Staging Your Home to Sell

Staging your home can be one of the most important things you do to sell it quickly for the highest price.  There are many aspects of staging and preparing your home for sale, some of the most important deliver an impression of a clean, well maintained home with large spaces. 

  • Curb Appeal


Photos and showings begin with the exterior of your home.  Make the best first impression by:

  • Fertilizing the lawn – preferably a couple months in advance
  • Mow the lawn, weekly
  • Plant fresh flowers
  • Pull any weeds around the yard
  • Wash off sidewalks, driveways and walk ways
  • Use and edger and/or trimmer where hardscape and lawn meet
  • Trim shrubs. Consider removing overgrown obtrusive shrubs
  • Make sure exterior lights work and fixtures are attractive
  • Make sure house address numbers are not tarnished or worn and that they are hung straight.


  • Front porch


The second impression of your home comes while buyers wait on the front porch for doors to be opened.  Keep them from counting projects and adding up costs by:

  • Scrubbing and/or painting the front door
  • Wash windows inside and out
  • Make sure exterior lights work and fixtures are attractive
  • Consider a nice, clean and inviting doormat
  • Stain front porches, if needed
  • Replace (or re-roll) worn or torn screens.
  • Consider adding potted plants or other welcoming décor around the porch, but not in excess


  • Showings


When the front door opens, it is important to have a nice fresh smell, the blinds open, and preferably the lights on.

  • Leave main lights on throughout the house (as often as you can)
  • Leave end table lamps on (as often as you can)
  • Leave all of the blinds and curtains open- always
  • If you have black-out shades you want to feature, leave them only a fraction of the way down
  • Make sure your home smells fresh and clean, consider linen scents or smells of fresh baking, (Scentsy makes a blueberry cheesecake flavor that smells like blueberry muffins).
  • Try to avoid aerosol sprays or things that leave an overpowering smell


  • Kitchen


A kitchen can really be one of the biggest selling features of a house.  Keeping it clean and giving a homey, functional impression is important.

  • Clear off kitchen counter tops
  • Clean out and trim down your pantry as much as possible.
  • Clear large appliances off your countertops, particularly things like mixers that are rarely used.
  • Clean hood fan lights and filters, make sure they are free of grease build up
  • New, updated appliances can bring high returns.
  • Stage kitchens with fresh fruit or a cookbook on display.
  • If you have time, bake some cookies and leave them out with a nice note for your perspective buyers (with some cute napkins, you don’t want crumbs everywhere).
  • Remove excess reminders, magnets, and artwork from the refrigerator door.
  • If you have it in your budget to update outdated fixtures, cabinets, appliances, countertops, etc. it might be a good time to do that. Consider less expensive options such as cabinet painting, over re-facing, check granite store boneyards, and crushed quartz type products (Silestone) that may serve as an alternative to granite.  Consult your real estate professional about recouping the costs.


  • Bathrooms


One of the most important places that can make a biggest difference in your staging efforts is the bathroom.  A grimy bathroom can give the buyer the impression the house lacks proper maintenance, or fungus found in showers can scare off buyers.

  • Thoroughly clean the bathroom.
  • Scrub showers and grout thoroughly, use a bleach mixture for surface fungus in the showers
  • Consider re-caulking showers and tubs for a bright, fresh, clean and well maintained look.
  • Consider removing everything possible from the bathroom countertop and storing under the cabinet.
  • Keep glass and mirrors clean and free of streaks
  • Keep fixtures and sinks spot free
  • Wipe down shower doors and try to have the bathroom free of left over shower steam prior to showings.
  • Make sure bathroom lighting fixtures have matching bulbs that are equal in color & brightness.
  • Have nice fresh towels, evenly hung or tied decoratively
  • Hang a new fresh shower curtain or shower curtain liner, if needed.

If you have a larger budget, consider updating very low sitting, or outdated vanities, countertops, tile, light fixtures, shower doors, flooring, tile, or any shelving, etc.  Keep in mind, you may not recapture all of the money you spend on large remodeling projects. Consult your real estate professional for advice.


  • Bedrooms


Bedrooms should be neat and tidy.  Making rooms appear spacious and buyers better able to picture their things by:

  • Boxing up anything you aren’t using and get it in storage (ideally offsite)
  • Trim closets to the bare minimum and organize them
  • Consider new matching bedding, such as a bed in a bag with matching skirts, shams, etc.
  • You can cut costs with homemade headboard ideas and/or an air mattress with some great bedding. Ikea, Walmart, Target, Costco, and even Bed Bath & Beyond have some inexpensive options.
  • Clear off dressers and end tables and add a few accent pieces
  • Consider cubes with canvas drawers in kids closets to keep toys, shoes, etc. off the floor, while keeping it easy to be put away.


  • Dining Room Table, End Tables and Coffee Tables


These tables are often collectors of paperwork from kids’ backpacks, old magazines, dog toys, glassware and other random items looking for a home.  They are also some of the easiest pieces of furniture to stage.

  • Create inviting, clutter free spaces by removing anything that doesn’t belong.
  • Set the dining room table, particularly if it is a space not regularly used.
  • Find some pieces, around 3, to stage your coffee table.
  • Look for attractive lamps and an additional decorative pieces for end tables.


  • Walls, Paint, Baseboards & Home Décor


  • Lots of color changes, bright and dark paints can seem like a project to some buyers.
  • Consider repainting in neutral tones that are currently in trend.
  • Paint lines can make the difference between your house looking like it was professionally painted and an HGTV idea gone wrong. If there is paint dripped on the trim or bleeding on to the ceiling, now is the time to have that touched up.
  • Fresh paint and clean walls can make a big difference.
  • Walls with mismatched touch up paint should be entirely repainted.

Doors & Trim

  • Baseboards should be free of any lint, dirt and hair. They should be vacuumed, scrubbed and touched up with paint, where needed
  • Crown moulding should be property secured, sealed and painted.
  • Doors and door trim should also be wiped down and painted if necessary.
  • Doors with holes should be replaced
  • Consider replacing tarnished door hardware.

Wall & Home Décor

  • Trim large photo wall displays down. Buyers can often get distracted trying to figure out your family tree in the 20 hallway photos and can spend time looking at your grandparents and less time looking at your house.
  • Some nicely placed personal photos can give your home a family feel, but have things neatly hung and not in excess.
  • Trim down décor pieces for a more simplistic, spacious look.


  • Ceiling Fans, Air Vents & Window Treatments


  • Dust and clean light fixtures
  • Dust and clean ceiling fans
  • Empty and clean fixtures that may have bugs or lint in the bottom
  • Vacuum furnace return air grates
  • Replace furnace filters
  • Vacuum vents in bathroom fans
  • Dust window treatments
  • All blinds are curtains should be clean and free of markings
  • Make sure curtain rods are hung straight and securely
  • Replace any broken or damaged blinds.


  • Flooring


Flooring can be one of the first things people notice.  It can set a theme, a feeling, a sense of newness, a feeling of cleanliness, or on the flip side, a feeling your home has been overrun by pets or possibly is not well kept.

  • Floors should be thoroughly cleaned
  • Tile grout should be clean
  • Have carpets cleaned
  • Have pet stains treated for odor
  • Consider having wood flooring refinished if necessary
  • If you have a lot of flooring changes or need new flooring and have it in the budget to replace it, you should consider having it replaced to something neutral and in the current trends.  Keep in mind, you many not recoup all of cost of replacing the flooring.


  • Outdoor spaces


Outdoor spaces should be kept neat and inviting.

  • Spray down hardscape and patio areas
  • Fertilize and trim the lawn, preferably a few weeks prior to listing
  • Pull weeds
  • Consider adding potted plants and fresh flowers
  • Consider adding outdoor lighting, or small solar lights
  • Keep any furniture on display
  • Keep leaves, etc. raked and offsite
  • Keep dog areas clean
  • Fences should be in good order and stained, if necessary
  • Decks should also be in good order and stained, if necessary


  • Garages


The garage is another place that people look for storage options.  Showing your potential buyers that you can park as may cars as you have bays can be important.  If you have a three car garage, you don’t want your garage so full that it appears to be a single car garage.

  • Box up anything you aren’t using and store it.
  • Clean up and organize tools and parts.
  • Consider a fresh coat of garage floor paint.


For advice from a real estate professional, contact:


Christy Klingler. Realtor


Call. Text. 775.750.5492


Web:  &