When it comes to selling your home, there are two schools of thought on how to make the best impression on potential buyers. You can do your best with the existing furniture, or you can bring in all new furnishings to give it a completely new look. “When we stage, we take a hybrid approach,” says Michelle Manske, co-founder of Henry & Higby, a professional organizing company in New York City. Here, Manske shares seven tips for how to stage your home to sell. If you’re ready to put your apartment on the market, follow this guidance!

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    1. Maximize the Natural Light in Your Home

    From a listing at 635 West 42nd Street #18M

    If you’re wondering how to stage your home to sell, arguably the top tip is to get your windows professionally cleaned. Letting in natural light during showings and open houses will work wonders to increase the appeal of your space.

    “This is the biggest selling point for people,” Manske says. “It helps with photography, too.”

    You’ll also want to remove any dark window treatments, and open the blinds as much as possible whenever the apartment is shown. Move any furniture or large objects that are blocking the light, too.

    2. Use Consistent Lighting Throughout the Home

    From a listing at 513 West 157th Street #2

    When potential buyers walk through a home, it can be jarring to experience different lighting types in different rooms. Natural sunlight helps with this, but to prevent the issue, be consistent with the type of lighting and wattage you use for every fixture in the home.

    “I always tell clients to pick one type of lightbulb and stick with it throughout,” Manske says.

    3. Stick to Neutral Paint Colors on Walls

    You might love your bright turquoise living room, but potential buyers may not. (From a listing at 325 Riverside Drive #2)

    When deciding how to stage your home to sell, remember: the goal is to present potential buyers with a blank canvas. Yes, that means your beloved barn-red accent wall may need to be painted over. (And you should also consider removing all wallpaper.) Your best bet is to return your walls to a clean, white shade of paint.

    “Buyers don’t want to have to spend extra money to paint the home once they buy it,” Manske says. “They want to feel like their move-in will be as close to turnkey as possible.”

    4. Incorporate Hotel-Like Accents

    From a listing at 11 Hoyt Street #5E

    When staging a room, try to think about what makes a hotel room appealing. The nicest hotel rooms are ones you want to spend lots of time in, right? Keep things simple and inviting. “This means white sheets and a white duvet cover on the bed, and crisp, white towels in the bathrooms,” Manske says. It also means your home shouldn’t just look good, but smell good too.

    5. Depersonalize Your Home

    Keep all spaces clean, comfortable, and uncluttered. (From a listing at 325 West 16th Street #3W)

    On a similar note, one big mistake you can make when it comes to home staging is leaving too many personal items out. These might include photographs, children’s artwork, and knickknacks. Help potential buyers see the space as their home, not yours.

    “People don’t want to look at photographs of someone else’s family,” Manske says. “And they don’t want to have to guess what a space looks like because there are too many collectibles cluttering it up. When we stage, we partially move things out, and then we declutter. For the entire time the property is on the market, the items we’ve moved out remain in short-term storage.”

    6. Consider Simple, Strategic Upgrades

    From a listing at 165 Christopher Street #1F

    Before you commit to a major redo of your kitchen or bathroom, consider making some simple upgrades first. Little things can make a big difference. An easy example is replacing tired cabinet hardware, such as pulls and knobs, with modern alternatives. You may also want to upgrade any outdated fixtures, such as faucets and ceiling lights.

    “These are so easy to swap out, and new ones can really upgrade a space and make it feel more contemporary,” Manske says. “Look on Etsy. And Home Depot has a great line of high-end-looking hardware to choose from.”

    7. Organize Your Closets

    You can bet people will be peeking inside! (From a listing at 101 West 12th Street #18LM)

    When staging your home to sell, don’t forget to give your closets a look. The fact is, anyone coming through your home for an open house will absolutely open up those closet doors! Not because they’re snooping, but because they want to see what kind of storage space there is. Overstuffed closets may make a buyer think the home doesn’t have enough.

    “If your closets are disorganized, a potential buyer may not be able to see how much storage you actually have,” Manske says. “You want to showcase your entire home in the best possible way. And that includes your closet space.”

    Thinking About Selling?

    Staging your home to sell starts with having the right team. A great listing agent can offer you their expertise, and they can refer you to professionals like the one featured in this article. Even better, agents in StreetEasy’s Experts Network will leverage their experience selling homes similar to yours and help you stage for success. Contact our Concierge to be matched with the best StreetEasy Expert agent for your particular needs, and explore our various tools for sellers to enter your journey with confidence.

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