Prepare Your House for Sale

Home Staging

Before your house goes up for sale, it’s important to think about how it should be presented to a prospective buyer. The best way to make a buyer “feel at home” is to create an environment similar to that found in a model home. If you’ve ever walked through a model home, you can picture yourself living there, right? When a buyer enters your home, they should feel the same way. Obviously, it would be difficult to recreate the feeling of a perfectly displayed home without starting from scratch, but there are some valuable techniques to be learned.

Home Staging is a technique that focuses on improving a property’s appeal by transforming it into a welcoming, attractive product that anyone might want. You want your home to appeal to the highest number of potential buyers, thereby selling it more swiftly and for more money.

The suggestions below require a minimum amount of time and expense to complete and are designed to make your house look its best and stand out from the competition.

•Make a List

The first thing to do as simple as it sounds; make a list. This can seem like an overwhelming process at first, but if you write things down and check them off as you go, things will go a lot smoother.

•Curb Appeal

The outside of your home is the first impression a potential buyer will have. Your property’s landscape is not limited to the lawn and shrubs but encompasses everything from the street to your doorstep. Assess what needs to be done to make your home more attractive from the outside. For a detailed list, go to Tips to Sell Your Home – “Exterior Curb Appeal.”

•Take the Home Out of Your House

It is very important to de-personalize your home before selling. The more personal items in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Remove a large percentage of items like family photos, memorabilia collections and personal keepsakes.


This is the time you go through your belongings and discover what items aren’t worth keeping. Get rid of the clutter now and you’ll have less stuff to move. Decluttering makes all rooms look bigger.

Kitchen – Remove small kitchen appliances, gadgets and knick-knacks from countertops. Organize your kitchen cabinets to demonstrate how much room you have. Cabinet organizers are also a good investment.

Bathrooms – Make sure all your personal care items are out of sight. Declutter countertops and organize bathroom cabinets.

Living Room – If your home is too crowded with furniture, consider putting some things into storage. Getting rid of excess furniture can be very effective and will help showcase the floor plan and maximize the use of space.

Bedrooms – Remove clutter from bedrooms and remove excess furniture to make the room appear open and spacious.

Closets Storage is something everyone needs and it seems we can never get enough of it. Remove half the stuff out of closets to increase their perceived size, then neatly organize the remainder. Rubberized wire closet organizers do a great job in helping fully utilize space.

Garage – Dispose of unused items that create clutter and may distract a potential buyer. Hold a garage sale or donate your unused items to your local thrift store. Box up everything you won’t need until you’re in your new garage.

•Cleanliness is Key

It’s important that your entire house is spick and span. A buyer who sees a house and garage that is meticulously clean and organized will have much more confidence in your property than if it were in a state of disarray. Clean your kitchen sink, countertops, cabinets, stove, oven, ventilating hood and microwave. Clean bathroom tubs, showers, sinks, toilets, vanity mirrors and light fixtures. Clean and organize your laundry area. Be sure to keep all closets and cabinets clean and tidy. If you have a fireplace, clean it out and put in fresh logs. Your windows, floors and bathroom tiles should sparkle. If your carpet needs stretching, get it stretched. Shampoo dirty carpet, rugs and upholstery, if necessary. Money on these services is well spent, and will be worth it when you get the selling price you’ve asked for. If you can't afford professional cleaning, do the cleaning yourself. Clean out the garage and keep it neat and organized.


To help with the decorating process of home staging, buy a couple of lifestyle magazines or go to and emulate what you see. Keep in mind, when it comes to painting and decorating, avoid bright colors. Stick with white or easy to work with light/neutral/earth tone colors. However, bright colors can be used for accents, like fresh flowers, towels, area rugs, accent pillows, colorful throws, drapery tie-backs or valances. When accessorizing, use items that you love and will compliment your interior. Play around with the placement of things until you’re satisfied and it feels good.

Entry – Here you have the opportunity to make a big statement in a small area. Move a prized antique table and floral arrangement or an attractive furnishing to the entry where it will have maximum impact. Replace plastic switch plate covers with brass or porcelain. A new entry or hall light fixture can make a great impression.

Kitchen – Enhance your kitchen by placing a decorative bowl of citrus fruit or a fresh flower arrangement on your countertop. Not only will it be pleasing to the eye, but it will create a wonderful natural fragrance.

Bathrooms – Add color and richness with new towels and a shower curtain. Dress up your bathroom countertops. Place a small vase of fresh flowers or place a couple of decorative clear glass jars with lids and fill one of them with bath soaps and the other with cotton balls and cotton swabs.

Living Room – Use mirrors whenever possible to enhance the perception of size. The strategic placement of a mirror over a mantle or across from a window can make a room look brighter and larger. A fireplace is one feature everyone can appreciate. Show it off to its best advantage. If your house is being shown during the winter, make a cozy, crackling fire. During warmer months, you can dress up the hearth with fresh indoor plants or dried flowers. Make sure to add some framed pictures, pieces of art, or candles to your fireplace mantle.

Bedrooms – Use attractive bedspreads and neutral colored curtains. Add some accent colors against a neutral background, such as accent pillows or wall art. Add a mirror to any wall to magnify bedroom size.

Garage – Hang gardening tools and loose articles on the wall.


Illumination is like a welcome sign. The potential buyer will feel a glowing warmth when you turn on all your lights. Let the sun shine in. Open draperies, curtains and window blinds and let the prospects see how bright and cheerful your home can be (Dark rooms do not appeal to buyers). Opened curtains also allow for good views to be seen. All bedrooms should be well lit.

•Soothing Sounds

Be sure to have soft, soothing music playing when showing your home. Make sure there is no outside noise to distract the home buyer from enjoying the different rooms in your home.

Smelling Great

Make sure your house is smelling its best. Invest in a few scented candles and set them around your living room, dining room, bedrooms and bathrooms. A liberal use of fresh flowers and plants will enhance any environment. Set flowers out on kitchen countertops, dining room tables, or coffee tables. These are a great source of scent, and visually pleasing as well.


If the temperature outside is hot, make the inside of your home cool. If the temperature outside is cold, make the inside of your home warm. You want to create a comfortable atmosphere so your potential buyers feel at home.


You can dramatically increase the saleability of your property by showing attention to detail and understanding the buyer’s need to visualize your house against a neutral backdrop.