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Home Staging-Can I do it myself?

The main objective of home staging is to allow home buyers to walk into your house and experience the "this is it; this is the home" feeling. Buyers need to visualize themselves and their things living in the home rather than the existing owners. Staging works because often times looking at a blank slate when looking at several houses can feel overwhelming, and buyers need help in seeing how the house can function for them. So, can you do some home staging yourself? The short answer is yes. Many aspects of the home staging process are done best by qualified professionals, however, there are some home preparation tasks that add tons of value, and yes, you can do them yourself.

Every great move started with a plan. The first step would be to make a moving checklist, making a plan for what you are keeping, tossing and donating. Having a plan in place will make the process feel less overwhelming and keep your preparation timeline on task. 

So, what can you do yourself? You will always see a phenomenal return on investment with a good scrubbing and de-cluttering of your house. The average cost is around $200-$300, and the home price increase you can realize is about $1500-$2000. After the scrubbing, painting the interior walls of your home should be your next project. With an average cost of around $500-$750, and a home price increase of about $1500-$2000. These weekend warrior projects of cleaning, decluttering and a fresh coat of paint will see a return on investment of approximately 560%. Worth the outlay of cash, worth the time, and definitely worth the elbow grease.

Are there any project that you shouldn't do yourself? Should you upgrade the kitchens and baths for instance? Well, for most homes a major renovation will not make back the investment. Most would recommend to NOT undertake major renovations when getting your house ready for sale.  

Do NOT paint everything neutral. Data shows that homes that display dynamic interiors through color sell faster and for more money.

Do NOT rent furniture to stage your house. Furniture companies make money selling and renting furniture not strategizing the sale of a home. Only a professional home stager should provide home staging advice, especially for adding furniture and accessories to your home.

A couple of tips as you get the house ready for the photographer and open house:  Remember the plants. Even faux plants make a room feel more alive. Also, set the table. Make your buyers think about entertaining.

The big key is to not get overwhelmed. With a plan in place, and basics complete, your staged home generally will sell faster, and for more, than the unstaged home down the street. Homes staged before hitting the market, sell, on average 73% faster than their unstaged counterparts, according to the Real Estate Staging Association.  And if in doubt? Call your home stager.

Melissa Rolland is a licensed Connecticut realtor. She lives in Tolland, along with her husband Todd, a licensed broker. Together they manage the Rolland Realty Group at Keller Williams Realty. You can connect with them at www.RollandRealtyGroup.com.