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How To Stage Your Home To Sell

Updated on September 3, 2012
photo by audrey kirchner
photo by audrey kirchner

In these difficult economic times, if you're selling your home, you need every economic break you can get. 

There are professional home stagers who will help make your home the most presentable it can be, but often these folks are realtors who have a vested interest in selling the house (thus getting their fee from you).  They really don't care what your bottom line is when you walk away as long as they make a profit for themselves.

Why spend extra money fixing up a home that you are going to vacate?  There are pros and cons to this but let's investigate why it pays to stage your house. 

These tips are aimed at helping you save money by not enlisting the help of anyone and staging your home, i.e. making it the most presentable it can be. 

That will help you get it sold pronto and for a better price. That is usually the goal when selling a make the most you can on the let's see how staging your home can net you a better profit.


  • First impressions are gold.  When you look at your house, think of it outside the box.  Try and envision what it might look like to someone coming to see it for the first time.  You want that first impression to be "Wow!!" no matter if it's a 25-year-old house or a 5-year-old house.  It's also called "curb appeal".  If you don't get them at "hello" you've lost them....period.  The outside has to look clean, it has to look inviting and it has to look "up to date". 
  • What's he got that I don't got?  A good plan of attack is to research homes similar to yours that sold for the highest price.  Go look at them from the outside (and the inside if you can).  See what they have that you don't.  First and foremost, the outside has to sell itself because if they don't get past the front door, you already lost a potential buyer.
  • Cleanliness is next to godliness.  I sold a home that was 30 years old and only 800 square feet for the exact amount we were asking.  No hassles, no arguing, no throwing in my wardrobe, no nothing.  Why?  It was a matchbox house that 5 people (no kidding) could barely live in but it was immaculate.  The yard was immaculate as well.  Again, people do not want to have to think about how much they have to add to the price of the house to take care of things or fix up/redo things.
  • You decorate my life.  Your house has also got to be up  to date and seeable as a place that they could live in!  In the example above of my little dollhouse, every single room was  tricked out to the best of our ability.  That's not to say anything was done that was expensive!  It was all a matter of coordinating colors, simplicity of design and again, clean and sparkly.  Even the outside was like a doll house.  That counts!  People don't want to move in and have to clean someone else's dirt!  They also don't want to have to come in and rip everything up and start from scratch....unless they're buying a fixer-upper.
  • You light up my life.  Go through your home one room at a time.  Look at magazines (that are current) and see if your colors sizzle or make the room look dingy and dark.  If they do, lighten up!  Spending money on paint is the cheapest way to reap big bucks and sell your house......inside and out, by the way.  Giving a room a new paint job can mean the difference between "yuck" and  "I have to have this house".   Dramatic is great but cheery and warm is better.  Choose colors that are "in" and that also fit with your furnishings as well. 
  • Stark naked!  Actually in staging your house, less is way more.  Before you ever put your house on the market, go through your house ruthlessly....I mean it.  All that stuff that you think is so adorable and so memorable.....that's great.  But for right now, think like a seller.  Get rid of it by putting it in protective boxes (seriously, protect your treasures) but get it out of the viewing area......which happens to be every nook and cranny of your home.  People go around opening cupboards, popping open the stove (remember that thing about cleanliness).  If they see clutter, they really aren't getting the feel of your home.  Even if you have to store some of your precious stuff during the trying-to-sell period, it will actually give people a better perspective on your house.  "My, what HUGE rooms!"  It also will give them more to work with rather than trying to visualize "their stuff" instead of "your stuff"....the old George Carlin routine.
  • Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.  You basically want rooms to be as open and light as humanly possible.  People do not like dark homes because they feel like they're in a cave.  Okay, maybe some people like caves but for the most part, no.  Take down blinds (make sure the windows are perfectly clean), open drapes and let the sun shine in. This goes again to making your house look light and airy, a place where someone would want to relax and enjoy life.  If you have too many trees outside that are creating darkness, think about trimming some of them away.  Unless they're providing shade, too many trees can make a house look dingy and dirty even in the light of day!
  • Quick fix.  It may not even be a quick fix but can't expect someone to be really interested in your home if things are broken, not functioning properly or "look bad".  It just won't sell your house.  Explanations like "I was going to fix it" don't carry a lot of weight and most folks are thinking "So why didn't you?"  If you can fix anything yourself, make sure it's up to snuff (guaranteed........because it will show up on a home inspection).  Ideally, you should do it before you put your house on the market.  If you can't fix it and the expertise is outside your skill set, have someone do it for you. 
  • Tap the vein.  If you have friends and family that will help you, enlist them to help you spruce up, redecorate, fix and replace!  Ask them to borrow things like furniture or accessories to make your house look the best it can!  You'd do the same for them right......and you will!  It takes a community and all that.  Adding borrowed pieces of furniture that make the rooms look bigger, more modern, better coordinated, or just homey and warm can do wonders for the wow factor.  Borrow pictures from local colleges or other places that lend out art works.  Get creative and go to Michaels or other craft stores and add little touches like silk flowers....or even pick flowers from your garden and put them on your dining table.  Anything that you can do to make your house look brighter, warmer, and bigger is going to give you a step up on selling your home over the neighbor's.
  • Comfort food.  This is an odd thing to add but I'm still convinced that the day I sold our house, it was about my cooking!  My husband had gone on to the coast before me and late afternoon, our realtor called to tell me someone was dropping by.  I dashed out the door to walk my 3 kids around the block.  But I'd just popped my roasted chicken out of the oven and it was sitting on the counter.  The smells in the house were incredible.  The only thing missing was an apple pie!  The house was immaculate, the table was set and then the comfort food aroma.  I don't think they had a chance!  I think they were caught in the aroma warp.  The house really was not that great a deal since it was a cracker box!

How to Sell Your Home by Staging It

In short, there are a bunch of ways that you can save money on staging your own home. 

Why pay someone when chances are you're not going to get what you should out of your house when and if you do sell it? 

Or why let a realtor talk you into things that perhaps you don't need to know by figuring these things out yourself and again, saving money but also probably increasing the price you can get for your home?

The houses that sell easiest and quickest are the "move right in" homes.......except for people who are experts at buying a slightly damaged house and want to come in, revamp it and then flip it/sell it.  Or they just want to buy it for a song, live in it and then fix it up and move on.

If you have a quality home that you want to sell, doing some of the basic stuff yourself (which really costs next to nothing), you've just cut out the middle man and bumped your house from passable to awesome. 

There are many other things you can do to your home that are more expensive to stage it such as putting in marble counters, new cupboards, new floors, etc. but in this economy, you have to weigh how much would you actually get back OUT of all that money when it sells. 

It makes more sense to me to try and keep your house up to par with houses that are comparable in the area and then make double sure they're competitive at the time you sell.  Why spend thousands of dollars on staging your home if you aren't guaranteed (which you're not because everyone wants a deal now) to get it back....or at least some of it?

If you have more home staging ideas, please honor me by adding to the hub and including your suggestions in the comments section below!

Wishing you every success in selling your home!


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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Hanna~!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      You really gone through thoroughly.


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