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You are here: Home > Organizing Advice > Organizing Tips > Stage Your Way to a Sold Sign
Stage Your Way to a Sold Sign

by Lori Vande Krol
Life Made Simple, LLC

The top goals of all home sellers are to sell quickly and at top dollar.  Staging a home appropriately can easily increase the selling price of your home by $5000 to $50,000 with minimal investment.  Following the steps below will make your home stand out above others, getting you on your way to a successful sale.  
  1. Disassociate.  It is important to look at the property no longer as your home, but as a piece of property that will make potential buyers reach for their checkbooks.  Say your good-byes and picture yourself handing the keys over to the new owner.  After you have let go of the emotional attachment to your home, you can more easily stage the house to appeal to the largest audience.
  2. Depersonalize.  Remove all personal items, including pictures and personalized décor items.  Potential buyers need to be able to walk into your home and see themselves and their personal items there.  Don’t let them be distracted by your child’s artwork, banners of your favorite football team, or a picture of your Great-Aunt Mitzie.  Colors and decorations should be neutral.

  3. Declutter.  Your house and property should be spotless and free of clutter.  Begin packing items that will not be needed and store them at an offsite storage location.  Clear off all countertops and tables.  Remove large furniture and other items that don’t help to show the true purpose of a room.  This will also make the rooms in your home appear larger and allow potential buyers to envision how their own personal items will look.  Don’t forget the closets and cabinets – potential buyers WILL peek. Organized, clutter-free storage areas will stand out.

  4. Deal with Repairs.  Ensure that all plumbing and electrical is in good working condition.  Replace burned out lightbulbs.  Deal with scratches in trim and woodwork.  Fill holes in walls.  Recaulk countertops, tubs and showers.  All of this will show potential buyers that the home has been taken care of.  Pay special attention to kitchens and bathrooms, the two rooms that often make or break a home sale.
  5. Deep Clean.  Every nook and cranny of your home should be clean and free of dust, crumbs, crayon marks, spots and stains.  Again, spend a little extra time on kitchens and bathrooms.  If flooring is stained beyond repair, consider replacing or offering an allowance for the buyer.  Wash windows and screens.  Clean up the garage and outside of your home as well.  Power wash the garage floor, front porch, deck and siding, trim bushes, mow the lawn and store kids toys and old furniture.

  6. Dazzle.  Remember you are trying to appeal to a wide audience, so consider updating walls, countertops, flooring, vanities, etc.  Does your home need a new coat of paint, inside or out?  Tone down any strong colors to appeal to a larger audience.  Realize what the most important assets are in your home and stage your home to accent those items.  For example, arrange furniture around a large fireplace.  Open shades and window coverings to show off large windows and a nice view.  Add finishing touches to make your home feel warm, bright, and welcoming for potential buyers.
In order to prioritize the items that will bring you the biggest return for your time and money, walk through your home and create a checklist of needed changes by room.  Drive by the front of your home to review curb appeal and walk around the outside of your home as well.  Then review your checklist and choose the items that you feel would bring the highest return.  Often, it helps to have a friend or family member walk through this exercise with you.  Consider hiring a home staging professional to create a checklist for you, help to prioritize items, and/or stage your home for you.