Seller's Guide:

Ideas for Staging a Home

As a seller, one of your biggest questions is how to add value to your home before you put it on the market. Making repairs and staging a home properly can add to your bottom line. According to the National Association of Realtors® 2015 Profile of Home Staging, most sellers’ agents believe that staging your home will increase offers, possibly by as much as 10%.



How to Prepare My Home for Listing

Preparing your home for sale is not an easy or quick task, but the results can be well worth the effort. To assess what must be done, tour your own home and be critical. Try to evaluate each room as if viewing the house for the first time and see what could possibly diminish the value of your home in a buyer’s eyes. This is also a great time to note and fix any lingering problems that were acceptable to you, but might cause a buyer to move on. Maybe ask a friend for help. Sometimes a new person will see things you have missed.

Your Sales Associate can also give you recommendations. He or she will know about the other houses for sale in your area and which upgrades are worth your time and money.

While there are almost always larger renovations that can be done: an updated kitchen or bathroom, a finished basement, these can require a large investment. Assess your situation and comparable homes for sale in your area before you make any significant financial commitments. Most homes are valued based on the comparable homes recently sold in the surrounding area. Improving the house significantly beyond the average of the neighborhood might not yield the desired results.

The rooms in your home should be as brightly lit, clean, and neutral as possible.
  • Patch any cracks or nail holes and clean up any large marks or stains on the walls and ceiling.

  • If you have bold colors or walls that could use refreshing, consider repainting in a neutral color.

  • Clean the carpets and flooring, replacing any tiles that are cracked or peeling.

The bathroom and kitchen are important rooms when making a decision about buying a house.
  • Clean or replace any dingy grout.

  • Apply fresh caulk if needed.

  • Make sure there is no visible rust or dirt on the fixtures; the shinier the better.

  • Consider replacing or refinishing any old and outdated appliances or fixtures.

The outside of your home is just as important as the inside; it is the buyer’s first impression.
  • Clean up the yard and remove anything that doesn’t belong.

  • Trim any trees or bushes that might be encroaching on your home.

  • Consider a fresh coat of paint for the house and the front door or a power wash for aluminum siding.

Most homeowners say that they spend more time preparing to sell their home than they expect. Often when they try to fix one problem, they uncover several more. Budget your time carefully so that you can meet any specific goals in selling your home.

How Should I Stage My Home?

Staging a home is setting up your house to be viewed by others. Some sellers choose to work with a professional stager. They will work with you to help you get ready to show your home. It’s also possible to do it yourself with excellent results. Ask your Sales Associate to guide you in this process as well. Buyers are usually looking for a bright, open space and they appreciate a clean, neat appearance both inside and out.

De-cluttering is a big part of the process of staging a home. Remove personal items from around your home such as family photos and decorative items that are valuable or could easily be broken. Buyers want to see uncrowded walls, shelves and countertops. If you have a tight space, you might also want to consider removing any furniture that interrupts the flow of the home. Buyers will open your closets and built-in drawers, so be sure they are neat and organized.

Try to add light to any dark corners. Consider replacing pictures with mirrors to open up a space. Keep your kitchen counters clean and consider new, matching accents. Make the bath look luxurious with some new towels. Something as simple as pretty soaps and a few candles can make a bathroom feel like a spa. Another easy upgrade is to replace cabinet hardware. This small change can result in a new look.

For the outside of your home, planting flowers can be a nice, welcoming touch. Adding lighting to your landscaping can also increase your curb appeal. Solar lights are an easy and reasonably-priced enhancement.

The final step of staging a home is to carefully eliminate any information that can be learned about you from your personal possessions. Remove diplomas, wedding and vacation photos and any religious articles from your walls and shelves. Keep mail hidden away. Don’t leave anything around that could give a hint about your motivation for selling. You don’t want a buyer’s opinion of you to negatively affect their offer or willingness to negotiate.

De-cluttering is a big part of the process of staging a home.

Should I Get a Home Inspection?

Presenting a potential buyer with an inspection has many advantages. You’ll know exactly what needs to be done and if you choose, you can address the issues in your own time, at your own pace. Buyers will feel more secure if you are upfront about any issues, especially if your home is older. Also, if you are direct with the buyer about problems, they are more likely to trust you. As a seller, you don’t want to be surprised by any large issues found during the buyer’s inspection which the buyer can use as leverage in negotiations, especially if there is time pressure.

Should I have My Property Surveyed before I List My Home?

Surveys are not required by law everywhere but are usually a part of closing. Having a survey done in advance offers similar advantages to a home inspection in advance and with one additional feature. It’s possible that the lender and the title company will accept your survey and eliminate the need for an additional cost at closing.

A survey will help to show the exact size and borders of the property, if there are easements and, if applicable, the location of the well and septic system. A survey will also tell you the location of utility wires and pipes on the property. It helps to give the buyer a full picture of what they might be buying. It could also expedite a sale by saving the buyer the time of finding the information themselves.

Key Takeaways:
Ideas for Staging a Home


When preparing a home for sale, remember that buyers are looking for rooms that are as brightly lit, clean and neutral as possible.


The bathroom and kitchen are important rooms when showing a home. Clean or replace any dingy grout, apply fresh caulk, if needed and make sure there is no visible rust or dirt on the fixtures.


Part of staging a home is removing items that can give away any personal information. Remove diplomas, wedding and vacation photos and any religious articles from walls and shelves. If a buyer forms an opinion about the seller, it can negatively affect their offer.


Getting a home inspection before listing tells you exactly what is wrong and allows you to address the issues in your own time, at your own pace. It also eliminates any surprises during escrow.