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Sell Your House Fast by Packaging It

Updated on October 19, 2012

Why Stage Your Home?

If you want to get the most money for your house in the least amount of time, you simply can't afford to ignore the way you present your house to potential buyers.

This brand new house boasted an attractive kitchen, but photos of it lack warmth. Existing homes offered for resale face similar challenges. Home staging lets sellers tune in to the kinds of emotions that make people write attractive offers and avoid the kind of emotions that drive them away. Read on to discover why staging is important, learn simple tips for preparing your home for sale, or to purchase selected items that can help you sell faster and for more money.

Why Staging Works

What makes a person choose one home over another? Hint: It's not about location, location, location. It's about emotion.

When a potential buyer believes they can have the lifestyle of their dreams in your home, your sale is practically in the bag. However, the lifestyle they're looking for probably isn't the lifestyle you're already living. To help them envision their ideal life, you'll have to take yourself out of the picture. That means your house must be attractive and inviting, but not contain a personality that is clearly yours.

Think for a moment about magazine spreads you might see in "Better Homes & Gardens" or the before and after shots from HGTV shows like "Decorate on a Dime." The finished rooms look perfect, and it's easy to imagine people feeling happy in them. The before shots? Not so much. They tend to have a disjointed, dirty, or cluttered appearance that might be fine for one family, but wouldn't have universal appeal.

Home staging lets you package your house for sale. It creates that universal appeal that allows buyers to mentally move themselves in as they tour your property.

Staged homes sell for 6-10% more than homes that aren't professionally staged, so hiring a home staging professional can pay for itself and put money in your pocket. Best of all, they can work with nearly any budget. However, if you are dedicated to doing it yourself, here are a few simple tips.

Important Basic Staging Steps

1. Remove clutter.

You want visitors to see your house, not your family photos. They aren't going to make on offer on things that hang on your walls or refrigerator. They aren't going to care what brand of coffeemaker you use. Above all, they certainly don't want to think about all the chores you use those cleaning supplies for!

You're planning to move, so start packing things you've been storing. Pack family photos, trophies, and other personal mementos. Clear counters, vanities, shelves, and tabletops of everything that's not needed daily, with the exception of decorative items that will create visual appeal. (Remember those magazine layouts?) While you're at it, find a way to keep cleaning supplies out of sight. Bedroom and hallway closets will look more spacious if you clear out clothing you won't need soon, stored boxes, and anything that looks disorganized.

Buyers will not see the house of their dreams when they see pantries that look like this one!

2. Create a focal point for each room.

Do you have a fireplace? A huge window? By drawing attention to the things that are likely to appeal to buyers, you move them one step closer to making that offer.

To ensure that it stands out, remove nearby objects that may compete for attention. An entertainment center could prevent your buyer from fully appreciating the value your fireplace could bring to their lives. If you absolutely cannot minimize a competing element, try situating it next to your focal point and adding a third element that unifies them. For example, placing that entertainment center beside the fireplace, and adding a tall, slender plant on the other side, may frame the fireplace so that buyers will notice it more than the furniture.

Click Photo to visit Seattle Staged to Sell
Click Photo to visit Seattle Staged to Sell

Be Creative, Be Cautious

Notice how Seattle Staged to Sell ( uses decluttering, furniture placement, and contrasting colors to encourage buyers to see this townhome's attractions: vibrant colors on the kitchen counter, but no appliances; seating and a single piece of art that make the wall column "pop" rather than a television set.

Go ahead and be creative about staging.

Use boldly colored items to create contrast, but avoid harsh colors for painting walls. Use healthy plants, attractive artwork, or interesting bric-a-brac, but don't go overboard. Arrange these items alone or in groups of three or five, except when you want to create an elegant, formal feel.

3. Get rid of bad smells and introduce good ones. Litter boxes, cigarettes, cigars, pipes, leaking toilets, unused sinks, chemicals, and closets can deter buyers. It's been said that "If they can smell it, you won't sell it." Eliminate sources of odors whenever possible. Otherwise, clean the offensive area daily. Use candles or room fresheners to create a pleasant atmosphere.

4. Bring the outdoors in. Remember that your goal is to create an environment that will appeal to the widest range of people. Elements that recreate the outdoors encourage them to recall fond memories. If you have a black thumb, consider using silk plants to brighten up a room.

Speaking of Outdoors...

Don't forget to stage your home's exterior while you're at it. Your curb appeal is the very first thing buyers see, and if it's unattractive they may decide not to tour your house at all!

4. Remove toys from the yard, or provide one area where they can be stored discreetly.

5. Landscaping should appear attractive. Trim trees, freshen bedding, and if necessary, add potted plants or patio furniture to create an inviting place to pass some time after work.

6. Take care of any deferred maintenance, like painting porch posts and window frames that have weathered. Power wash mildewed siding. Repair holes in window screens and replace any screens that are missing or damaged.

Locate a Professional Stager

These tips are very basic. Home staging professionals consider many additional elements not covered here. Their services can range from online consultations for specific problem areas to full services that pack, move, and store belongings while making your home ready for a fast, profitable sale. To locate a qualified professional in the U.S., Canada, or in one of several other countries, visit

Thank You

Thank you to everyone who has stopped and spent time learning more about preparing your home for sale. I wish you the best at getting a fast, profitable sale.

An extra thanks to Writer Janis and Susan52 for promotional considerations. :)

Guestbook Comments

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    • KathyBatesel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @WriterJanis2: Thank you! I've seen staging take a home that had been on the market over a year and produce a full price offer two weeks after the owner finally staged it. It's amazing to me how big a difference it can make.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Very helpful lens.

    • KathyBatesel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @davenjilli lm: I completely agree! I was a Realtor until just last year, too, and that was one of my frustrations - in a down market, it makes a HUGE difference!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 

      6 years ago

      Really good a former real estate agent a person who loves to follow real estate, I can't begin to tell you how much money people have left on the table by not doing some cheap basic things to make their place "buyable"

    • KathyBatesel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @SusanDeppner: In my house, that would be quite a tall order! The way most of us live in a house definitely isn't the way we want it to look when we sell. Hope to see tips from your successes, maybe?

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      6 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Excellent! I want my new home to look ready to sell all the time. Hopefully I can maintain my determination not to accumulate new clutter.

    • KathyBatesel profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @SecondHandJoe LM: Thanks, Joe!

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 

      6 years ago

      You've written a beautiful lens! Welcome to Squidoo!


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