(BPT) - Appearances count, especially when you're trying to sell a home. Even though the housing industry experts predict this spring will be a seller's market, it's important to grab every advantage when you're trying to sell your home. Staging - decorating a house to appeal to the broadest possible range of buyers - can make the difference between a quick sale or a long, painful linger on the market.
Fortunately, many of the most effective staging trips are also inexpensive, from a thorough cleaning to decorator details. Here are five staging tricks that don't cost a bundle:
1. Cleanliness counts - Nothing turns off buyers faster than a dirty house. Before you list your house, give it a thorough top-to-bottom cleaning - something that costs nothing but the price of supplies if you do it yourself and a couple hundred bucks, tops, if you hire pros to do it for you. Don't overlook little details like baseboards, ceiling fans, blinds and shower doors. Include decluttering in your cleanup efforts, and remove excess items from your home, even if you have to rent a storage unit to do it.
2. Work those walls - Painting is one of the cheapest, easiest ways to help your home look fresh and great. Choose neutral colors that will appeal to the broadest range of buyers. Don't forget that neutral doesn't have to mean bland, either. Consider dressing up an accent wall, easily and cost-effectively with repositionable wallpaper or a removable wallpaper mural. Websites like MuralsYourWay.com offer a wide variety of repositionable wall coverings, called SmartStick, in a variety of designs. A patented adhesive makes it easy to install the mural - creating an eye-catching focal point for any room - and remove it later if buyers decide they don't want it. It's a great way to get a designer look at a fraction of the cost - and without the commitment of traditional wallpaper.
3. Fix up the fireplace - Sure, you're heading into summer selling season, but fireplaces charm buyers no matter what the weather. Make yours look its best. Old brick fireplaces can get designer flare from a coat of paint. If your fireplace is wood-burning, remove and clean the screen. If it looks tired and rusty, give it a fresh look with a coat of heat-resistant spray paint. For gas fireplaces, keep the glass clean and make sure everything is in working order. For a nominal cost, you can install a remote starter - a winning feature for buyers who can envision themselves starting a fire without ever having to leave the comfort of their couch.
4. Spruce up outdoor living spaces - If you have a deck or patio, do whatever it takes to spruce it up, from power-washing pavers and deck boards to staining tired-looking wooden decks. If you don't have a patio or deck, and don't want to spend a lot of money adding one, you can still create an appealing outdoor seating area. Mark off an area using stones or plastic edgers near the house or in a shady spot in the yard. Fill in with pea gravel or wood chips, then add an attractive bistro set - with umbrella - to create a pleasant seating spot.
5. Brighten the bath - Bathrooms and kitchens sell houses, yet many sellers are reluctant to sink any additional money into staging a bathroom. You don't have to spend a bundle to make your bathroom more appealing. After a deep cleaning, invest in some designer towels that only come out for showings. Put up a fresh shower curtain and get rid of those nasty area rugs that will make buyers think "germs." Add a small vase of fresh flowers on the vanity. Bring in more natural light by removing blinds and ensuring privacy with removable film that makes windows look frosted. Have a bathroom that doesn't have windows? You can really brighten it - and make a designer statement - by placing a removable wallpaper mural on the ceiling. Pick a sky scene with fluffy clouds on a blue background and you can even brighten a windowless powder room.
Staging a home can help make it more appealing to potential buyers, and ensure you sell it faster.