Cheap ways to stage your home like a pro

The Tribune (SLO) - - Featured Properties - BY MELISSA NEIMAN Bankrate.com

If you’re sell­ing your house, the place has to look its best so buy­ers can see its po­ten­tial and imag­ine them­selves liv­ing there. That’s what home-stag­ing is all about.

A pro­fes­sional home­stager

will cost be­tween $50 and $150 per hour, says Jes­sica Page, a bro­ker with In­no­va­tive Real Es­tate in the Den­ver area.

The good news is that you can get it done for a lot less money.

Page and real es­tate vet­eran Jen­nifer Radice of Cold­well Banker Res­i­den­tial Real Es­tate in Boca Ra­ton, Florida, share ex­pert tips for stag­ing your home at al­most no cost.

Cheap ways to stage your home:

1. STASH PER­SONAL ITEMS

Pack­ing away your per­sonal stuff, such as pic­tures, sports mem­o­ra­bilia, even re­li­gious items, is one of the eas­i­est, cheap­est things you can do to stage your house.

“The rea­son you want to de­per­son­al­ize your home is be­cause you want buy­ers to view it as their po­ten­tial home,” Page says.

Prospec­tive buy­ers may have a hard time en­vi­sion­ing them­selves in the house if they’re sur­rounded by pho­tos of your fam­ily.

“Pic­tures are ex­tremely dis­tract­ing,” says Radice, who also rec­om­mends re­mov­ing re­li­gious items from view.

The cost: $2 to $3 for a roll of pack­ing tape. You can pick up free boxes at stores in your neigh­bor­hood.

2. CLEAR AWAY CLUTTER

De­clut­ter­ing is another sim­ple way to get buy­ers to fo­cus on the bones of the house.

Radice rec­om­mends clear­ing off kitchen and bath­room coun­ter­tops.

She sug­gests pack­ing that stuff in boxes and neatly stack­ing them in a cor­ner of the garage. Any­thing ex­tra should go in a small stor­age unit. Even bet­ter, ask a friend or rel­a­tive to stash your items at no charge.

The cost: The price of a stor­age unit varies (around $50 a month for a 5-by-5-foot unit).

Take ad­van­tage of to­day’s low mort­gage rates at Bankrate.com.

3. REARRANGE ROOMS AND GIVE THEM PUR­POSE

Rearrange the rooms in your home and make sure each room has a dis­tinct pur­pose. Page sug­gests tour­ing builders’ mod­els to see how the rooms are fur­nished.

If your house hasn’t been painted re­cently, take a paint­brush to the rooms that need it most. Sellers who paint the in­te­rior of their home will see a large re­turn on the in­vest­ment, Page says.

The cost: Any­where from $12 to $50 per gal­lon for paint, plus another $10 to $50 for other paint­ing sup­plies (primer, brushes, drop­cloths, etc.). You can get back some of that money as a re­fund on your taxes for any items you do­nate to char­ity.

4. SCRUB AND DEODORIZE

No one wants to visit a dirty house, es­pe­cially prospec­tive buy­ers. So make sure your house is squeaky clean.

“When buy­ers see an un­kempt home or smell some­thing when they first walk in, they be­come turned off im­me­di­ately,” Page says.

The cost: Varies by the lo­ca­tion and size of the home, but ex­pect to spend at least $100 to clean a four-bed­room, 2,500square-foot home.

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