Staging to Sell

Even in a hot market, a home won’t sell quickly unless it’s properly staged.

All markets have unrealistic sellers - especially a market that’s sizzling hot. In a seller's market, homeowners may be overconfident that their properties will sell quickly at a premium price with little or no marketing or staging. But even in the hottest residential markets, some homes don't move as fast as they could.

One way to sell older homes for more is to make minor improvements to your property, even if you think you don't have to. Often, you may need to ask for feedback from others to help you to honestly assess some of the unattractive aspects of your home in order to make it more neutral to prospective buyers.

If a home hasn't generated interest in the first several weeks of listing, it’s either overpriced or it needs to be re-staged. While your agent can help you with this, it is a sensitive topic -telling someone their house doesn’t look good is like telling them they have ugly children. The most important thing to remember is that your home will be competing with other homes on the market for the buyer's attention. You want them to see themselves living in your home, not necessarily how YOU live in the home. Over-personalization is usually counterproductive to the goal.

Sellers don't always realize that it's human nature for buyers to educate themselves by visiting as much housing inventory as possible, including new homes in the area. Buyers are comparing all homes to an ideal, such as new models they've visited, or other homes in the neighborhood that have the improvements and features they want. Buyers want the most they can get for the money, and any home that is lacking will be ignored or bid lower by buyers, regardless of the market.

Buyers have those beautiful model homes in mind when they tour someone’s private home for sale. The difference is no one lives in a model home. They are decorated simply to improve the potential of a sale. Sellers need to keep that in mind and ‘stage’ their houses to make it appealing to potential buyers.

Over-populated Walls, Counter Clutter, and Full Closets

A full wall of family photos can make a potential buyer uncomfortable and make a room feel smaller. The same goes with countertops that have accumulated clutter from everyday life. Maneuvering around excess furnishings to get around the home is also an interest killer. Every time the eye has to stop and look at something, it causes a break in continuity or flow in the potential buyer’s mind. Full closets give a potential buyer the impression that there is not ample closet space.

With few exceptions, every home benefits from some sort of staging. Here are some tips for making a home more attractive to potential buyers.


  • Paint - neutral colors
  • Remove huge photo collages
  • Clean the cabinets
  • Dust the home
  • Re-caulk showers and tubs
  • Store seasonal clothes
  • Eliminate unnecessary furniture
  • Get rid of the clutter
  • Clean the closets
  • Organize the kitchen cupboards
  • Make sure the house smells good by burning candles and using air fresheners
  • Set the dining room table for company


  • Apply a fresh coat of paint to the most visible areas
  • Make sure the street-appeal is strong with colorful flowers and a manicured appearance
  • Put away garden tools
  • Clean the windows
  • Replace burned out lights
  • Clean the garage
  • Clean up after Fido
  • Power wash the driveway and sidewalks
  • Pick up the children’s toys in the yard
  • Clean or replace the house numbers
  • Spray down the house to remove cobwebs
  • Provide regular pest treatment to eliminate any signs of infestation

Dress for Success, Every Time

You never know when the right potential buyer is going to come through. Treat every showing as if this is the one that will get you the offer on your home that you've been waiting for.

CENTURY 21 Affiliated agents understand the short sale process and can assist you with the sale portion of your property. Please contact us for all of your real estate needs, and you'll see why we are a consistent annual achiever of the prestigious CENTURY 21® President’s Award, Quality Service Award and the Centurion Office Award since 1977.