Home Selling Guides

Stage Your Home Like a Pro


Jim Geymont on 01 Aug 2019

When you’re putting your home on the market, you want potential buyers to see it looking its best, so they can imagine themselves living there. Staging helps showcase your home’s best assets and signals to buyers that your home is well-maintained. With such a large financial transaction at stake, it makes sense to put some effort into staging, which can help you get top dollar and reduce your days on the market.

Despite the obvious advantages, not all sellers will go to the trouble of tidying up, let alone staging. That means staging can set your home apart from others on the market.

Staging does not have to be costly and your efforts should appeal to the widest range of buyers. Here are some tips:

1. Begin by cleaning and repairing

No amount of staging is going to mask a dirty house, so begin by giving your entire home a deep clean, including floors and windows. Buyers do not want to see leftover cereal stuck to your countertops or dust bunnies in the corners. Everything should look and smell fresh and clean. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company to ensure a thorough job. If walls are smudged, covered in outdated wood paneling, or painted dark or bright colors, invest in some neutral paint which will freshen up the entire home.

This is also the time to go through your entire house and repair any doors or drawers that stick, squeak or improperly close. Fix faucets and toilet tanks that drip and run, ensure drains are clear, and replace any cracked or mismatched switch plates or outlet covers. Replace dim or burned out light bulbs.

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2. Maximize your kitchen’s appeal

Now that you’ve got a clean kitchen, clear off your countertops and tables, including small appliances, cookbooks, electronics and other clutter. The same goes for the refrigerator–magnets, notes and children’s artwork must all go. Limit yourself to one decorative item per surface, such as a bowl of fruit or vase of fresh flowers. You can begin packing items as you de-clutter and store packed moving boxes neatly along a garage wall. Avoid hiding items away in cabinets or closets because your home will look as though it doesn’t have enough storage.

Limit yourself to one set of matching dishes, glassware and flatware so cabinets and drawers appear more roomy. The same goes for cookware. Organize your pantry and get rid of unnecessary items so that it looks more spacious. Finally, be sure the trash can is empty for showings.

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3. Help buyers feel at home

It is difficult for buyers to imagine themselves living in your home if your living room is full of your family photos and collectables, so pack these items now. Place just one or two high-quality decorative items or a vase of fresh flowers on furniture surfaces. Replacing family photos with a few pieces of wall art can break up empty expanses.

Consider removing some furniture pieces and placing them in storage to open up space. If your sofa is worn, buy a high-quality slipcover in neutral tone, then use accent pillows or a throw blanket to add color and warmth. Finally, be sure there is adequate lighting, adding lamps to brighten up darker areas.

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4. De-personalize bedrooms

Your master bedroom should be gender neutral, so replace overly feminine or masculine linens and decor. As you did with the living room, pack away family photos and collectibles. Be sure nightstand surfaces are cleared off and limit dresser tops to one decorative item or vase of flowers. For all bedrooms, leave only this season’s clothing in closets to make them appear roomier. Pack a portion of children’s electronics, stuffed animals and toys, ensuring what remains isneatly stored or displayed. Buyers are usually more forgiving when it comes to kids’ bedrooms, but clutter will make spaces seem smaller.

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5. Spruce up the exterior

A buyer’s first impression of your home will be the exterior, so make sure that sidewalks, driveway and steps are clean and clear of debris. One of the easiest and least expensive ways to spruce up your home’s exterior is to put down some fresh mulch in landscaped areas. Trim back any overgrown trees or bushes, and be sure the house number is visible. Mow the lawn, weed the landscaping and plant fresh flowers to present an inviting entry.

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