Top 10 Rules for Staging the Home You're Living In

Here are my tried-and-true staging rules to help you get your home ready for market.

Great-looking listing photos are the most important part of staging a home for sale. Buyers look online before ever stepping foot in your for sale home, so the better your photos look, the more attention your listing will get.  Here are 10 rules for staging that will get the home you're selling photo and showing-ready. 

  1. Perfect Curb Appeal  If you want your home to get the attention it deserves from buyers, start at the curb.  Make potential buyers fall in love with your home from the street by adding potted plants and flowers, power-washing patios and walkways, and tidying the lawn and landscaping.  It's your first chance to make a good impression, so you've got to make it count.
  2. Make it Shine  Clean has a good smell that buyers can detect upon first entrance to your home.  From the carpets, to the kitchen, to the grout and tile, and windows, getting your home in pristine clean condition - even if it means hiring outside help, will pay off.
  3. Fresh Paint  It's the best bang for your buck that will quickly refresh a dull, dated room. Fresh, neutral color can instantly bring new life to an otherwise tired looking home.  There are plenty of options to choose from, but I recommend using one of these two white paint colors for best results!
  4. Light & Bright  Neutralize strong colors for the broadest appeal. A neutral home appears larger and has less chance of offending someone. Also, open up blinds and draperies to make sure there's sufficient natural light throughout the home. Remember, lighting is the most effective way to set a mood.  Spaces that are well lit with natural, artificial, or a combination of the two are most appealing.  ☝️ Add a floor lamp in a dark corner of the room to visually expand the space and make it appear more welcoming.  
  5. Depersonalize  Chances are your home has great interior design that fits your tastes and the way you live.  But, staging is different than interior design.  A staged home appears neutral so that a broad range of prospective buyers can picture themselves calling it "home."  The simplest way to do this is by depersonalizing.  Store away personal items such as religious artifacts, family photos, awards, and diplomas.  Taking yourself out of the picture makes it easier for buyers to imagine themselves, and their stuff, in your space.
  6. Consider Your Furnishings  Less is more when it comes to staging.  Consider removing any furniture that won't be necessary to your daily life while your home is on the market.  To keep your home light & bright, add throw pillows or light-colored rugs and linens to dark furnishings or floors.  Rearrange furniture to open up each room and make it appear inviting to buyers.  If you have outdated furniture or an empty room that feels hollow, lease-to-own furniture rental companies often provide free delivery and affordable monthly rent rates.  This will help your home look fresh, clean, and current, which is what buyers want.  
  7. Fresh Floors  Replace worn carpet, and consider refinishing shabby hardwood floors. An inexpensive new area rug is a quick fix and can disguise the look of old floors.  ☝️ Replacing carpet before you list your home is usually more cost effective than offering a carpet allowance and it sets the 'stage' perfectly.  What buyer wouldn't love walking into a home with new carpet vs. replacing the carpet themselves.  Bonus: your listing photos will look better with new carpet.
  8. Look at Your Hardware & Lighting  Renew the look of the room by replacing old or dated light fixtures, door hardware, light switches and outlets. If it's dated or unappealing, swap it out.  Light fixtures can transform a space, and they don't have to be costly.  Replacing cabinet hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to update.
  9. Make Repairs  Repair squeaky doors, chipped or smudged paint as well as broken fixtures and fittings that you may have neglected.  Left undone, these little things add up big time in the mind of the prospective buyer and put you at risk of receiving an offer below your asking price.
  10. Add Tasteful Props  Think of the picture-perfect interiors you see when you scroll Pinterest or watch HGTV.  Buyers will be delighted to find that your home has a similar look.  Without spending a lot, you can add staging props that will 'wow' buyers.  

Some of my favorite fool-proof staging props from Amazon:


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