, I’m sharing those techniques with you so you can implement them in your own homes.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to completely redecorate to make your home appealing to buyers. These are easy and manageable on any budget!
I’ve bought and sold five homes over the past decade and each time, I’ve learned something new about home staging. Usually, this knowledge comes from the homes I’ve toured in the hopes of buying. Typically, I walk into a home and find at least one thing that grosses me out. There’s either an overflowing bathroom trashcan or a kitchen counter filled with clutter and crumbs and I recoil a little.
Taking these annoyances into account, I’ve compiled my own list of items I want to make sure I do before we have a photographer out to take photos for our real estate ad. I also continue the list by making them easy to implement in our everyday lives, as our home is being toured.
GIVE EACH SPACE A PURPOSE + THEN HINT AT IT
but don’t over-stage it.
There’s nothing more annoying to me than browsing real estate ads and seeing an open laptop on a desk, a bathtub filled with bubbles, or a dining table with a full tablescape. If you really think about it, it’s creepy. It’s like a family had been here just five minutes before but then were raptured just before you walked in. Or worse, you’re intruding on their lives.
These little staging techniques are also really taste-specific and probably won’t do much to help your buyers see themselves in these spaces. So I recommend you avoid them altogether. Want your buyers to feel like they can unwind in the master bathroom? You don’t have to fill the tub. I place a decorative container of bath salts on the side of the tub, alongside a jar of fancy soaps, and an unlit candle.
This evokes the same feelings of relaxation for the buyer but because it’s decor, rather than an action, it won’t feel like they’re going to turn the corner to accidentally find you naked.
If you have a space carved out for a dedicated home office, there’s no need to over-explain its purpose to your buyers. When they see the desk, they’ll get the hint.
On this same topic, take special care to insure that every single room in your home has a defined purpose.
Our current home has four bedrooms. There are only three of us in this family and two of us share a bedroom. As a result, the space you see above has been sitting vacant for the majority of the time we’ve lived here. It’s the smallest bedroom in the house and fitting a bed larger than a twin in this space was challenging. I didn’t want to point out to the buyer just how tiny it really is. II also didn’t want to make it feel like wasted space by leaving it empty.
So we decided to give our daughter’s old crib one last hoorah before passing it along to a charity and we staged a nursery in this space.
That brings me to my next technique -
HIGHLIGHT EACH ROOM’S BEST FEATURE
instead of trying to hide the worst one
Our master bathroom has an old shower stall that is dingy, to say the least. We just ran out of budget in there. It still functions just fine! It’s just not pretty.
The bathtub, on the other hand, is brand new and it features a gorgeous marble and glass surround. So instead of wasting my time trying to hide how ugly the shower is, I accented the beautiful tub with the only pop of real color in the space - a white and fuchsia orchid.
In our master bedroom, we made very few changes. We never repainted, so the walls are a little dingy. We didn’t replace the carpet and it’s not in the best shape.
But what does that room have going for it? Soaring ceilings.
Instead of trying to hide the bad carpet, we simple added a tall headboard and artwork to draw our buyers’ eyes upward. We’ll let them keep the rug too.
CLEAR THE CLUTTER + ADD ONE TRENDY ACCENT ITEM
this one time only
Typically, I would tell you that if you want to add personality to a space, you’re not going to find what you’re looking for at a big box store. But this one time, you need to check out the big box stores in your direct neighborhood.
Here’s why -
When you decorate your home, you’re finding items that speak to you. When you’re staging to sell, by contrast, you’re looking for items that speak to the majority of people who own homes in your neighborhood. After all, that’s the lifestyle your buyers are looking to have after they buy your house, right?
Because staging is more about a deep dive into the mentalities of the people you’d like to sell your home to, it’s important that you have a basic understanding of their tastes. The big box stores in your surrounding area will be carrying only the items that actually sell to your neighbors. As a result, you can expect they’ll be decor items that are appealing to your buyers.
Just don’t go overboard.
The majority of your horizontal spaces should be free of clutter. That means you’ll want to remove excessive collections of plants and decor objects. Keep the floors as clutter-free as possible.
But you can accent with a neutral but nice piece of artwork like I did at the top of my stairs.
You also want to cut back on the amount of visual clutter. Visual clutter occurs anytime the eye is distracted. It’s a subconscious reaction and you probably won’t even notice it happening. But even if you don’t acknowledge it, your brain will still interpret a space as being cluttered if too much visual distraction occurs in one area.
Take a tip from the stylists of magazine and catalogs and ditch the cords. NO DON’T CUT THEM OFF (though I know people who do this). Just tuck them away so they’re not standing out as clutter during your showings.
These lamp cords are tucked behind this large piece of driftwood.
Similarly, store all your beauty products and toiletries that normally hang out on your bathroom counter in a bin under your sink or in a dresser drawer while your house is on the market. This will make your vanity seem bigger (and everyone wants a bigger vanity) and it keeps your buyers from getting grossed out by your toothbrush or razor or eyedrops. Leave only a soap dispenser on the counter in case someone needs it. Grab a new, fashionable hand towel and make sure it stays crisp and clean.
In addition to looking clean, your house needs to feel clean to buyers.
FRESHEN EVERY SPACE
with essential oils
I’ve been using essential oils for a long time but I have to admit that I’ve never dedicated myself to buying exclusively from one brand. Each brand seemed exactly the same. That is, they did all seem the same until I got an email from Simply Earth, inviting me to consider their products.
Simple Earth is different because they offer subscriptions boxes that include everything you need - even recipes - to make custom skincare and home products with essential oils. ALSO, 13% OF THEIR PROCEEDS GO DIRECTLY TO CHARITIES THAT ARE WORKING TO END HUMAN TRAFFICKING.
The boxes are actually really affordable and packed with great supplies. I was shocked to see how many items they sent with the standard box and even more surprised when I realized they’d sent me a bonus box with even more good stuff!
The subscription box contained the following; 4 essential oils, aloe vera juice, and a fine spray misting bottle, plus all of the recipe cards and labels you need to make this month’s best natural products. At $39, this is a steal.
WHY ESSENTIAL OILS?
Every person has a varying degree of sensitivity to smells and chemicals. For instance, I’m incredibly allergic to most perfumes used in common household air fresheners. They make my eyes itch and can even cause my face to swell after prolonged exposure. As a result, I can’t use any cleaning or beauty products that contains artificial fragrances.
If you’re thinking Well, I’m not allergic. So I can use air freshener, think again.
When your home is on the market, it’s extremely important that you take your buyers’ overall experience into consideration. If I loved a home but it caused me to break out in hives after I left, I wouldn’t be able to buy it. Less rare is sensitivity to smells. Artificial fragrances are heavy scents that can be off-putting to a lot of people. You want your home to smell fresh and clean, rather than scented.
So keep it natural and play it safe.
THREE WAYS TO FRESHEN UP WITH ESSENTIAL OILS
FOR REAL ESTATE SHOWINGS
I use these all the time throughout my house. This is the fastest and easiest way to make a big impact with scents. The recipes are easy, too. Following the recipe card from Simply Earth, I determined each of these oils could be used in exact proportions (ex: 5 drops of each). Once the drops are added to the tank, then you fill the tank with distilled water and turn the machine on.
This method is perfect for a quick refresh, but I also wanted to have something that would linger a while longer in each room, between showings.
DIY Reed Diffuser for Essential Oils
I used to buy reed diffusers before electronic ones were readily available and loved how long that method would last to provide a gentle scent in smaller rooms. Since I had the essential oils already on-hand, I figured out that I could take some bamboo skewers (like the kind for grilling) and combine them with a vase to create my own reed diffuser.
After trimming the pointed edges off your skewers, add preferred oil recipe to the pan and mix the skewers to cover in oil.
I used 15 drops of grapefruit, palmarosa, and almond oil then added 20 drops of Head Soothing.
Once your skewers are coated, pour distilled water over mixture to cover. Allow to soak for one hour.
While the skewers soaked, I added a few pinches of dried hibiscus leaves (which were included in my June box) to the vases.
Once the skewers appeared thoroughly soaked, I added them to the vases and then poured my essential oil solution into each vase.
Freshen Up Your HVAC
Add Essential Oils to an unscented dryer sheet and tuck into your air vents. You’ll get a nice burst of freshness each time the air or heat turns on.
I’d like to take a moment to thank my sponsor for this week’s post, Simply Earth.
The Wisconsin-based company is committed to social responsibility and their products are true quality for a great value. They even offer the opportunity to purchase single bottles of oils, accessories, and jewelry! No MLM required!
So remember to check out the entire line here and thanks again for supporting the brands that support this blog. Without sponsorships like these, I wouldn’t be able to share all the free DIY remodeling and decor plans. Helping people love their homes is my true passion and brands like Simply Earth, make that possible.