Top 5 best home improvement projects for sellers. Home Staging is Number 2

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 11.52.33 AM


A new Zillow Digs Survey of Real Estate agents and Interior designers lists the top 5 most valuable home improvements for sellers.  It’s an American survey but until someone conducts an Australian survey (any takers?) it’s the best we’ve got.

Home Staging is listed at Number 2 but any good home stager would cover all 5 points in their home staging consultation

Here’s the list:

1. Curb Appeal: 

The first impression and therefore assumptions about the standard of the rest of the house are very different for the house on the left compared to the house on the right. But all we did was wash the paintwork then re-paint the trim and balustrade in a more modern colour and tidy up the garden. Instant curb appeal. This house sold the day it was listed in a difficult market.

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 10.46.03 AM

Source: Home Staging Brisbane Blog – Dream project, dream client

2. Staging

Home staging is simply the merchandising of a house to capture the hearts and offers of potential buyers so that a house gets sold quickly, for the best price and with the least stress. This quote from Barb Schwartz sums it up  “How you live in your home and how you need to prepare your house to sell are 2 different things”  For more info on the ‘how’ of home staging take a look at the 10 principles of staging your house to sell   The master bedroom below is a good example of how staging can work. The lilac walls were too personal, the heavy curtains and pine furniture too dated. Neutral colours and a subtle style appeal to a wider audience. 

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.25.35 PM

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.25.18 PM

Source: Home Staging Brisbane blog – “my house has been on the market for 5 years, can you help?”

3. Invest in small home improvements

When selling your house it’s all about return on investment.

“major renovations prior to sale usually will not equal a dollar for dollar return, and the time invested outweighs selling it faster”  

Zillow agent advisory Board memebr, Chris Speicher

Buyers seeing the yellow counter top below might think that this kitchen was dated and needed replacing. Spray painting the counter top white resulted in a brand new looking kitchen at a fraction of the price.

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 11.18.21 AM

Screen shot 2014-04-29 at 11.17.14 AM

4. De-clutter

As a stager I spend most of my time advising my clients what to keep in their house to highlight its features and what to pack away and store. I always tell my clients “buyers want to buy your house not your things”.  The before picture below is a very typical picture, a happy family environment full of toys but some good old fashioned de-cluttering shows the room better.

Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 1.26.16 PM

Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 1.20.49 PM

Source: Home Staging Brisbane blog – Family house sold in 2 days. Staging works

If you are de-cluttering and don’t know what to do with your stuff, take a look at “how to get rid of your clutter when you’re staging your house to sell”

5. Granite countertop and stainless steel appliances.

“Most buyers are still requesting granite countertops and stainless steel appliances” says Zillow agent advisory board member Bic DeCaro

I think you need to be careful here. Think about your house and its competition. If stone benches are the norm then it might be worth investing for saleability.  Before you rip your counter out take a look at companies such as granite transformations. They can skim your existing bench top with a thin layer of granite for a lot less than the price of new benchtop. Remember, it’s all about return on investment.

Do you think the Zillow survey accurately reflects the Australian market? What would you add to this list?

I’m Imogen Brown, a home stager based in the Western suburbs of Brisbane. If you would like some objective help and advice preparing your property to sell quickly, for the best price and with the least stress then give me a call on 0432994056 or contact me through my website 

One thought on “Top 5 best home improvement projects for sellers. Home Staging is Number 2

  1. Jax Beckett says:

    What a difference. Great job

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *