How To Stage an Empty House
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There are lots of things that you can do to try to speed up the sale of your home, including hiring a great real estate agent, going on the market at the right time, and getting professional photos taken for your listing. Beyond the basics though, there are steps you can—and should—take to reel in potential buyers, and home staging is one of them. But what if your timing and budget mean that you have to stage a home without furniture? Don’t worry, you’re not out of luck.

Staging an empty house is just as important as staging a fully furnished one. And in some ways, it might even be a bit easier to do, since there’s no need to depersonalize the space or find somewhere to hide any clutter. The goal when you stage a home without furniture is to highlight those features that you do have, using strategic touches throughout to show buyers the true possibilities of the property. Here are some tips on how to do it right so that you get more interest in your home and, hopefully, a faster sale.

Why you need to stage a home

Furniture or not, staging a home is an essential part of selling.

From the moment that a would-be buyer walks into a property, you want them to be able to see the potential in the space and be able to visualize making it their own. Staging is key for making this happen, with 82% of buyers’ agents reporting that home staging makes it easier for their clients to view a property as a possible future home. Sellers’ agents note similar benefits, and 23% say that staging also results in an increase of 1% to 5% on the offer amount versus homes that aren’t staged.

No one wants to see their home linger on the market. By making the effort to stage, you’re ensuring that you do your part to facilitate more interest and get more people in the front door. You’re also making it so that buyers can get as clear of an idea as possible about all of the things a home has to offer. If a quicker, more profitable sale is the objective, then staging is almost certainly going to be a necessity in making it happen.

How To Stage an Empty House Without Furniture: 6 tips

We’ve covered why you should stage your home before selling it, so now let’s turn to how.

It’s expensive to stage a home from scratch. The cost to stage a home ranges from about $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, followed by anywhere from $2,000 to $2,400 per month, sometimes with a three-month minimum payment regardless of how quickly you sell. But fortunately, a lack of furniture doesn’t mean that you’re going to have to shell out thousands of dollars or more on rentals.

Staging a home without furniture is an opportunity to let other qualities of the space shine. You may still need to bring in some pieces, but you can avoid the huge effort—and the huge associated cost—that staging a vacant home entails. What you do spend will be comparable to what you’d want to spend anyway to get a home ready to go on the market, and should pay off later on when you get that first attractive offer.

Here’s how and what you should prioritize when you stage a home without furniture, plus helpful tricks for stretching your efforts further and making a bigger impact with fewer items on hand.

Tip #1: Focus on the rooms where it really matters

Don’t stress yourself out trying to make every single room look as perfect as possible. When you’re working with limited resources, you want to set your sights on the spaces that buyers are most likely to care about—and that’s the living room, the master bedroom, and the kitchen, according to the National Association of Realtor’s “2021 Profile of Home Staging” report.

You’ll still want to do some general touch-ups in other rooms so that they look their best, but that’s it. By putting all of your attention into these three key spaces, you greatly reduce the amount of work that’s required to stage your home and free up any available budget that you do have to go where it actually counts.

Tip #2: Paint and do quick fixes

Speaking of general touch-ups, staging an empty home makes it all the more crucial that the details are on point. Remember, you want buyers to be able to see themselves living in the property. And vacant rooms that are also painted bright colors and have visible cosmetic issues are going to make it all the more difficult for them to do that.

Before having your listing photos taken, paint your rooms a neutral color (whites, greige, light gray, light beige, and sage are all good choices) and take care of any cosmetic fixes that need to be done, such as repairing cracks or holes in the walls. These are all simple DIYs that can have a huge impact on the look and feel of your space, so they’re worth putting in the time for.

Tip #3: Pay attention to curb appeal

Curb appeal is important for selling regardless of a home’s interior qualities. A charming and welcoming home exterior can offset a lack of character on the interior, and it can also be quicker to achieve. Things that you’ll want to focus on include your landscaping, the quality and color of your front door and exterior paint or siding, and your lighting design. Done well, curb appeal should be enough to get people out to your home, and from there it’s just a matter of showing off the potential of the interior space.

Tip #4: Bring in décor and accessories

You don’t need furniture to decorate. Thoughtful, well-placed touches like artwork, window treatments, flower arrangements, and light fixtures can greatly brighten up your home and bring in a touch of personality.

Try to stick with one style, and make sure that any pieces you display are high-quality since they’re going to be spotted. (Note that high-quality doesn’t have to mean expensive. Even mass-produced items from stores like Target and Wayfair can look pricier than they are, and antique stores are also a great place to look.)

Tip #5: Use renderings for your listing photos

The listing is the first impression that a would-be buyer will get of your home, so use it to plant the seed of what’s possible. Renderings can be used to show how each room could look with furniture and a full-staging, and you can even include a couple of different styles to appeal to a broader pool of home shoppers.

If you have the time and inclination, use free room design software tools to do the renderings yourself. You could also pay a professional to do it (your real estate agent should be able to recommend someone) at a cost of around $250 per room. If you go the latter route, only have renderings done for those aforementioned key rooms—the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen—to keep costs down.

Tip #6: Think of other ways to stand out

There are a few extra touches that you can apply to make your home memorable without any furniture. Put out grab-and-go snacks and water bottles for showings, for example, or if your home has an interesting history, print brochures that explain all of the details. Other small but noticeably positive things that you can do include bringing in warmth by having all of the lights on in the house for showings and turning on the fireplace, if you have one.

Other recommended staging task

Furniture or not, there are some staging tasks that every single home seller should be doing. Don’t neglect any of these if you want your home to have the most appeal on the market:

    • Do a deep clean. All homes for sale—and especially empty ones—benefit from a deep cleaning before listing. Do it yourself, or hire a professional cleaning service to come in and get the job done for you.
    • Tackle small repairs. We mentioned cracks and holes in the wall already, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg in terms of repairs you should make before listing. Other repairs that should be done include fixing broken plumbing, re-grouting or caulking if needed, and fixing squeaky doors and cabinets.
    • Get rid of odors. How your home smells matters almost as much as how it looks. Shampoo carpets and open up windows to let the fresh air flow and remove any odors that might be lingering.

Your real estate agent should be very helpful in providing you with tools and best practices for how to stage a home without furniture. If you can, start working with someone a couple of months out from when you plan to list so that you have time to take care of painting, repairs, and other items on your staging to-do list.




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