Selling A Home – Does House Staging Make a Difference?

June 23, 2011


There are a couple of old “rules” in real estate.

1) Your first offer is always your best offer AND

2) The home has to be in “saleable” condition. Yes, “staging” makes a huge difference. Do we have to hire a professional stager? No, not necessarily. There is a time and place for their expertise, but generally there are a number of things we can do to make the home more appealing to buyers. As a Realtor, I discuss with my clients in detail what can be done. We have to remember that a home can’t be marketed the same way it is lived in. How many times in normal everyday life is our home “party ready”? I will speak for myself…with 2 boys and 3 dogs…RARELY. It would take tremendous effort for me to get my home ready for market, but here are a few items I would focus on first.

First and foremost… clean.

Clean from top to bottom as if preparing for a party. If your house isn’t clean, it sends negative thoughts that the home is not well maintained. Fresh flowers are a nice touch. Remove any silk flowers.

A property that appears “spic and span” goes a long way in combating buyer fears.

Take the extra steps to make a “used” house look new again. Stage the home removing personal pictures and clean surfaces of any clutter. Get rid of the cobwebs in the corners of the front porch. Remove furniture if necessary to show more floor space. Give up on lighting the candles. We use to like the nice scent, but not anymore. Buyers don’t want the odors masked…they want them GONE. Baking chocolate chip cookies or an apple pie prior to a showing is still nice. It provides a feeling of comfort. If you plan on dinner in the Crockpot leave out the curry, onions or garlic.

Here are a few staging tips.

1. Decorate for the buyer, not your family…simple and clean. Allow the buyer to be able to mentally place their items.

2. Freshen landscape and mulch. Trim plants for a tidy look. Place colorful flowers at the front entrance.

3. De-clutter every room to make it look larger. Go ahead and start packing family photos and small items placed on surfaces for your enjoyment. Make certain there is nothing on the floor in closets and all clothing is neatly hung. Remember to make the beds.

4. Make sure all window coverings are pulled back and blinds are tilted slightly up to bounce light off the ceiling. Replace all burned out light bulbs. The idea is for the home to be light and bright.

5. Decorate the room to its primary purpose, ie: a formal dining room as a dining room, not an office and a bedroom as a bedroom, not a gym or craft room.

6. Re-Caulk around wet areas and crown moulding if necessary.

7. Create an outdoor room, if possible, and leave some lemonade and “to go” cups for your guests enjoyment. We want the buyer to remember this house.

8. Pets inside? Remove food bowls and litter boxes to the utility room or garage if possible. Deodorize. Know that there are some buyers that won’t even go look at a home if there are pets living inside. Take your pets with you when the home is being shown. This will give the potential buyer full reign of the house.

9. Remember, you are selling your home. View it as a buyer would. The buyer, most likely, doesn’t want to deal with ANY problems. Eliminate those that you are aware. Any home that is “move in ready” (spotless with no immediate standard homeowner upkeep required) will sell for more money.

10. Ask a friend or your Realtor to view the property prior to the first showing.

Now you are buyer ready! Best Wishes.


Kim Rutledge

479-841-7302 – Anytime number

Fax: 479-444-7546


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