7 Steps to Stage a House for Sale

How to Stage a House for Sale

Many real estate agents offer staging services to their clients, knowing that a clean, tidy and well-presented home can be far more attractive to prospective buyers than a cluttered, mismatched and personalized one.

While many homeowners might see the value in staging to make their homes appear more desirable at open houses and in professional photographs, not everyone has the money to invest in such a service while they are saving up for their next home.

However, not having the funds for a staging service doesn’t mean you can’t stage your home at all. A few small changes, such as those below, might be all it takes to have your property looking its best when it goes on the market.

1. Depersonalize It

Depersonalize It

Depersonalize your home to make it appeal to a broader audience. When prospective buyers visit your home, they need to see themselves living in it. This can be challenging when you have family photos and personal possessions on surfaces and walls.

Purchase neutral bedding collections from retailers like Quince and store away themed bedding that draws attention to the owners’ personalities. You might also like to swap family portraits for standard artwork and hide toiletries, toys, jewelry and children’s fridge artwork in drawers and cupboards. Think about what you would expect to find when you walk into the average hotel room and do your best to replicate the same clean, streamlined environment.

7 Steps to Stage a House for Sale

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2. Clean It

7 Steps to Stage a House for Sale

Just as you likely don’t enjoy living with a mess in your home, people won’t like to see a mess in your home when they visit it as prospective homeowners. When you decide to put your home on the market, stock up on cleaning supplies so you can perform a thorough spring clean from top to bottom.

Deep-clean flooring, walls, kitchens and bathrooms, and try to ensure everything looks as fresh and clean as possible for visitors. Don’t forget to wipe down appliances thoroughly, clear cobwebs and clean windows. You might even see the value in cleaning things that home inspectors will check on behalf of their clients, such as drains and septic systems.

View your property objectively to gain a complete picture of what you need to clean so that it doesn’t stand out for the wrong reasons. If you don’t have time for detailed cleaning when the time comes to host an open house, outsource this task to a cleaning service.

7 Steps to Stage a House for Sale

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3. Declutter It

Declutter It

Homes are for living in, so a collection of your favorite ornaments on the mantelpiece and piles of clothes in the laundry room are standard in most homes. However, decluttering your property can be essential for helping prospective new homeowners see themselves living in your home. Decluttering can also help buyers get an accurate picture of its spaciousness and style.

Use decluttering as an opportunity to get rid of possessions you no longer need and kickstart the packing process for moving day. Clear surfaces of clutter, add a sense of organization to storage systems and ensure all the children’s toys are tidied up or cleared away entirely. If you have collections of items on display, consider packing these away to depersonalize your home and make it appear less cluttered.

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4. Give Rooms Purpose

Give Rooms Purpose

Many families have rooms in their homes that don’t quite serve a specific purpose. Spare bedrooms can sometimes become storage and junk rooms, and garages can become dumping grounds for broken furniture and unused gym equipment.

Make sure every room serves a specific purpose so buyers can gain insight into how they could use each room themselves. If you have a spare room that you use for storage, stage it as a bedroom with a bed, dresser, side table and decor. You might also like to stage smaller rooms that aren’t suitable for bedrooms as offices, hobby rooms or gyms so buyers can see their unlimited potential.

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5. Maximize Lighting

Maximize Lighting

Well-lit homes can appear warm and welcoming when you walk through the front door. In contrast, poorly lit homes can seem dark and dreary. Help prospective buyers see your home in a positive light by maximizing your home’s lighting.

Illuminate dark corners with floor lamps and change cool white bulbs to warm white for warmth and coziness in living spaces and bedrooms. If any fixtures are broken or outdated, consider replacing them before putting your house on the market to make each room appear fresher and more contemporary. If you’re hosting your own open house, don’t forget to turn on every light inside and outside your house so prospective buyers can see your property in all its glory.

7 Steps to Stage a House for Sale

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6. Pay Attention to Furniture

Pay Attention to Furniture

While replacing your furniture just to stage your home would likely end up costing more than a staging service, it is worth focusing your attention on any pieces that might detract from the beauty of your home.

Identify furniture with obvious defects and store it away or cover the defects as best as you can. For example, if you have a metal bed frame with paint chips, cover the chipped area with a well-placed throw blanket over the edge of the bed. You can also cover scratched tables with tablecloths and ripped sofas with throw pillows.

7. Focus on Scent

Focus on Scent

It’s hard not to feel warm and welcome when you walk into a home with the fresh scent of candles or home-baked cookies meeting you at the door. Once your home looks clean and tidy, spend time making sure it has a pleasant aroma.

Sometimes, this can involve cleaning carpets to eliminate pet odors, opening windows to remove the smell of recently prepared meals and using air fresheners to freshen up the areas of your home you typically keep closed up.

If you notice a damp smell in the air, identify and rectify any possible water leaks and open your windows to minimize or eliminate the odor. If you’re feeling extra motivated, prepare a fresh batch of cookies before an open house so your home smells deliciously homey.

Staging a house for sale doesn’t have to be an expensive exercise that only experts can do for you. Cleaning, decluttering and depersonalizing might be all it takes to make your house feel like a home that prospective buyers can fall in love with.

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Neil was born and raised in Arlington, TX and graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s in Finance. He has a background in construction and insurance adjusting and began investing in real estate in 2007. He has since purchased hundreds of homes throughout DFW and brings years of real estate industry experience to the table. He loves real estate because it allows him to spend more time with his wife and their two young boys.