Staging Home To Sell

Great home staging. We recommended removing the items on the coffee table, but other than that... our seller did a great job in this room before we even arrived for our consultation!

Staging home to sell is one of the most searched phrases of home owners thinking of selling. Why? Sellers know instinctively that even though they made their home perfect for them, it may not be perfect for finding a buyer. Staging a home can be as simple as FREE with a little weekend warrior effort... or it can involve staging home interior design elements where furniture and accessories are brought in to accentuate and glamorize the property. MOST homes only need to follow the simple, free staging home to sell steps we outline at the bottom of this post.

Sellers and real estate agents see homes for sale very differently. As a seller, you look around and see all the improvements you've made, you may be able visualize lots of family and friend memories, you see the property you customized to suit your needs and tastes, and (hopefully) made you very happy.

The cold reality is that once a seller decides to sell the property, it's important to turn off the emotional connection and treat the sale as a business. Why? If the goal is to sell for the most money possible, so that you can buy a new place or travel or start a new business... you'll want to get the most money possible out of your sale. The emotional connection will hold that goal back.

Real estate agents, on the other hand, are all business. They know what buyers look for and what they don't like. They don't see the red walls you've painted, the garden gnomes and flat screen TVs in every room in the same way as you do. For this reason, a serious seller should always have an experienced real estate agent meet with them at the home for an honest assessment of the condition, and to get home staging tips. Experienced real estate agents that know what they are doing will do this for free and without obligation. Why? They know the market and what their buyers are looking for, and will be glad to give you advice on how to make your home show the best it possibly can, and sell successfully.

The goal?

Staging home to sell...

- for the most money

- to the most qualified buyer

- in the shortest amount of time.


(the goal of most real estate agents in helping their sellers)

Very effective home staging: bed, lamp and two small wall hangings to tie in a little color to one neutral wall. No "stuff" or personal items anywhere in sight. Excellent.

  1. Purge "Stuff":
    You've seen the DIY weekend warrior shows. A professional organizer comes in and makes you sort through clothing, magazines, accessories, artwork, files, linens, books etc, using a "keep, throw away and donate" pile system. This really works! Especially when you remember that all those extra clothes you haven't worn in over two years, all the extra sheets and blankets that have sat folded in the closets... are truly needed by people less fortunate. If you haven't used something in over two years (one year if you're super serious about the purge)... DONATE IT. You'll feel better, you'll have less stuff to move, and you'll feel more free with less stuff. It's a FACT. This also applies to kitchen appliances and utensils. [our favorite place to donate benefits Vietnam Veterans of America and military families, and picks up for free in most major cities usually within only one business day's request, and you can request pickup on their website super easily]

    Another thing to purge is the kitchen cabinet... go through all of your spices and throw out the old ones (you WILL have them, probably a lot!). Throw out paper products and ketchup packets you haven't used but thought you might one day. NO NEED. DONATE or THROW OUT. Go through every room and use this system. Downsize.

    TIP: IF you have a hard time getting rid of things of  sentimental significance, consider taking a photo of them and keeping that instead. Write the memories you have about that object on the back of the photo. Your written memories with the photo of the object will be just as (or even more) important one day.

  2. Box Up:
    For accessories, items, books, and clothing not needed in the next few months but that you definitely want to keep... BOX IT UP! It's ABSOLUTELY okay to have some boxes laying around in the corners of the home while you're trying to sell. It is actually a positive, as potential buyers looking at your home will see the boxes and know you are a serious seller. It gives the impression you are on your way out, which can be helpful especially if your competition are properties owner/tenant occupied and it doesn't look like anyone is going anywhere anytime soon. Buyers anxious to buy will be more enthusiastic and lean towards the homes that are vacant already, or that look like they soon will be. Boxes can be good! (just not tooooo many of them!!)

  3. Rearrange the furniture:
    A big part of home staging is incorporating the most strategic, inviting floorplan for each room possible. This means allowing for comfortable foot traffic and walking space from room to room, allowing light to shine unobstructed through windows, placing sofas and chairs in the most inviting feng shui arrangement possible. Remove small coffee tables when possible, they inevitably attract clutter and once removed, will add additional space to the room. Remove plant stands. Remove small book shelves. Open the rooms up a bit by removing smaller pieces of furniture and chairs.

  4. Accessorize:
    Wall art is good... but not personal. Take down ALL family photos, all refrigerator magnets, awards, certificates, framed personal things of any kind. Remove photos from tables and night stands. Personal things should all be boxed up. Remember... selling a home is a BUSINESS, and a seller should detach from the personal.

    Wall art is good, but limit it to 1-2 per room, and only on one wall of the four (two at most). Do NOT have things hanging on every wall! The more WALL you show, the better. The only reason to keep up wall art is if it accentuates color, or a specific space or high ceiling, or similar positive attribute. Otherwise, if it doesn't have a reason to be there, take it down.

    Floral arrangements and decorative soy candles are an inexpensive and HIGHLY EFFECTIVE when staging a home to sell. Why? The sense of smell is VERY powerful and influential. When used for home selling, it creates additional strength in how a prospective buyer perceives the property. If the buyer walks and the entry way smells like flowers or a beach, or a clean green citrus-y smell... their immediate perception will be that the house is super clean and fresh and airy. THAT is what you want. Conversely, if they walk in and the first thing they smell is wet dog or musty air, they will immediately be turned off OR they will think there's lot of work that is needed, and the offering price will be lower OR they will put your property lower down on their list of favorites than you want to be. Every room should smell clean and fresh. Since you live in the house, you won't smell the smells. Leave, and come back hours later and you'll have an easier time identifying what your prospective buyers will smell. Or have a neutral friend come in and give an honest assessment of how each room smells.



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