Tips for Staging a Home to Sell

by Scott Sery on June 14, 2012

There are a lot of steps that go into moving from one house to another.  Despite the logistics of all the planning, there is the added burden of selling your house.  For those who use a realtor, their agent will take a lot of the pressure off.  But there are many things the buyer still needs to do, and without getting some of the things done, the house can sit on the market for months, creating a lot of unnecessary anxiety.   For those who would rather sell the house quickly and move on, there are a few things they can do to stage a house which will encourage buyers to make an offer.

Clean, Clean, Clean

The best way to get a house to move is to keep it spotless.  That means beds made every day, no dishes left in the sink, everything picked up and put in its place.  After everything is picked up then you break out the cleansers.  Buyers want a spotless house.

Keep it furnished

Buyers want to see how the place looks with furniture.  So get rid of unnecessary clutter, but keep the furniture in place as long as you can.  Without furniture people feel as though the home is empty and lonely and have a hard time imagining their belongings in place.

Borrow Artwork

If you have access, borrow original paintings and other art that compliment the room’s décor.  Pack away any family photos and other personal touches as they will distract the buyer.  Yes, that means nothing on the refrigerator no matter how precious your niece’s drawings may be.  Keeping a small bouquet of fresh flowers as a centerpiece on the table will give the house a fresh feel, and keeping a plug-in air freshener around will give the house a fresh smell.

Do Touch Up Repair Jobs

Anything that is a quick fix, get it done.  Loose cabinet doors and chipped paint are a huge distraction and immediately draw the eye away from all the other great aspects of the house.  If you are in the middle of a remodel job, make sure to finish it completely before buyers see the house.

Don’t Neglect the Yard

Sellers get caught up in the fact that people are buying the house and seem to forget the yard goes with it.  Curb appeal is a huge part of the sale, and often that first impression makes or breaks the deal.  Keep the yard mowed, flowers planted, and the place weed free in order to make it stand out the instant a potential buyer drives up.

There are a lot of small things that the seller can do to make sure the house moves quickly.  While they may not seem like much on their own, when they are all neglected the house can seem stale and boring.  A little effort here and there can help the seller get the best price for the house.  In the end if it feels like too much work, there are many interior design professionals that the seller can hire to get the house ready to sell.

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Scott Sery

Scott Sery is a native to Billings, Montana. Within an hour in nearly any direction he can be found fishing, hunting, backpacking, caving, and rock or ice climbing. With an extensive knowledge of the finance and insurance world, Scott loves to write personal finance articles. When not talking money, he enjoys passing on his knowledge of the back country, or how to live sustainably. You can learn more about Scott on his website Sery Content Development
  • Pretty much spot on to what we did to our house recently. Although we bought the artwork and are hoping to use it at the new place (if we sell ours).

  • Great tips! Another great tip that I learned from HGTV is to make it so that it is neutral and everyone can see themselves there. For example, don’t have pink walls or bright green walls everywhere because people wouldn’t be able to picture themselves living in there. Or have random rooms without a purpose – make each room obvious (master’s, child’s room, office, TV room, whatever) – I know I don’t feel as happy when I see a room with a bunch of junk in it like a storage room.

  • Considering how much information there is out there, I am always surprised when we walk into a place and see that really small things that could be done to sell the place aren’t done. As buyers, however, I guess that’s better for us.

    I have also noticed that some real estate websites have virtual staging done to the places they list. I think it’s a smart idea.

  • All very important things to consider when trying to get the maximum selling price. I would think that the yard is where too many people mess up. They might just be the types who are into maintaining a nice yard or planting flowers. Those small things can go a long way though. A good air freshener is a good tactic too. People may not consciously notice it, but they will sure notice a weird smell. It will just improve the house viewing experience for them.

  • Jen

    Great tips, Sean. It amazing how many people don’t even clean up their house while attempting to sell it. It’s crazy that these people will also allow their realtor to take pictures of their overstuffed, cluttered and garbage filled homes. Even a little work can make a huge difference. 🙂

  • So true about needing to keep the house spotless. So many people can look past a messy kitchen or bathroom, but there are probably more that can’t! I’m one of those people. Sure, I can see the potential in houses not related to messes, but it still bothers me to the point that I probably won’t buy a house if there was pee on a toilet seat or stinky dishes in the sink! It may be silly, but I think it’s pretty normal.

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