Even in a sellers’ market, getting your house to sell in a reasonable amount of time can be a challenge. Part of that challenge is staging your home in a way that allows others to see themselves living in it.
To help remove yourself from your space, we’ve pulled together a list of the best ways to stage a house for sale. With these tips, you’ll have that “SOLD” sign out front in no time.
Staging Your Yard & Home Exterior
1. Create a Welcoming Porch
Whether you have a small stoop or a large patio, one of the easiest home staging tips is to keep your porch looking clean and lively. Make sure you sweep the dirt from your steps and deck, and make sure any chairs or tables are cleaned up.
A few potted plants on side tables or hanging planters filled with colorful flowers will also go a long way towards attracting prospective buyers. If your home’s siding is looking a little grungy, it may also be time to break out the power washer.
2. Tidy Up Your Front Yard
Make sure your lawn is cut regularly so passers-by aren’t turned away by the sight of ankle-high grass. If your driveway or walkways are covered in dust and dirt, give them a good power-washing too. Any bushes or large trees near walkways should be trimmed as well so curious buyers don’t have to sidestep any branches.
3. Remove Any Clutter from Your Backyard
While your backyard might not be as important for curb appeal, it will certainly be a deciding factor for a lot of homebuyers. You want to give them the impression that there’s a lot of space, which means putting away:
- Garden tools
- Statues and ornaments
- Decorative flags
- Broken or worn-out items
You should also make sure your outdoor furniture is clean and arranged neatly, giving guests a taste of what backyard living will be like in their new home (fingers crossed).
And yes, you should also power-wash your back patio, shed and any other surface in your backyard that looks like it’s seen better, cleaner days.
Pro Home Staging Tip: Keep Your Lights on
Keep porch and walkway lights on in the evening so anyone driving by can get a good look at your home.
Staging Your Kitchen
4. Clean & Clear Your Countertops, Windows, Pantry and Cabinets
A quick spray down will have your windows and countertops gleaming during your walkthroughs. As for the pantry, purge any empty cereal boxes, pasta packages or anything else that is empty or expired. Organize anything that remains into like groups and keep them together in the same section of your cabinets.
Repeat the same process for your cabinets, especially if you have glass doors or open shelving. You want to avoid the appearance of not having enough storage space in your kitchen. If you have a bunch of extra plates or cups, put these in a box and store them elsewhere.
5. Keep a Few Kitchen Essentials Out
The tricky part of staging a house to sell is striking a balance between showing how the house looks both with and without someone else living in it. For that reason, it’s okay to leave a few appliances out during a showing, such as a coffee maker or a toaster, but anything else should be tucked away in a cabinet.
As an added touch of decor, you could also leave a tea kettle or decorative pot on your stovetop.
Pro Home Staging Tip: Give Your Home a Quick Smell Check
You should always take out your trash before you show your house to anyone, as well as eliminate any lingering odors. If you have a garbage disposal, pour a few ounces of lemon juice down the drain to quickly quash any smells.
Staging Your Living & Dining Room
6. Get Organized & Declutter
This applies to every room in your home, and not just when you’re staging your home for sale. Anything that you don’t want in your living or dining room, should either be donated or tossed out. Everything else should find a new home while you’re staging your own.
If you have a lot of stuff you’d like to keep, see if any nearby relatives have space for a few items in their garage. Failing that, you can always rent a locker from a nearby storage company.
Check out our Ridiculously Thorough Guide to Decluttering Your Home for all the decluttering and organizing tips you need for a super-clean home.
Once you’ve cleaned up, pull your furniture away from the walls and arrange your couches, chairs and end tables in symmetrical pairs to create a nice-looking spot for conversation.
7. Clean Your Furniture & Floors
Dust everything regularly so your home looks both clean and lived-in. Take a hard look at your floors, especially hardwood floors, in case they need refinishing or a good scrubbing. Steam cleaning your carpets will also give your space a fresher appearance.
8. Add a Few Homey Touches
After cleaning up and removing the clutter from your house, it’s time to add a few welcoming touches. Some of the most enticing home staging odds and ends include:
- Vases with freshly cut flowers.
- A bowl of fruit on a side table.
- Table arrangements to fill up a large dining room table.
- Slip covers for dining room chairs.
Pro Home Staging Tip: Stick to Neutral Colors
Shades of grey, white and beige are all ideal color choices for your walls as they aren’t too bright or dark, appealing to a wide range of prospective buyers.
Staging Your Bathrooms
9. Deep Clean Each Bathroom, Upstairs and Downstairs
Buyers spend the least amount of time checking out bathrooms, but they’ll still notice dirty tiles or rings around your tub. Scrub every surface in your bathroom with bleach or a natural cleaner of your choice. The goal is to make everything squeaky clean, including those obnoxious corners of the shower that always accumulate mold.
10. Remove Any Personal Items and Add Some Nice Touches
Prescription bottles and toiletries should be removed from the bathroom and placed in a safe spot during a showing. This is also a good time to put out the “guest” towels you’ve been keeping in the bathroom closet since you moved in. Other little things you can do to spruce up your bathrooms include adding:
- Clean rugs and wash cloths
- Wooden trays
- Scented candles
- Small potted plants
- Fluffy white robes (for the full spa treatment)
Pro Home Staging Tip: Don’t Remind Buyers of Housework
Keep toilet brushes, sponges, trash bins, cleaning products and anything else that screams “elbow grease!” out of sight.
Staging Your Bedrooms
11. Create as Much Space as Possible
Ideally, you should have no other furniture in your bedrooms besides the beds, dressers and nightstands. For the master bedroom, a full-length mirror will help create the illusion of more space and allow buyers to literally see themselves in your bedroom.
Make sure there is nothing on your furniture or the floor including toys, clothing and TVs.
12. Dust and Vacuum Every Nook and Cranny
As you’ve probably learned by now, a key staging tip for any house is to clean everything from top to bottom. The bedrooms are no exception. Vacuum all of your bedroom carpets, making sure to remove any lingering stains.
All surfaces should be dusted including the furniture, window sills and the corners of your ceiling. If you have fans on your ceiling, use an old pillowcase to easily remove built-up dust from the leading edge of each blade.
13. Dress Up Your Walls and Bedroom Set
Add a few plants to the corners of your bedroom and hang up any art or decorative pieces you have to add a splash of color. Brightly colored throw pillows and blankets are also a great way to make your bed set pop.
Pro Home Staging Tip: Downsize Your Bed to Create More Space
King-sized beds are great for comfort but take up a lot of space. To give buyers the impression your bedroom has more space, swap out your king for a queen.
Staging Your Basement
14. Add Storage Space for Any Remaining Clutter
Even if you already decluttered your home, there’s bound to be a few knickknacks taking up space in your basement. Add a few basic shelving units along the walls so you can keep any remaining clutter off the floor.
Prospective buyers may have a variety of ideas in mind for the basement, from turning it into a play area or a man cave. For that reason, you really only have to worry about tidying it up.
15. Spruce Up the Walls and Floors
If the walls show a lot of wear and tear, give them a quick coat of paint in a neutral color. If your basement is unfinished, sweep and scrub the floors to remove any dirt or spots.
Pro Home Staging Tip: Let There Be Light
If your basement looks a little dark and foreboding, remove any curtains, wash down your basement windows and rake out any debris from the window wells. This will allow more natural light in and make it easier for buyers to get a feel for the space.
After Staging Your Home for Sale, Take a Break and Watch the Offers Pour In
Now that you know the best ways to stage a house for sale, you can confidently show off yours to any potential buyer. If you’re looking for even more ways to speed up the selling process, check out these 10 tips for selling your home fast.
Have a few more home staging tips you’d like to add? Share them in the comments below!