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How To Stage a Home For Sale

Updated on December 17, 2009

Selling your home is one of the most stressful things you will ever do. The quicker you sell it the better. Here’s how to stage your home to make it the most attractive – and easiest to buy – for potential buyers. Not only will it help you sell your home faster, staging a home can get you a higher selling price as well.

Making The Buyer’s Decision Easy

The main thing you need to do in order to sell your home is make it easy for the buyer to picture himself living there. As the realtors say, once they start placing furniture the deal is in the bag. So how do you do that? You take yourself out of the home. Even if your home is exquisitely decorated, you still need to take most your personality out of it. Because you don’t know who the buyer is. They may love modern and your gorgeous southern charm will turn them off. 

Step 1: Pare Down Furniture and Decor

You want to rearrange the furnishings, pictures, accessories, etc. in the best possible manner to make the rooms look spacious and functional. Put excess furniture into storage. What may be essential to your family’s every day life is not important to buyers. Make rooms appear open and large by taking out furniture. A good rule of thumb to begin is to take at least one piece of furniture out of every room.

Step 2: Pack Away Personal Items

You must pack away your pictures and other personal items. Especially pictures. They are just something else to distract buyers from their task: buying your home! And you don’t want buyers to be distracted by that adorable knick knack you picked up on your trip to the beach last summer. You must unclutter at all costs. Go room by room banishing clutter. Aim for 100% clear counter tops. The toaster? That’s clutter too! Because your buyers aren’t going to be making toast on their showing. Stick it in the cupboard. Bookcases must be neat and closets are for clothing only.

Step 3: Paint and Light

A fresh coat of paint goes a long way. Stick to neutral colors and don’t forget the baseboards. You cannot make too much of lighting. It is extremely important because of the immediate, visceral impact it makes on a buyer. Make sure the rooms are well lit, even if the showing is during the day. Lamps are your friends. provide some nice ambient lighting with lamps and avoid bright glaring fluorescent overhead lights. Don’t forget the entry way – it’s your home’s first impression. And if you can, tidy up the laundry room and place a cozy little lamp in there too.

Step 4: Concentrate on Kitchens and Bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms sell homes so you need to be sure these are immaculate. They should be cleaner than they’ve ever been, and as I mentioned before – NOTHING on the counter tops. Except maybe some fresh flowers. Take all the notes and magnets off the fridge. Clean under the sinks and organize the pantry and cupboards.

Step 5: Create Curb Appeal

The buyers first impression is formed when they drive up to your home. Make sure it’s neat and tidy. Plant flowers, keep the lawn cut, and trim any shrubs. If anything needs repair or paint, do it! It will pay off.

Follow these five steps and you’ll have buyers fighting over your home! I know because I’ve done all these things, several times. I was lucky enough to have an amazing real estate agent my first time around who taught me all of the above. My husband and I have sold four homes, each in a matter of days – each for a profit!

Image Credit: Kendyl Young, Flickr


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  • profile image

    scheng1 8 years ago

    Pets are definitely out. If possible, release the pets to the yard before showing the house to potential buyers.

  • 49lart profile image

    49lart 8 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

    You have provided some good knowledge to vendors selling their home. Information like this makes my work as a photographer much easier.Thanks.

  • The Real Tomato profile image

    The Real Tomato 9 years ago

    This is great advice. It IS  stressful not just selling but taking away all the personal touches that made your home YOUR home. 

    Nice Job with this Lela!

  • Princessa profile image

    Wendy Iturrizaga 9 years ago from France

    Very useful advice. Before selling our last house we painted all the rooms in white and like you advice we took all the extra furniture away, only left beds and sofas; we even did away with courtains so the potential buyers could see the beautiful mountain and sea views from the windows as soon as they entered in the rooms.

    Another thing that works to put the buyer in a good mood is nice smells, light scented candles before they visit and/or open windows to let fresh air in the house, put some fresh flowers in strategic places and keep everything spotless.

    It worked for us, we sold the house quick and for a very good price.

  • Aya Katz profile image

    Aya Katz 9 years ago from The Ozarks

    Lela, this is very useful information. When I sold my first home -- or tried to -- I didn't know any of this, and it cost me! Great Hub!