6 Open House Hacks for Sellers on a Budget

Your home needs to look its best for the open house, but after living in the same space for years, it’s hard to imagine your house looking any different than it does right now. You could hire a professional home stager to reinvent your house from an outsider’s perspective, but with staging costs being considerable, it may cost more than you want to spend. If you need help staging your home but don’t have a lot of time or money to spare, these home staging hacks are for you!

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Sneak a peek at other homes for sale.

When you have no idea where to start with staging, it’s helpful to take a look at what other sellers are doing. Spend a weekend or two attending open houses and taking note of what works and what doesn’t. Then, peruse online listings of homes in your area and save pictures of the staging styles you like. Think of it as your own personal Pinterest board for home staging!

Remove clutter.

Removing clutter should be a major priority. When attending open houses, one thing, in particular, should stand out: how minimal well-staged homes are. That’s because clutter is distracting, whereas rooms with plenty of open space look bigger, brighter, and cleaner. That doesn’t mean you should empty out your home, however — while cluttered homes are hard to sell, so are vacant ones. Instead, declutter cabinets, closets, shelves, and walls, and pare down furnishings to a few coordinated pieces. Then, put the excess in a storage unit. You can keep it there until you move or rent storage a week or two until the open house is over.

If you’ve got a ton of paper records cluttering your home, now’s a good time to take steps to digitize these documents. Instead of having separate files, you can combine PDFs into one file using a combiner tool. This way, all your records are easily accessible whenever you need them.

Stage vignettes with cheap accessories.

A classic novel and a throw blanket by the fireplace, color-coordinated place settings, and a cheery floral arrangement in the dining room — these are the kinds of charming vignettes that sell a home. If you don’t own suitable accessories for staging vignettes, look to stores like Michaels, TJ Maxx, Target, and even secondhand stores for inexpensive pieces with mass appeal.

Trim up the front lawn.

Interior staging may be what sells a home, but curb appeal is what gets buyers in the front door. A few weeks before your open house, fix up the lawn, trim bushes and trees, and power wash driveways and walkways. Shortly before the event, do some last-minute lawn care including mowing, raking leaves, and tucking those unsightly trash cans somewhere they won’t be seen.

Make it light and bright.

This home staging hack costs nothing but has a big impact on your home’s appeal. Before the first guests arrive for your open house, open all of the curtains and turn on lights throughout the house, including outdoor lighting. A well-lit home looks inviting and spacious, but a dimly-lit one might scare interested buyers away. In addition to brightening things up, open the windows for a few minutes and empty the trash to give your home a fresh feel.

Pay for the opinion of a professional stager.

If you’re struggling to see your home as a blank slate, it may be worth hiring a professional stager. You don’t have to pay thousands, however. By paying for a consulting session with a home stager and then doing the work yourself, you can receive professional staging advice at a fraction of the cost. Whether you love home decorating or can’t distinguish eggshell from ecru, you can pull off these simple home staging hacks. If you need more advice about getting your home open-house ready, ask your realtor how you can put your home’s best foot forward. With a little time and elbow grease, you can take your home from looking lived-in to totally livable.