As a house flipper, you put in a lot of hard work updating your property. You’ve patched the holes, cleaned the grime, updated fixtures, and painted everything. You’ve made some great upgrades to your fix and flip property and now it’s time to list. Staging may seem like an added expense and a time-consuming task, but the right staging can really showcase the potential of your property or hide any lingering imperfections.

In fact, staging your flip can increase your ROI by over ten percent, according to the National Association of Realtors.

When homebuyers search for properties, they want to be able to imagine themselves making your property their home, but not all buyers have the ability to see past an empty room. Sometimes you have to help them visualize life in the house.

It’s true. Unstaged homes, on average, spend 184 days on the market while staged homes sell in about 23 days according to a study by the Real Estate Staging Association.

There’s more good news – you don’t have to break the bank decorating with the most expensive furniture, area rugs, and wall hangings. Here are some tips that can help keep your budget down and sell your fix and flip property quickly.

Staging Tip 1: Light up the space.

If your property doesn’t have a whole lot of natural light, you’ll need artificial lighting with lamps and ceiling lights to show off all the work you’ve done. Using several well-placed lamps generally creates more pleasing lighting that overhead lamps, so be sure to have working lamps throughout the house (use LED bulbs to save on electricity in case someone forgets to turn them off).

Overall, as long as you avoid fluorescents, fresh, soft lighting will help improve the overall aesthetic of your property. The vast majority of homeowners prefer an inviting, bright and airy feel over a dark, gloomy home. The improved lighting can make your property feel bigger, especially in the bathrooms.

Staging Tip 2: Tidy up.

Now that you have the lighting set, do a walkthrough to make sure everything clean and tidy. Homebuyers can be put off by dirty rags on the counter, leftover tools on the deck, dust, fingerprints and smudges. They want to see a house that is move-in ready, not one that will require a deep cleaning before moving in.

Note: Although you and your crew are definitely capable of cleaning your fix and flip property, you may want to consider hiring a local professional. That way, you can focus on other tasks, and feel confident the home will be cleaned thoroughly. Also, don’t forget to periodically re-clean the house. Dirt will accumulate as showings occur and you want to keep the house fresh and clean for everyone to see.

Staging Tip 3: Decide which rooms you want to stage.

Here’s a pro tip our team has learned over the years: you don’t have to stage every room. Instead, ask yourself these questions to decide which rooms to stage:

  • What is the first impression you’re trying to make when a potential buyer walks in the front door?
  • Are there any features you want to accentuate?
  • What are the selling points?
  • Where might you hear objections?
  • Are there awkward or interesting spaces on the floor plan? This is your opportunity to show how the space can be used.

Here’s the bottom line – use staging to guide buyers through the house. You want to draw their eyes to the details you want them to see the most – and away from what you don’t want them to see. Another thing to consider when staging a property is who your clientele is. Are your potential buyers mostly families? Are they older or younger? What would they want to see in that space?

Staging Tip 4: Rent or lease your furniture.

If you are concerned about adding furnishings to your budget, consider renting or leasing furniture from a local established company. Many flippers do this because they simply don’t have space to store extra furniture between projects. Plus, every house and neighborhood are different. Staging your investment property with a furniture style that’s complementary can really pay off and help sell the house. Then, when the property sells, you can return whatever you used and pick out different furniture for your next project.

Note: Use the expertise of the company you are renting from, whether it’s a staging company or a furniture store. Those experts will know how to create a living room set for your aesthetic so you can be confident it will all match.

Staging Tip 5: Don’t over decorate.

Always remember to keep it simple. Whether you’re picking out furniture, wall hangings or table ornaments, a few well-placed pieces can make a room feel homey without appearing cluttered. Putting a little air between pieces can give the illusion of space, and leave a little room for the buyers to use their imaginations filling in the gaps with their own pieces. Pulling furniture away from the wall is a great trick to protect your fresh paint job and create the illusion of space.

Staging Tip 6: Stay away from flashy decorations.

It’s also important to keep the style simple. Over-decorating with bold colors, crazy patterns and lots of little knickknacks can distract from all of the hard work you’ve put into the house. Instead, stick with neutrals and complementary pieces to the style of the home. Speaking of flashy, do your best to keep scents down to a minimum. Strong scents can lead homebuyers to think you are trying to hide something and even deter them from wanting to live there.

Staging Tip 7: Don’t forget the outside.

If you are marketing that your property has an amazing yard, luxurious patio or relaxing deck, you should show it. Make sure the yard stays manicured and you’ve created an outdoor living area that truly showcases the space. Typically, outdoor areas are the last stop on the home tour so really end the showing with a bang. Just like indoors, homebuyers may not have the detailed imagination you do (as a real estate professional) to envision the possibilities of the space.

Note: It’s isn’t always necessary to hire a landscaping company, but should definitely be a consideration, especially if the surrounding houses have completely landscaped yards and gardens. You want your property to stand out.

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