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Advice and tips on how to stage

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Pack Up, Move Out

Seeing as how you will have to move out anyway, once you sell your home, there shouldn’t be a problem with starting now. Rent a storage room, or if you’re lucky, maybe a family member has some garage space. Start filling it both with all the clutter currently in your own garage, but also any items you can pack up now, including storage. This will help tremendously when you’re ready to start showing your home.

Determining What Stays

Potential buyers like to look in kitchen cupboards, storage areas, and closets to see if their belongings will fit. If your closets are packed to the brim it’s time to weed through things. You can either sell or give items away or pack them up for your next home. Every storage area in your home — including display shelves — should be neat, organized, and clutter-free. Every area in your home, especially those with storage should be organized and free of clutter. Buyers like to look through cupboards, imagine their items in your closets, storage space, and garage so it’s important to ensure

Box Up the Pics

Take down your wedding photos, the kids’ school pictures, and refrigerator art. A buyer needs to picture himself living in the house. That will be more difficult if your personal photos, awards, and mementos are evident everywhere. It will only take a few hours to box up these items and move them to your storage facility.

Stash the Valuables

Carefully pack up any collections, artwork, or valuables that might be damaged by strangers coming into your home. You’ll have potential buyers, realtor walk-through, open houses, inspectors, cleaners and handymen coming in, so it’s a great idea to pack up your art glass collection in preparation for the move.

Make a List

Look around for anything that might need to be repaired. Start with the obvious such as burned out light bulbs, loose handles on doors or cupboards, leaky faucets, and stains on carpet. Next look for less noticeable, but needed repairs. Finally ask your realtor, friend or family member, for help to put together a list of any other items that might need fixing. Be sure to make the needed repairs before anyone comes knocking on your door.

Home Inspection

If at all possible, anticipate and repair anything that could be listed on a home inspection report as needing repair. Get a sample home inspection report and study it to learn what areas of the home might be reviewed. Although you’ll do the best you can, if the report comes back with changes needed, you’ll have an opportunity to makes those later. For tips on passing the home inspection, Click Here!


Look around your tile and mildew areas in both the kitchen and bathroom. If stains need to be removed, clean and bleach white grout. You can also grout again any area that is badly damaged or has mildew. Any gaps or cracks can be grouted again, or even caulked, both around the sink or the tub.

Clean, Clean, Clean

After you’ve made sure that all the clutter has been packed away, it’s time to get dirty. You might think that regular house cleaning is sufficient, but cleaning for home staging means extreme clean. Start by making a list of all that needs to be done. Then decide if you should clean it yourself or bring in a cleaning crew. When making your list remember to include every single surface – ledges, door knobs, blinds, fans, corners of floors and ceilings, inside and outside of windows. As you complete each item on the list, cross it off as you go. Also consider making a list for each room so as to ensure nothings gets skipped or remains dirty.

If your house takes some time to sell, be sure that everything remains clean… dusting might need to be done more than once a week or windows and doorknobs might need to be checked several times a week. You want the house to look as good for the last potential buyer as it did for the first.

Potential buyers will probably have a chance to look around your porch area and front door as it sometimes takes the realtor a minute or two until they locate the key. Because of this, it is a good idea to especially work on this spot. Consider scrubbing, or even repainting the front door. If the doorknob is less than desirable, you might replace it or scrub it until it shines. If there are any windows in the area, clean them both inside and out. Put a nice wreath on your door. Buy a new welcome mat to appear clean and to help with traffic coming in and out of your home. Possible even get a planter but be sure to keep it trimmed and watered if you do. When completed, look around and see if things are clean and welcoming. If so, potential buyers will find their first impression pleasing.

Furniture Arrangements

You have looked at the same furniture arrangement for awhile now. This is when you might want to call in a friend or professional to look at your furniture in a new light. You’ll want to rearrange each room, and place your furniture in such a way as to maximize the space available, but also give a homey feel. A room with no furniture is too empty, but a room with a lot of furniture makes it difficult for the buyer to picture their own belongings. Arrange these areas carefully.

Using Pros

Professionals will charge anywhere from a hundred dollars per room to a few thousand dollars for your entire home, depending on the amount of work involved. Most will empty each room, one at a time, and then bring back your furnishings and accessories to make the best design available. They’ll probably work on one room at a time. It is definitely worth bringing someone in, if you want to show the best possible appearance of your home. Look in your yellow pages for professional home stagers or interior re-designers.


Take your pets and all their belongings to a neighbor or relative while showing your home… although you may love your pet like one of the family, some buyers may be put off and less than enthusiastic.

Set the Table

If you have a dining area that needs to feel a little homey, try adding a centerpiece, or even arranging table settings. Many model homes will decorate tables, and this can help ease an otherwise cold area.

Plants and Flowers

If any of your plants are dying, or close to it, it’s probably time to throw them out or give them away. There are services that will rent houseplants, or you can buy some new plants, but be sure that whatever you pick looks nice, and is well contained so you don’t have any watering problems. You also might consider putting out fresh flowers in a general location. They can really brighten up a room.


Keeping the bathroom clean is a given, but also make sure to remove all personal care items, such as toothbrushes, from the countertop. If you keep your laundry bin there regularly, make a place for it in the laundry room or the washer. Purchase some new towels to replace your older ones. Polish the mirror, faucets and doorknobs until the shine. Make the bathroom as inviting as possible, while maintaining an almost sterile atmosphere… some people don’t want to remember that someone else has used their bathroom before.

Lighten up

Dark areas can make anyone a little nervous. Keep your home as bright and light as possible. To do so, open blinds, pull back window coverings, turn on lamps, replace outdated light fixtures or install bulbs with more wattage


The better your house smells, the more attractive it while be. While your sense of smell might be different than the buyer’s, there are certain neutral fragrances that most anyone enjoys. Buy some refreshers or potpourri in cinnamon or vanilla. If possible, bake bread or cookies to fill your home with great smells. Although you might not be able to do this every day, you can certainly do this for open houses or repeat visits. Be careful not to add anything too overpowering, or in every room, as it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

Floor Plans

If possible, contact your builder and obtain a clear floor plan of your home. The plan should be drawn professionally, not a simple sketch. If room sizes are large, it can be a plus to add them to the plans. If you create a home information sheet, either for the box outside or to rest on a table inside, it could be a great idea to include a copy of it on the back of information sheet. This allows potential buyers to study it later, and will also make your home a little different from other they may have seen.

Staging Relaxing Areas

Think of each room almost as a setting for a play. Decorate any way you like, while keeping order. It will make your house feel like a home. Here are a few more ideas:

* Display fresh flowers in the entry. Be sure these flowers remain fresh.
* If your kitchen has an island, place a bowl of fresh fruit in the middle.
* Place an open book or blanket on the chair in your bedroom.
* Arrange some cookbooks on a shelf in the kitchen.


After you’ve put in all this hard work, be sure not to ignore basic maintenance during the time your home is being shown. Continually water plants, dust, polish, and remain clutter free. It can be difficult to keep your home in show condition at all times, but when a prospective buyer drops by at an odd hour, you’ll be glad you did.

When decorating, remember to have fun, and to picture your home as you might see model homes. Consider even visiting some model homes for ideas. Remember that what works elsewhere, might not be the best fit for your house, so do what you can to make things look warm, professional, and inviting. You just may sell your house in record time, for a record price. Good luck!!