Home Staging TipsSo, you are looking to do some home staging in order to sell your home quickly?  Who doesn’t want to get their house sold in a short amount of time?  If you are new here, then I will just say that my wife and I have just listed our home for sale.  We are looking to move to a better neighborhood, but we want to sell our home quickly.  With mortgage rates slowly on the rise, it is time to make the move.  Before our home officially went on the market, we had quite a bit of interest.  Why you ask?  We staged our home to make it more appealing! Home staging is extremely important and the way you make the best first impression you can.

Home Staging Tips

I am not home staging expert, but my mother is!  She is a seasoned interior designer that has done hundreds of show homes around our area.  She is one of the best in this area, so I gladly accept her advice.  When someone who does home staging for a living wants to give you free advice, you take it!  I figured I would pass along some of her best home staging tips for anyone looking to do it on their own.  These are in no particular order, just how they came up in my head.

Clean/Repair

This is one is a very important step when you are staging a home.  Cleaning your home can make a huge difference.  The same goes with repairs.  If you do can do some of the basic repairs around your home, then make sure they are done before potential buyers step in the home.  My wife and I have just spent two weeks cleaning up our home to make it as clean as possible. I have done most of the repairs, along with pressure washing our home, fence, and driveway.  It has made a major difference.

Declutter

Before anyone steps into your home you need to declutter.  Having stuff around your home is never going to allow people to visualize it.  Rent a storage unit to get stuff out of your home.  Whatever you need to do, just make sure you don’t have too much stuff in your home.

Remove Personal Belonging

This tip goes in line with decluttering.  When you are removing extra stuff from your home, you need to make sure to remove your personal belongings.  Why?  People want to be able to see themselves in the home.  They don’t need to see pictures of your, your family, and whatever you like.  Remove personal belongings and put up generic items.  Change out pictures and find a suitable replacements.

Another quick tip that can irritate some is to remove all religious references.  You have no idea who is going to be looking at your home.  There are a diverse mix of religions in our world, so you need to make sure you don’t offend someone when they walk into your home.  Remember, you are trying to sell your house, so religious items need to go.

Maximize Space

You want people to see how much space they have to work with when they look around your home.  You should look at every opportunity to maximize space.  Can a smaller chair go there?  Are there too many things in your bathroom or shower?  Maximizing space is all about picking the right item to go where.  Don’t stuff items around your home.  Clear out items and open up as much space as you can.

Landscaping

You want to make a great first impression.  That impression starts when a potential buyer walks up to your home.  How does it look from the outside?  How is your landscaping?  Cleaning up the mulch, cutting the lawn, planting some nice flowers can make a world of difference.  If you are selling in the winter, like we are, then just clean up the dead plants and refresh the mulch if you have any.  Once places start selling some nice flowers, then pick some up and plant them.

Lighting

Lighting is often overlooked.  Lighting can really bring out the features of your home without you even realizing it.  There are a lot of different lighting options out there that can really make your home pop.  If you are going to be showing your home in the evening, then make sure you have your lights on.  Turn on all your lights to make every aspect of your home visible.  If you have any burnt out lights, the replace them.  If you have mixed and matched color tones, then get all of the same color.  Don’t forget about this simple tip when staging your home. Replacing some of your lighting fixtures also goes a long way by creating an entirely different look within your home. One option is to install some pendant lighting fixtures in a few rooms to give those rooms a classy, elegant feel. These lights can be purchased with anywhere between one and six bulbs, so you can make your selection depending on the amount of light that you want in the room. They also come in a variety of different styles, giving you multiple options when upgrading your interior lighting to make a quick sale.

No Random Furniture

This is a big one that most don’t look at.  Does your furniture match?  Does it look like it belongs where you placed it?  You don’t want your home to look like a college dorm.  Random furniture is never a good idea.  Make sure your rooms flow and the furniture looks like it belongs.  No one wants to purchase your college dorm.

Go Neutral

What kind of color paint have you used in your home?  Well, if it is not a neutral color, then think about repainting.  There is a power behind neutral colors.  When someone steps into your home, they usually don’t want to see bright colors.  It can be a turnoff.  Though it is only paint, people like to see soothing colors.  Neutral colors can make it easier for people to see themselves in your home.  Make it easier for buyers by making your home more neutral.

Take Care of Pet Odors

We know all too well about this home staging step.  If you have pets in your home, then you need to work on removing pet odors.  If you have been living in your home for some time, then you have become accustomed to the smell.  You don’t realize there is anything wrong, but when people walk into your home that may not be used to it, they can smell it.  A deep carpet cleaning can really do wonders on pet odors.  We had to replace our carpet because of how bad it was stained from our dogs.  Remember, not everyone is a pet owner, so refresh your home and remove the pet odors.

These home staging tips are not all encompassing when you want to sell your home.  You just need to know that buyers like to find move in ready homes.  Yes, there are some that love to find  fixer uppers, but that is a minority.  The more you can make your home move in ready, the better.  One big home staging tip that my mother gave is that you should accessorize your home, but make sure it doesn’t look too lived in.  Home staging can take a lot of time, but it doesn’t mean you need to hire a professional to do it.  Think about things you would want to see when you are shopping for a home.

What home staging tips would you provide?  Have you staged your home when looking to sell?  How did it work out for you?

Photo via Real Estaging

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29 Comments

  1. Great tips Grayson! We’ve not sold yet, but I remember when we were buying being able to visualize ourselves in the house was huge. I couldn’t get over the amount of people just left their houses as is, with no prep, and allowed us to see it during the showing. Of course, those were usually the houses with the longest days on the market.

  2. We just bought our forever home earlier this year and one thing I loved about it was how clean it was. And when we looked at other houses that were dirty, it sent up immediate red flags. Having a very clean house can be huge for certain types of buyers!

  3. These are great tips Grayson!! We have sold three homes, and de-cluttering, removing personal effects and taking care of odors were big contributors. I would tell someone to ask a friend to give their opinion as well because sometimes we thought we got rid of enough, but when we had another set of eyes on it, they could see things we missed. We used to make sure we had scented plugins and would light candles before people would come to look at the home.

    1. Great tip on having someone else come in to see if you missed something. We had a few people come in and do that, so it was very helpful. We have some candles, but we might put some scented plugins in.

  4. One of my pet peeves when I was house hunting was strong odors. Especially those of pets and heavy smokers. I remember walking into an open house where they had lit tones of candles to mask the strong cigarette smell. It did not work. It just made it worse. I heard baking cookies can be a nice trick for an open house but you have to clean first!

    1. Heavy smoke smell is really bad. Though we have dogs, we try our hardest to make sure our home smells good. We won’t be doing open houses, but we do have singular showings, so baking cookies would be hard. I did hear the same thing about them though.

  5. Staging a home is so important! I’ve walked into homes where kitchen countertops are littered with cereal boxes and a corner space that should otherwise be empty is cluttered with kids’ toys. How can I possibly visualize myself living in that house? Great tips!

    1. Exactly. We hide all of our son’s toys in the closet or places where it is not taking up space. People don’t want to see that.

  6. I enjoyed the process of staging my home and actually hired a pro….but did it the cheap way. I paid $100 to a stager to just walk through my house with me for a couple hours and point out what I needed to do. She then made a complete inventory and told me in many cases exactly what to buy to make the house look better. It was amazing. I agreed with 90% of the changes she recommended but did them all. Sadly, I was selling just as the real estate market was crumbling and it didn’t work….but I’d definitely do it again.

    1. That is a good way to do it. Staging your home is not going to help if the market is on the way down. It can only help if there are willing and capable buyers. Home staging is still an important step in the selling process.

  7. Great tips, Grayson! You are fortunate your Mom can give you great advice to help sell your home quickly. Cleaning is such a huge one. And I think most people clean their home to the level they are comfortable with but don’t “clean” for selling their home where everything needs to sparkle and shine. It is a turn-off and it’s an easy one to avoid. Great point on cleaning carpets and getting rid of pet smells. You do get used to how your house smells and it can be a turn-off for someone who doesn’t have a pet. They odor will bother them. I also found that replacing cabinet hardware can be an easy upgrade too.

    1. Great comment Shannon. If you aren’t used to really deep cleaning your home, then you will have no idea how to do it. You really have to DEEP clean your home in order to get it ready for sale.

      Awesome tip on the cabinet hardware. This can really make a difference, as long as you have nice cabinets.

  8. My parents and I followed most of these when the house went up for sale last year. We repainted everything a neutral color, which we were actually able to enjoy while there! We vigorously cleaned all the appliances and cabinets/counters in the kitchen, decluttered like crazy, and kept the house clean. We rented a carpet cleaner since there were some pet stains around, and my mom would light candles before any showings. It’s nice that you have your mother to guide you!

  9. I have toured homes with dirty dishes in the sink. If they can’t do their dishes what else are they neglecting was the thought I had when I toured.

    I also toured a home where there was a stinky teenage boy asleep in a bed and the agent didn’t know he was there until the bedroom door was opened and we all got a fright.

    Cleanliness and odours are the biggest thing for me when I shop for a house.

    1. Wow, having dirty dishes in the sink would be immediately off putting. I don’t even know what I would do if a teenager was still sleeping in the bed. Most agents notify you before they come by, so you have some time to clean up and get out.

  10. I always kept my house clean in the Norwegian way, meaning that I did not have any extra clutter, and everything was very clean. I didn’t have to stage that house for sale, because it was sort of constantly in a staged condition. Cleaning the Norwegian way has been much more difficult to accomplish with a wife and a growing son. I wouldn’t change anything, but our house would take some heavy cleanup and staging to sell now.

    1. Interesting concept. I wish I could keep my house in a staged fashion but with a family, that is hard to do. We do keep our home pretty clean on a constant basis, but for this, we have been cleaning over time, in order to not have to do it all at once.

  11. When we’ve looked for property, I loved finding dirty, run down places because I knew we could low ball on the offer because no one else would be interested. Most people don’t share that philosophy and want move in ready, so that is awesome that you have a Mom who can stage for you. I hope it sells really fast and for a good price.

    1. You have a great point Kim, but as you indicated, you are in the minority. Most people don’t look for those types of homes. Also, I don’t want people low balling me!

  12. Great tips! I haven’t staged my home for sale, but I’ve watched enough HGTV to know how a home should – and shouldn’t – look when it’s on the market. I hope your house sells quick!

  13. Great tips Grayson. When we bought our home, it literally was the exact opposite of how a home should be staged- it smelled, the lighting was bad, poor color choices, etc. But, we could look past those things and I’m glad we did, because we were able to get a great deal on it.

    1. That is the difference between you and many others Ryan. I am the same way. I can see through the bad paint colors and I focus on the layout and the bones of the home. All other things can be easily changed.

  14. I’ve never sold a place, but I have bought one. One tip I have (based on my experience as a buyer) is to take good photos of your house (kitchen, bathrooms etc.). I’m really thankful the previous owner of our place took horrible photos of her (now our) home. It gave us several days to put in an offer before the open house (when everyone would have discovered how cute our place is).