Budget Home Staging: 5 things for $500

Posted by Jeff Aughey on Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 at 1:53am.

Tips to save money when staging your house for saleThis tough real estate market combined with the current economic environment presents a tough challenge for hopeful home sellers today. Let's face it. Economic times are a bit tougher for most people today than they were a couple of years ago. Proper home staging is more critical than ever in this buyer's market but the thought of spending thousands to get a home ready for market is out of reach for many sellers today. So how can you best prepare your home for sale in these tight times? Try these 5 powerful budget friendly tips to tune up your home and sell in this market. 1. Number one on your list is to declutter. I am tempted to put this as number two as well to emphasize how critical this step is. Most people underestimate the dramatic improvement that can be achieved by eliminating excess stuff in the home. We have all seen model homes in new subdivisions, that is what you need to aim for. Go through each room and pack up all unnecessary items. You will need to pack when you move so get a head start and box them up now. (BUDGET TIP: Grab used boxes from people moving into homes in your area. You can save $200 easily by reusing boxes that your new neighbors are going to throw out) You may need to rent a storage unit to store your extra stuff. That will cost money. Probably in the range of $75-$125 per month. Do the following and don't argue. Hold a garage sale and sell enough of the things you really don't need to pay for the storage unit. Net cost should be zero plus maybe $5 for a tube of Ben Gay for your sore muscles. 2. Clean like never before! Maybe only 1 out of 50 homeowners regularly keep their home as clean as it needs to be for showing. Most people are just not neat enough to just throw their homes on the market without some serious deep cleaning. In case you are wondering, I am not the one out of 50. Clean everything thoroughly. It can't be too clean. Focus on the kitchen and bathrooms, don't miss the baseboards, light switch plates, dust ceiling fans, inside appliances, windows and window sills, front entryway etc... keep going until you can't make it any better (and then do just a bit more) Cost - $100 for cleaning supplies 3. The yard needs to be shaped up in most cases. Remove or trim bushes/trees that hide the home. It is tough to sell your home if the buyer can't see it. It is often amazing to see the difference that can be achieved with a shovel, good pole saw and a chain saw. Borrow the saws from a neighbor if you don't have them. Don't be afraid to cut overhanging branches way back, cut down trees or remove bushes entirely. Your goal is to make the home more appealing and visible from the street. Be careful not to cut yourself with the saws or you will blow the budget on medical care. Now it is time for the basics. Mow, edge, trim and weed the beds. Then plant a flat of colorful flowers and add some fresh mulch or pinestraw to the beds by the front door. Cost is $100 including a six pack for the use of the neighbors saw. 4. A fresh coat of paint is tough to beat for improving the value of your home in the buyer's eye. Make sure you select appealing colors when repainting. If you are not good with colors ask for help from a neighbor or the decorators at Home Depot or Lowes. They are usually willing to give their opinions for free. Stay away from flesh tones and try to use today's popular colors such as earth tones, tans, greens and browns etc.. I am convinced that most people can paint well enough if they are careful. I have however seen more than a few homes in which it is obvious that the homeowner should not have tried to go it alone. If you are truly poor at painting it is better to just skip this step. (BUDGET TIP - see if you can find a paint contractor that is willing to buy the paint for you for a small fee - they can get paint that will do the job for about $14 or less a gallon in most cases) Cost for ten gallons of paint $25/gallon plus supplies $300 5. Nothing sets the stage for success better than the correct list price. It is absolutely critical to price your home correctly in today's market. If your home does not look like a good value compared to the competition it will NOT sell. There are too many foreclosures and short sales out there for the buyer to choose from. Try to be objective and really ask yourself if your home looks like a great value compared to other homes for sale in your area. A good rule of thumb is to pick a price that you think is rediculously low and then take another ten percent off that number. This step cost you nothing to implement but can cost you a great deal if you pick the wrong price. Cost $0 There you have it. Total cost can be kept to $500 or less. I know this assumes that you really have to bust it and do a good bit of the work yourself. Your efforts will pay off. You can add thousands of dollars to the value of your home by following the above steps. This market is not easy but you can be successful by taking action. Visit this page from my site if you want a more detailed list of improvments or if you want to print off the to do check list. If you would like a personal consultation regarding the proper staging of your home for sale then please contact me. All the best! Jeff

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