Realtor - Tampa Bay, FL
Nancy Rodda, PA

Vacant Home Staging on a Budget 101 By: Nancy Rodda

Selling a vacant home can sometimes be a challenge. A vacant home can seem cold, uninviting, and dare I say….unloved.  With no furniture to give scale, spaces seem smaller than they truly are and minor imperfections such as a scratched wood plank, a chipped tile, a scuffed wall suddenly become a focal point and distract buyers from the big picture. Undefined spaces such as lofts and bonus rooms can leave buyers at a loss for how to make use of the space. When professional staging of a home is not in the budget , here are a few inexpensive tips that will make your vacant property feel warm and welcoming to prospective buyers….make it feel like HOME.

1. Fresh paint is a must, especially when a home is vacant because every nail hole, dirty hand print, and dusty fan blade will be all the buyer sees if you don’t. Trust me, I speak the truth. The good news: at around $25 per gallon of paint, this task will hands down give you the most bang for your buck if your willing to put in some sweat equity. I know you love your hot pink bathroom and that fantastic animal mural in the living room…..but the color of the day is Greige. Yes, Greige. You can’t go wrong if you land somewhere on the Grey to Beige spectrum, so roll up your sleeves and get to work!

2. First impressions are everything and you don’t get a second chance to make one! A pressure washer is your new best friend. For a nominal fee, you can rent one and for only slightly more, you can hire someone who has one! You will be amazed at how great your driveway and exterior of your home can look after a little wash down. Also, when is the last time you mulched? At around $2 a bag, fresh mulch will make your landscaping pop….and I speak from experience when I say that carrying the 10 to 20 30lb bags required to mulch a small garden is an excellent work out! Dead plants, weeds, cobwebs, trash of any kind….get rid of it all, no exceptions.If you know any Cross Fitters, just invite them over to the mulching and weeding party for their WOD!

3. Does your entrance say “WELCOME HOME”. Literally, does it? This is your chance to “Have them at Hello”. Brightly colored door mats with inviting words can plant a seed with prospective buyers and also make the entrance fresh. Time to get rid of that shredded, dirty and tired door mat that has seen far too much. Sports fans, I know you love your FSU Seminole door flag…..but that may be enough to make a UF Gator turn around before even entering….so pack it up and hang it at your new abode! If you have an entrance patio, purchase a couple inexpensive patio chairs ($15 ea), a bright throw pillow ($5 ea), area rug ($20-$40ea) and some potted plants ($5 to $15 ea).

4. Now the buyers are inside and greeted by an empty and echoing home. You know all those dim, energy efficient lights that have kept your electric bill fantastically low, saved the environment and made you look 10 years younger? Swap them out for super bright energy zapping spot lights that make your home say “Look at how light and bright and beautiful I am”! I’m not saying to do this with all of the lights, but definitely in strategic areas such as the entrance foyer, kitchen, stairs, hallways and other areas that may not get much natural light. No need to recycle, you can be nice and leave the energy efficient ones in the closet for the new buyer :). And open the blinds. Personally, I like them completely raised and open for showings unless the view could distract focus from the home….such as the next door neighbor working on their tan lines.

5. Kitchen and bathrooms. Anyone ever heard the old saying that Kitchens and Bathrooms sell homes? I’m pretty sure there is something to that. So, head to your local bargain store and get some brightly colored towels ($6 ea), floor mats ($15 ea), and a few simple accent pieces such as jar of assorted jelly beans (under $10) for the kitchen or some luxurious hand soap ($5ea) for the bathrooms. Why brightly colored you ask?…Because you need to balance all that beautiful neutral GREIGE with a pop of color so the home is neutral but not sterile.

6. And lastly, what to do with those lonely and sometimes confusing vacant living spaces? I suggest a story board for each room. Go on-line to sites like Pintrest, Houzz, IKEA and find similar furnished rooms and spaces. Make a collage of your findings (obeying copyright laws of course) and hang a story board in each space. This will not only help your buyers visualize how to use the space, it will have the added value of bringing some color to each room as well as giving a focal point to each room.

Got it? I expect that you will all go forth and excel! I’m out there showing properties all the time and I’ll be watching to see if you have listened!

By the way, I did the staging pictured above for under $150. The $40 patio rug was a splurge but worth every penny! Which home would you choose?

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About Nancy Rodda

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Nancy Rodda, PA


813-331-5521813-331-5521 office

REALTOR, Pineywoods Realty

Remodeling and Home Design

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