Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Staging Your House To Sell

I don't care what anyone says, staging a house is NOT overrated.  I have staged my last 2 homes and  received offers that quickly ended in a sale-each within the first 30 days of being on the market.  Oh ya, in case you're thinking they must have been under, no, no, they each sold at the top of the market compared to their comps in the neighborhood. 

I/we did not use a realtor,  if you want to sell your house YOU can sell your house.  Don't get me wrong, realtors certainly have their place but if you have the time and your home doesn't require a unique buyer you can do it yourself.  The money you will save is mind boggling.

Let me preface this post by saying,  'staging' has nothing to do with faking things.  If you want to sell your house you must get it in tip top condition.  You must get it into the shape that is safe, not 'duct tape' shape.  'Staging' simply means it is nice to look distractions for potential buyers.

I understand that when selling there are a lot of variables that come into play... such as location, schools, the 5000 foot elevation of your driveway or that nasty neon orange house next door to you. Timing is important, if you have a house with lots of bedrooms it is usually tougher to sell in the middle of the school year. 

Selling a house is serious business, why leave anything to chance.  Once you've made that decision to move on, it's time to jump in and make it happen---stage it!  Clear the clutter.  Show it off!!  Don't be shy!

From personal experience, I have a few initial suggestions that are definitely in keeping with what realtors have finally come to realize.

#1 You must disassociate yourself from your home.  This, at least for me, is always the most difficult step but the most crucial to being able to move forward with what is necessary to move.  Once you decide to move, it will be a lot easier if you think of your home as just a house.  Soon it will be someone else's and you will have moved on.
The reason I feel this is so important is because in order to prepare your house to sell, you really need to create as blank a canvas as you can for prospective buyers.  You need to erase as much of your family to allow another family to envision themselves in the house.
The objective of staging is to prepare the house to be presented, not your family.

#2 You absolutely must become a semi-minimalist

Yikes!  No, no put the breaks on!  I said SEMI - minimalist not sterile minimalist!
You could perform surgery in this room.
 What I mean is it's time to pack away all your beloved knick knacks. Not everyone likes all those roosters in your kitchen, bathroom AND family room.  Take a look around your home and think 'welcoming hotel'.  I know this sounds cold, but that's because it is hard to imagine your home as a welcoming hotel.  Trust me on this.

All the clutter must go.  For some people this is just too overwhelming and paralyzes them from even beginning.  Take one room at a time, if it's a big room and you are a bit of a pack rat, break the room up and give yourself a set amount of time each day to work on it and then go have fun.  I guarantee you, once you start you will gain momentum and it will actually start to feel good tossing some of that stuff out. 

What got me to post on this subject was coming across the next few photos (blurry, sorry about that). 
This is the last home I owned (the 'marital' home that I was in).  It was really fantastic!  Here it is staged. When prospective buyers came by, I always added flowers and cookies or something welcoming.  Also a nice pamphlet with lots of photos of the house and yard and all the specifics about the house that they could take home.

View from the back.  Great deck---I miss the momma birds that would make their nests under the deck that we could watch progress of from the top!!!

That is all I have of that house.  Remember, this was before my discovery and epiphany of the blog world so I wasn't camera crazy and photo organized like I am now.

My big guy's house that I shared with him after I sold my house.  We lived there together a year until we sold it.  It was lovely with  lots of upgrades and a huge flat lot but not anything we would ever purchase as a couple.  Our taste is consistently older homes with loads of character.

Predictable kitchen

Great sized family room, great fireplace and amazing plantation shutters on the entire first floor.  I really love plantation shutters.  I wasn't sad to see that couch go!

Piano room.  Yes, he plays like a pro (seriously!).  He went to the New England Conservatory.  We painted the tray ceiling red and it really worked well with the paintings and the stark black piano.   

That is all I have to share for old photos which is a shame!! 

Be sure to angle furniture whenever you can, it adds visual interest to the room and steers away from the traditional up against the wall look. 
Clean your house!!  We recently looked at a beautiful home that was so dirty I couldn't believe it was being shown.  If I was the realtor I would have paid a service to come in.  You could see dust on all the drapes and it was obvious it had been building up for years.  If you can afford it, hire someone to come in and give it a deep cleaning, one less thing to deal with.

Touch up paint works wonders to brighten up a room, especially around door handles, moulding and risers of steps if they are painted. 
Be sure to de-clutter closets, people look at EVERYTHING including in your kitchen cabinets. 
It is perfectly OK to start packing and put things in boxes.  Sometimes that is the best way to 'hide' things that might be considered clutter to others.  Just have an area in the house where you keep all the boxes neatly stacked (preferably not the kitchen!).

Make sure all your light bulbs work.  There is nothing more irritating to a buyer when they step into a room in your basement and can't see a darn thing! 

Be sure to have some fresh flowers both indoors and out (potted is fine on the front steps).  Don't forget to tidy up the outside of any clutter, leaves, dirt piles....

I could go on and on.  I will leave you with two final tips and a few photos that I shared in a previous post (here) of my cousin's house that recently sold and was staged to perfection.  First tip: If you are selling your house yourself, have a sign in sheet for people (especially if you have an open house).  Have a place for them to leave an email address.  It is a great way to solicit feed back that they may not feel comfortable leaving while in the house. 

Never show your house alone or with just the kids.  Have someone with you, preferably a man.  Preferably 6'2", lean, rugged, handsome, big hands.....oh sorry I got carried away.  Safety first!

I leave you with some eye candy:

Safety first!!


  1. Love your ides, your tips are great, and your advice sound. It certainly helped me to clean out my clutter, and hide my knick knacks! Now my house has sold, we are finishing a deal on a new one and all has worked out. Now get that gorgeous guy to help me pack!! - Tricia

    1. So happy your house sold! Forge ahead (Hugh is on his way over)

  2. We have quite a bit of work to do before we sell, but I've been keeping staging in my mind. Thanks for this post. :)

    1. You are welcome! I hope any tidbit of info I gave was helpful.

  3. When it’s time to sell your house, have the time to inspect all corners of the house to see if there are damages that can stop your potential buyer from purchasing it. If you’re going to stage your house you might as well do it with some minor renovation to assure your customer that you as a responsible owner have taken care of his or her future home and it’ll be more satisfying to see that you have helped someone to find his or ideal home.

    Darius Degross

  4. The idea of staging your house is a very good concept,which now I was thinking of doing the same way that you did. The pamphlets did sure work it's way. I was having a great time looking at those old photos of your big guy.. He sure did have a good open floor plan and so does your cousin's house;both are a total knockout. Thank you for sharing your ideas on how to sell your house on your own.. I will do that,maybe it'll work for me too.

  5. Where can I find sliding doors like the one in this post?

  6. I definitely agree with your point, Lisa. Selling a house is putting your best foot forward for your clients and buyers. You have to present your house in such a manner that would increase your chances of selling it. A simple task such as cleaning the space and de-cluttering the house would be a good start to staging the house. Also, adding some features like a garden or a beautiful landscape would help increase the probability of getting a good deal for the house.

  7. I have the same thinking as yours. Actually, making your home available for home staging will make it easier to sell your home, and often for more money. Good thing you made the most out of the opportunity. Upon seeing the pictures, I’m actually convinced that it’s a dream home! It’s very spacious, and the piano room is so beautiful! :)



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