The How's and Why's of Home Staging

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Published 10/27/16

Staging Your Home To Sell

Don't send your home to an interview in its sweat pants. Dress it to impress!

You've got a big interview coming up for a job you really want. You’ll probably choose a flattering, clean outfit that makes you feel confident - maybe get a haircut too - and arrive on time with a crisp resume' if you really want to make the best first impression and land that job. And now, imagine you're up against an equally qualified candidate for the job. You've shown up polished, presentable and confident while your competition has shown up in dirty sweat pants and bed head. Who is likely to get the job?


Whether it’s job applicants, first dates, or home buyers, first impressions really do matter. So just as you put in effort for a job interview or first date, home sellers need to do the same with their homes. You want your house to shine and stand out amongst the competition so that it sells quickly and for the highest price possible. And that means doing a little work before listing your home.

That’s where staging comes in...

Before Staging

Before Staging

After staging

Buyers today are turning to the internet before they even start looking at homes in person. You only have a few seconds of online viewing to grab someone’s interest. Listings with great looking pictures are going to garner interest and get buyers to set up a showing. Photos showing cluttered kitchens, unmade beds and rooms jam packed with furniture are going to give prospective buyers analysis paralysis and suggest a lack of storage or that the house has been poorly maintained. Depending on the state of your home, staging can be as simple as cleaning off the kitchen counters, decluttering and moving some furniture around or it can involve hiring a professional stager to come in and fully furnish a vacant home.

Basic Staging You Can (and should) Do:

  • DECLUTTER - Clear off counters, tables, bookcases, coat-racks, the fridge. Minimize. Now’s the time to do that sorting, tossing, and start packing. If you don’t use it daily, consider packing it up. If it’s out of season, store it away. If it’s a piece of furniture blocking a door or hall, then move it out. Pack up your collection of figurines. You want buyers to walk into a room and have it seem spacious (even if it’s not a big room) and see the room’s features, not your things.
  • REARRANGE - Try moving furniture around so that you have good flow through the space. You don’t want buyers to have to squeeze past a bookcase or feel a room isn’t big enough for their furnishings because you’ve got a room packed to the brim.
  • CLEAN - Give your house a deep clean. Clean the floors, counters, walls, switchplates, bathrooms, window sills and windows, rugs. You want your home to sparkle and shine. Buyers will notice if a home is dirty and wonder how well the home has been maintained.
  • DEPERSONALIZE - Time to pack away your family photos, awards and degrees, your shrine to Johnny Depp. Buyers want to imagine and visualize themselves in a home and that’s hard to do if it’s overly personalized.

  • NEUTRALIZE - That zebra themed room may be right up your alley, but probably won’t appeal to the masses. Repaint any rooms with overtly bright or thematic colors. Sticking with neutral tans, whites, greys is best and least likely to make a buyer think “ugh, we’ve got to paint right away”
  • CURB APPEAL - Buyers will often drive by a house before they even decide if they want to set up a showing. If your yard is overgrown with weeds, full of debris and junk, buyers will often decide to pass on the house thinking that if it hasn’t been well maintained on the outside, how well has the inside been maintained? Cut the grass and keep it short, rake any leaves, clean up any flowerbeds and plant fresh flowers, remove any dead trees or shrubs, fix or repaint the steps or railings, and consider painting the home or powerwashing for a fresh, clean appearance.
  • MAKE MINOR REPAIRS - Time to fix those little nagging repairs that you kept putting off. Clean the gutters, make sure all the lights are working, clean the grout, fix that leaky faucet, rehang that shelf. These little inexpensive repairs show buyers that your home has been cared for and won’t stand out as red flags or cause a lowball offer because buyers are envisioning the cost of all these repairs.


If you have a vacant property that you’re selling or feel overwhelmed by the staging process, then contact a local home stager. Many have different levels of service depending on your needs and they can provide a detailed plan of action to help you prep, stage, and ultimately, sell your home.