Staging Your Home

You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression!  A home that stands out among similarly priced homes is the one that sells.  The following suggestions for preparing your home for sale are worth the special attention:

Exterior Maintenance

  • Lawn carefully mowed, edged, fertilized, weeded, and cultivated

  • Trees and shrubs trimmed away from the home (shrubs generally pruned to below window height)

  • Driveways and walks free of grass clippings and mildew; consider power washing if this hasn’t been done in a few years (also check north walls of exterior for mildew)

  • Absence of clutter and debris in yard, driveway and flower beds

  • Fresh mulch in flower beds, especially in the front yard

  • Pots of colorful flowers on each side of front door or hanging on porch

  • Exterior house paint and caulk in good condition and clean, especially around the front door

  • All door locks open properly and easily (usually the front door, which doesn’t get much use,  can use a little graphite or lubricating oil in the lock)

  • Roof in good condition and free of excessive mildew/pine sap stains

  • Gutters free from leaves and pine straw

  • Shutters, screens and screen doors in good repair

  • Outdoor furniture clean and undamaged

  • All exterior lighting in working condition (with fresh light bulbs) and free of cob webs

  • Mailbox and house numbers free of rust and freshly painted/cleaned

  • Loose deck boards nailed down, rotten boards replaced, deck cleaned and waterproofed

  • Crawl space door free of rotten wood and freshly painted

Interior Maintenance

  • Walls clean and unmarked, preferably freshly painted with neutral colors

  • Windows clean inside and out (some sellers remove the  front window screens to allow more sunlight in and for a cleaner presentation)

  • All light fixtures working and with bright bulbs  (consider a higher wattage bulb in rooms with no windows)

  • Plumbing in good repair (no dripping faucets or loose fixtures)

  • Sinks and tubs stain-free

  • Disposal free of odors (run a cut-up lemon or other citrus through disposal)

  • Caulking in tubs and showers in good repair and mildew free

  • Major appliances clean and in good repair

  • Ceiling fans, light fixtures, heating and air return vents vacuumed and cleaned

  • Heating and air filters replaced

  • Loose doorknobs, sticking doors, and warped drawers repaired

  • Loose stair banisters tightened

  • Closets cleaned out and excess items stored away (good rule of thumb:  remove one-third to one-half of all items in all closets, which makes them appear larger)

  • Garage floors free of any major stains

Staging Tips

  • Consider renting a small storage unit away from the home to store excess furniture/personal items

  • Take down any offensive posters, artwork, etc. (if your teenager balks, blame me!)

  • Take down excessive family photos, putty holes, repair, and repaint (some sellers touch up paint using a Q-tip rather than a paint brush for very small areas)

  • Remove leaves from kitchen and dining tables to make rooms appear larger

  • Move furniture as needed so that a buyer can easily walk around within and in between rooms

  • Use white towels and accessories if bathroom or kitchen “permanent” colors are outdated

  • Keep a floor or table lamp on in any room which does not have a ceiling light or has dark corners (such as paneled or basement den) 

  • Put away and lock up any fragile, sentimental or very valuable items (including cash, jewelry, collectibles, etc.); safely secure any guns and keep ammunition and serial numbers in a separate location

  • Clean carpets, draperies, upholstered furniture,  if needed

  • Consider giving a carpet allowance if the carpet is excessively worn/stained (go ahead and get price quotes for a medium-or-higher-grade new carpet and pad, if you don’t plan to replace carpet prior to putting your home on the market)


Tips on selecting your Realtor
Tips on staging your home
Tips on pricing your home
How to Help a Realtor show your home
Tips for first-time sellers
Tips about agency representation
Tips about selling your home yourself
Tips for an easier move
Tips for moving with children