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Showtime for Home Sellers: Make Your House Shine with Staging

Updated on January 31, 2012

© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.

If you need to sell your home in today’s tough housing market, you need to distinguish it from the dozen others nearby that are also on the market. Staging can make your house look bigger and better through some carefully chosen decorations, upgrades and repairs. You can spend thousands of dollars hiring professional stagers. Or you can follow these tips to stage your home at little-to-no cost.

Visit a model home.

If you don’t keep up with decorating trends, you may not realize that brass fixtures and pink carpet are no longer in vogue. A fun way to educate yourself is to visit model homes. Make note of the colors of the walls and carpets, the patterns in the window coverings and bed sheets, the size and style of furniture, and how rooms are arranged. The closer that you can get to duplicating these effects in your own home, then the more modern and appealing your offering will become.

Remove all unnecessary furniture.

One of the main reasons that people buy a house is because their old abodes no longer lack the space for their growing families. You can make your rooms look bigger by removing most of the furniture. For example, a bedroom crammed with a bed, dresser, two nightstands, armoire, desk and office chair looks cramped. Leaving only a bed and the nightstand opens up the area.

If you cannot comfortably walk through a room or around its major pieces, then it contains too much furniture. But do not leave room empty. They will look smaller and buyers need some furniture to know what a room is for. If you don’t have a friend or relative who can store the goods that you remove, rent space in a storage facility to temporarily keep your extra stuff.

Declutter and organize.

Your kids’ toys on the floor, the papers scattered on your desk and the Christmas decor stuffed in your closets tell potential buyers that your home does not have enough storage. Take all these extra items and keep them in your rented space. You want your built-in shelves, kitchen cabinets and bedroom closets to look almost empty. Then organize the remaining items neatly so they have enough breathing room around them.

Remove the “you” from your house.

You want potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your house. They can’t do that if you keeping popping up in the form of personal pictures, collections and hobby decorations. Remove your family photos, sports trophies, Elvis plate collections or anything else that is personal. Stick to neutral artwork and plants to decorate your rooms.

Clean behind the obvious.

Buyers want to see the surface and not the dirt, so be sure to clean the tops of doorframes, inside the fridge or behind bookshelves. Buyers like to run their fingers in these inaccessible spaces just to see what kind of housekeeper you are. Wash all windows and screens so the sunlight shines in and brightens all the spaces.

Paint to neutralize.

If your room is painted in bizarre or dark colors, or contains dated wallpaper, the cheapest way to spruce it up is to paint it. Remove the wallpaper first and patch up any halls or cracks. If the underlying color is strong and dark, you may need to apply primer first, or the previous color will show through. Then use a light, neutral color to cover the walls. If you have time and money, using a contrasting color on window and door trim adds a decorator touch.

Fix all problems.

Repair any obvious problems such as leaky faucets, missing closet doors or non-working light switches. If you think you don’t have the money to make repairs, be prepared for buyers to ask for discounts on the sales price to cover any problems they have to fix up. They tend to overestimate the cost of repairs, so do as many of these fixes as you can beforehand.

Target your market.

If you don’t know who the target market is for your property, ask you realtor. Then decorate the rooms to appeal to that market. For example, your spare room might become a nursery for a young family, an office for a singles, a kid’s room for an established family or a guest room for a retired couple. Include spaces that are useful to your potential buyer, regardless of what you use them for. For example, an empty corner in your family room might become a study area for a family with school kids, while that same area turns into a bar for single professionals.


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    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 

      5 years ago from East Coast

      There are always stubborn people who refuse to listen the first time or two these things are mentioned. But when their homes languish they have no choice. I always cringe when I see brass fixtures, pink carpets, or date appliances. These are very useful tips.

    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Efficient Admin 

      5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Very useful tips. I never thought about it before but I guess cleaning the floor boards behind the sofa would count too (you never know, someone might look back there). Great hub, thanks for sharing.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very useful ideas Alocsin. I like your tip of reoving the 'you' from the house. Very good tip.

      Voted up, useful.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 

      5 years ago from USA

      These are all wonderful tips regarding staging, especially about DE-personalizing the home. It is the first advice I give sellers because, when the personal items are left out, buyers tend to see the seller's stuff rather than seeing the house and what the house has to offer. They look at the pictures on the walls and try to assess who the seller is rather than looking at the room to see how the room might serve the buyer's needs. Great hub worth sharing, especially now that there is so much competition in the real estate sales arena.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I love watching HGTV too, Peggy, and they've taught me a lot about home staging.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      This is great advice. I have learned these same tactics by watching HGTV where they stage homes for sale. The before and after staging pictures are dramatic and mostly it is the decluttering and removing personal items as well as too much in the way of furnishings that makes a big difference as well stated in this hub article. Voted up, useful and sharing.

    • alocsin profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Wow, that is great validation for the effectiveness of staging. Thanks for sharing that.

    • SMD2012 profile image

      Sally Hayes 

      6 years ago

      Yes, yes and yes! We did all of those things when we put our home on the market 4 years ago. It sold above the asking with multiple offers in less than 36 hours after the first agents open house. It is so worth it to do all those things. It was the best DIY project my husband and I ever worked on together.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      This is such useful advice, especially in a market that favors buyers over sellers.

      When watching the staging programs on TV, I've often wondered if home sellers ever change their mind about selling after they see their home through new -- uncluttered -- eyes.

      Thanks for SHARING.

    • brianlokker profile image

      Brian Lokker 

      6 years ago from Bethesda, Maryland

      Excellent hub with very practical advice. We are in the process of doing this now, as we are selling the house in which we've lived for almost 20 years to move to another state. In a large home it can be a lot of work and take some time, but it's definitely worth the effort and the cost. (Or at least we're hoping it is!) On the other end, where we are looking to buy, we find that our reactions to well-staged homes are much more positive than to those that haven't been staged. But in the meantime, as we prepare to put our house on the market, it's tough to live without that Elvis plate collection! :)

    • Green Lotus profile image


      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      This is so true, especially the removing the “you” from your house. As a partner in an interior design company who has endured looking at homes for sale with much horror I can totally relate to this article. Nicely done!

    • mary-deo profile image


      6 years ago from Caloocan City, University Hills

      Home staging really an effective process in selling your property fast, as there are also several benefits that could be gained as this activity is taken into action. And that's what I write about in my recent hub. Thanks for sharing this informative hub!

    • b. Malin profile image

      b. Malin 

      6 years ago

      Hi Alocsin, What a Wonderful, Informative Hub on Staging your Home for Sale. I'm not selling, we just bought a Condo, and I feel a lot of these Ideas are very Helpful for us as well. I really Enjoyed watching all the Videos. Excellent Hub Write. You get My Vote UP!

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 

      6 years ago from California

      Oh Gosh alocsin! I am a stager. Have done it for years. I think I got the flair for it because of my theatre background. This is a great Hub and very informative. Perfect "Fix-Now" remedies to increase the value of your home. Voted up!



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