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Preparing & Staging Your Home to Sell

With some planning and effort, you can boost the curb appeal and the interior presentation of your home to lure potential buyers to an open house and get the best offers. Start with an honest survey of your home's interior and exterior to determine problem areas that need to be addressed before you put the home on the market, then work through staging tips before the open house.

Tackle these at least a month before listing, then keep these areas neat until you sell your home.

Create a welcoming entry You can't recreate that first impression potential buyers have of your home. But you can make sure it's a positive impression with a little curb appeal. Trim overgrown bushes and trees so the yard looks kept up. Repaint your porch or shutters if the paint is peeling. Put out a fresh welcome mat, add a pot of cheery flowers, sweep the porch and walkway, and do basic landscaping to make your home look welcoming and tidy on the first approach.

Wash the windows and ditch the heavy drapes Natural light is a top desired quality in a home, so make sure to show yours off. Remove heavy drapery from your windows. Have windows professionally cleaned or wash them yourself. Your home will instantly look great with just these simple tricks.

Repaint If your home is showing its age, it's amazing what a clean coat of paint can do. Have the walls and trim repainted white, so potential buyers can imagine the rooms in their favorite colors. At the very least, wash walls to remove dust, dirt, and stains.

Keep storage areas organized

Rooms may be de-cluttered, but your closets, garage or basement are brimming with stored stuff. Buyers will check these areas and may feel your home lacks adequate storage if they find a mess. Keep your storage areas tidy and organized to maintain that positive impression.

Dirty or outdated bathrooms

Moldy shower tiles and a shower curtain or door covered with soap scum can be an instant turn off. Scrub mold using a 1:1 mixture of bleach/water and tackle dirty shower curtains and doors with a solution of 1:10 muriatic acid/water. If your bathroom looks old, paint over the walls or the tile to update it.

Messy front yards

Many potential buyers will stake out your neighborhood before the big day. Clean your yard, trim your hedges, power wash your driveway, wash your exterior windows, repaint the porch and add some nice flowers to give your house curb appeal. If you have decks or porches, give these a thorough cleaning too.

Make Repairs

Make the necessary repairs and home improvements. Remember that noisy door you used to ignore? And what about that loose doorknob or even that dripping faucet? Now is the moment to have those little repairs done that you’ve been putting off. Also look at your home with an eye for safety. Fix any potential safety hazards, such as loose flagstone pavers in the yard, rotted wood on the deck or burnt-out light bulbs in the basement. You may have forgotten about these things, but buyers will look for them and interpret them as signs that the home needs work.

Tips for better home staging

De-clutter & Depersonalize the home

Go through rooms and box up books, knick-knacks, family photos and other items that don't see everyday use. Buyers like to imagine the home with their belongings and a house filled with items that don't fit their personal taste risks turning them off.

Deep clean everything

Hire a cleaning service or deep clean yourself. Scrub floors, wash walls, steam clean rugs and scour surfaces. When your home is gleaming, it's much more inviting and may fetch a better price. Don't forget to neaten closets, since buyers will want to see them.

Style your home for maximum appeal

Neutral tones in bedrooms maximize their appeal. Add fresh, matching linens to the bed and put away any gendered items. Style the dining room table and kitchen to look inviting with a few small pieces. Try a collection of bud vases on the dining room table or fill a kitchen fruit bowl with fresh fruit. It is not necessary to stage every room. Focus on the most crucial rooms for staging are the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen. Concentrate on those areas first, and then consider staging the additional rooms or bedrooms and bathrooms.

Address unattractive pieces and awkward areas

Show buyers what they can do with that corner nook, extra space under the stairs or outdated fireplace. Style awkward areas for a specific purpose, be it a reading room or children's' play area. Update outdated accent pieces with fresh paint or stain.

Keep your home neat

Once you've done all these things, you can list the house for sale. While it's on the market, you must maintain neatness and be prepared to show at all times. This extra attention to detail can be irritating, but rest assured that it will help your home sell quickly.

Outdoor Living

While curb appeal is very important, don't forget about the back yard. Make sure yard maintenance is done regularly. Sweep and power wash the patio or deck. A clean outdoor living space is very inviting. Add some pots with cheerful flowers. Prospective buyers should be able to comfortably walk around and picture themselves relaxing and entertaining there.

On the day of your open house, don't forget flowers or scented candles, which add a welcoming touch. An updated fact sheet that lists your home's assessed value and selling points can also positively influence buyers.

Whether you are trying to sell your home yourself or working with a realtor, these strategies will position your home to drive interest, sell quickly, and command top dollar.

Good luck selling your home!


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