The Ultimate Checklist for Staging Your House (So It Sells in Record Time)
Staging your house can make you money. Seventy-one percent of sellers’ agents believe a well-staged environment increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer, according to the National Association of REALTORS® “2015 Profile of Home Staging.”
Just take this real world tale of two condo listings from Terrylynn Fisher, a REALTOR® with Dudum Real Estate Group in Walnut Creek, Calif., who also stages:
Both units were in the same complex. One hadn’t been staged or updated since it was built; the other was staged and had been slightly refreshed (a little paint here and there and one redone bath). Otherwise, both units were the same size and layout. The staged condo sold for about $30,000 more than the unstaged unit, she says. “People couldn’t believe it was the same model.”
Before your eyes turn into dollar signs, keep in mind staging isn’t guaranteed to get you more money. But it’s an important marketing tool to help you compete at the right price, which means you can sell faster. (A study from the Real Estate Staging Association bears this out.)
Helping buyers fall in love with your property takes more than running the vacuum and fluffing the pillows: It’s all about decluttering, repairing, updating, and depersonalizing, say real estate agents and stagers.
With help from Fisher and other sources, we’ve compiled the ultimate home staging checklist.
Let a slideshow of beautiful images play on your television like a screensaver.
Clear everything from countertops except one or two decorative items, like a vase of flowers or bowl of fresh fruit.
Pack up all the dishes except one attractive, matching set. Do the same with glassware, flatware, and cookware, and pare down all other cupboard and drawer items down to the minimum.
Scrub dirt, grime, and stains from walls, cabinets, and backsplashes.
Empty all trash cans and move them out of sight.
Go gender neutral in the master bedroom. Ditch those dainty, floral pillow shams or NASCAR posters.
Pack up all but the clothes you’re wearing this season to make you closets look larger.
Create a luxury spa look with a fancy soap dispenser, fluffy white towels, decorative baskets, candles, plants, a white shower curtain, and a new bath mat.
Take a daring sniff of the drains. Odorous? Clean them out, and deodorize with baking soda, boiling water, or vinegar.
Time for a new sink anyway? Try a pedestal sink to optimize precious bathroom space.
Have a dark corner or hallway? Brighten it up with a decorative mirror.
Neutralize the walls. If any rooms are painted in dark colors, repaint white or beige.
Replace those family portraits with interesting art placed strategically throughout the house. Avoid leaving dead space on walls.
Declutter! Consider it pre-packing for your move. Box up books, clothes, and personal items and place them (neatly!) in the garage or — better yet — a rented storage unit.
Don’t forget to include memorabilia in those decluttering bins. Family photos, diplomas, and the kids’ artwork should all go.
Do a deep (deep, deep) clean. Hire a professional cleaning service to clean your home from top to bottom — including carpets — before viewings.
Hang attractive house numbers that are legible from the road.
Brighten up your porch with fresh paint or stain.
Add a fresh coat of paint to the front door, preferably red, black, blue, or wood stain, so long as it complements the trim and doesn’t blend, says The Real Estate Staging Association. Steer clear of unconventional colors like purple.
Power-wash the house exterior, walkway, steps, driveway, and porch until everything sparkles.
Don’t forget your outdoor living space. Stage your patio like a second living room, with fashionable furniture, accent pillows, an outdoor rug, and other patio-friendly decor.
Scrub those pet stains on the carpets and rugs until totally gone or replace them if necessary. Try cleaning formulas made especially for pet odors.
Pet odors soak into your best friend’s favorite things. Completely remove pet beds (or Fido’s most-loved couch), blankets, toys, play structures, food bowls, and the like.
Make a pet hair sweep the last thing you do before you leave the house
Add a seasonal touch. Simmer cinnamon sticks in the fall and set out fresh cut lilacs in the spring.
Tidy like you’ve never tidied before.
is a freelance writer, editor and author whose work appears in such publications as Forbes BrandVoice, The Content Strategist and Business Insider. She’s constantly DIYing something in her Ann Arbor Cape Cod where she lives with a big human, a little human, and a silly, silly dog.