How to Stage a House For Sale

Staging a Home - How to Stage a House

Selling a house is a daunting task, whether you’re working on your own or using a realtor. You want to get the best possible price for your property without leaving it on the market for too long, and this process involves a lot of crucial steps.

One of these steps is home staging.

Staging a house is one most effective ways to attract potential buyers and make your home stand out in a crowded market, and all real estate professionals recommend home staging. Staging a house can highlight your home’s strengths and minimizes any flaws, making it more appealing to prospective buyers.

Here at Cento Family Moving & Storage, we’re moving experts, not real estate experts, so we reached out to MaryBeth Luiz, Owner of Property Love in Orlando, Florida for her insight on how to stage a house for sale (and why you need to do it).

What Is Home Staging?

Home staging is the process of making your home more attractive to potential buyers. The goal is to showcase the house’s best features while minimizing any flaws or drawbacks.

Staging a house involves arranging furniture, décor, and other items in the home to create the most welcoming, stylish, and inviting atmosphere as well as fully cleaning the house. This helps potential buyers envision themselves living in the space and makes it easier for them to see the home’s full potential.

Home staging can increase your property’s appeal and make it more likely to sell quickly and at a higher price. Cleaning and fixing any visible issues—like chipped paint, broken blinds, and moldy shower curtains—is a crucial part of staging a house. Potential buyers do not want to see too many things they’ll need to fix after all.

Home staging might be an extensive process, but it certainly has its benefits.

Real estate agents say that staging made it easier for their clients to visualize themselves in the home, and the most important rooms to stage are the living room, kitchen, and primary bedroom.

There are several options for staging your home. You can do it yourself with your own furniture, and maybe some rented furniture here and there. Many real estate agents will also help their clients stage their home either with recommendations or partner businesses that specialize in staging.


Why Should I Stage My House?

I keep my house clean whenever there’s a showing and I’m a pretty good decorator…do I still need to stage my home?

“Home staging is necessary in today’s market, as the competition is fierce,” says Luiz. “Staged homes allow prospective buyers to identify a purpose for each space and also envision themselves in the home.”

clean modern kitchen

Home staging is different from decorating it or doing a pre-showing clean up. When you decorated your home, you made it your own, but it’s the opposite when staging a house. Instead, you want to turn your home into a beautiful blank slate so that prospective home buyers can imagine themselves living there, not you.

According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, 83% of buyer’s agents said that staging made it easier for their buyers to visualize the property as a future home and nearly 40% reported a 1-10% increase in selling price.

Sometimes it’s hard to see your house through a buyer’s eyes. That’s where a professional home stager can help.

“My personal goal as a home stager is to make you feel as though you are home as soon as you walk in the door,” Luiz says.

But it can be difficult to do that if someone else’s family photos are on the mantle.


Tips for Staging Your Home

For those who would rather go the DIY route, these tips for staging your home will help your property put its best foot forward.

Make sure your home is beautifully and properly staged before your realtor takes any photos of your house for the listing. Buyers will likely see the photos before they see the house, and they won’t want to come for an up-close look if the photos are nothing to brag about.

If you have the time and money, you may even want to stage your house after you’ve moved out, to ensure that everything stays as pretty as the picture.

Here are 10 tips on how to stage a house to impress any buyer.

1. Give It Curb Appeal

covered front porch with railing and hanging flower baskets

Whether buyers first see your house online or in person, the exterior is the first thing they will see.

Give buyers a great first impression by refreshing any chipped or fading paint, adding some new plants, pressure washing any stained areas, and creating a welcoming entrance.

2. Clean

It’s one of the best things you can do to stage your home but also one of the most exhausting: keeping your house perfectly clean.

Whether you love to clean or not, there’s no denying that homes simply look nicer, bigger, and better maintained when they’re clean. “A clean, clutter free, and organized home is the first step to making your home feel inviting,” says Luiz, so get the entire household on board with getting it clean and keeping it that way.

Hire a professional cleaning company to take care of the areas you routinely ignore and consider bringing them in every couple of months while your house is on the market (if it even takes that long). Have your carpets professionally steam cleaned to refresh the fibers and get out any stains and keep the place looking clean at all times. This means emptying garbage cans at least once a day (or at least right before a showing), cleaning up messes as soon as you make them, and doing a thorough wipe-down and vacuuming every day.

The process is tiresome, but the results are well worth it.

3. Remove Clutter

Another part of making your home look clean and well-decorated is making sure it looks organized. “When it comes to staging,” says Luiz, “less is more.”

A messy, cluttered home could signal to buyers that there isn’t enough storage, so leave plenty of empty space.

Pack up lesser-used items (you’re moving anyway, right?) and stick them in a storage unit. Keep counters clear and leave plenty of space in each room for walking around. If you have young children, place boxes in (hidden) strategic spots, like under the bed, to quickly “clean up” before a showing.

Buyers may not peek under the bed, but they certainly will take a look at what storage space you have, so organize all the closets and pantries. Just as with the rest of the house, leaving plenty of empty space (or even an empty shelf, if you can afford it) will make your closets seem bigger than they really are.

4. Make Repairs

Potential buyers don’t have the information (or imagination) to know what your home has been through…or how well it will stand up to continued use. They might see just one or two broken items and assume the whole house is falling apart.

Take the time now to fix any broken appliances, hardware, or structural issues that could create doubt in buyers’ minds. Remember, now is not the time for costly renovations. Just focus on making your home look well-constructed and livable.

5. Remove Your Personal Touch

You love your family, friends, and pets. You cheer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers every football season. You collect and decorate with vintage comic books. These kind of personal details are great info for a dating profile, but your buyers won’t be as swayed by who or what you love.

Remove personal items (like family photos) to make your home feel more like the buyers’ home. Now is the chance to imitate those magazine spreads you love. The buyers will feel like they’re purchasing a showcase.

This also applies to any wallpaper or brightly painted walls. Go with a neutral color instead. Leaving up your bright pink floral wallpaper might not be a dealbreaker, but it could encourage your buyers to offer a lower price.

6. Include All Rooms

When staging your house to sell, it can be tempting to focus only on the major living spaces. But remember, buyers will want to examine the whole house before they feel ready to make an offer, so don’t forget about your bedrooms, bathrooms, dining room tables, garage, and outdoor spaces.

Fire pit in a modern backyard with patio furniture.

Set the table with a set of pretty dishes and an attractive centerpiece. Light some candles in the bathroom and bring out some decorative soaps. Clean out or organize the garage. Keep everyone’s bed made and the bedrooms picked up.

Even if you’re continuing to live in the house you’re trying to sell, consider the house as if it’s already sold and don’t allow yourselves to “move back in.”

7. Rearrange Furniture

Creating a more comfortable furniture arrangement can make a room feel bigger as well as more inviting. Start by removing at least one piece of furniture from every room (this will make any room automatically seem bigger). Next, arrange furniture for aesthetics, not what’s easiest or most convenient for your lifestyle.

Feel free to move artwork and furniture to different rooms in order to show everything to its best advantage. Your realtor might have some experience with this, so ask his/her advice when rearranging, or enlist the help of a friend with a good eye for design.

8. Lay Out the Red Carpet

When bringing potential buyers into your home, make sure you put out a welcome mat…literally. Make buyers feel special by setting out a pretty welcome mat at the front door and filling your home with inviting scents, sights, and other treats.

Fresh flowers, fancy towels, homemade cookies, and other touches of hospitality will create an association in the buyers’ mind that your house = home. Open the window coverings to make everything feel light and bright.

Making buyers feel like a million bucks could entice them to offer a million bucks…or, you know, at least your asking price.

9. Show the Possibilities

If your home has awkward spaces, add a few items to suggest how buyers might use them. Showcase your home’s potential.

wine bottle and glasses artfully arranged in staged kitchen

For example, a recessed space in the living room can be staged with throw pillows and a stack of books to create a cozy “reading nook.” A breakfast tray with cups and a small bud vase can turn a previously unusable patio into a cute spot for morning coffee.

To make dark rooms more inviting, scatter different light sources around the room at different heights. A good rule of thumb is 100 watts for every 50 square feet. Buy some inexpensive floor or table lamps if you don’t already have them.

You can make small spaces seem bigger by carrying the paint color into an adjacent room. (The continuous color makes it seem like one big space.)

If you have an empty room but no money to furnish it, use the excess items you removed from your other rooms to stage the unused space.

The areas that might have seemed “ho-hum” at best are now amazing selling points.

10. Highlight the Storage Space

The top rooms people look at when buying a home are the kitchen, owner’s suite, and living room.

In addition to updated appliances, storage space is a major selling point. So highlight the storage capabilities everywhere in your home. Declutter all the kitchen and bathroom cabinets as well as the closets to show how much can really fit in there.

What Does Home Staging Cost?

The cost of staging a house will depend on the method you choose for home staging and the size of your home.

DIY home staging is usually the most affordable option but you’re doing most of the work yourself, even if you bring in a professional cleaning service. While hiring professional stagers will cost you more up front, there’s also a greater chance of getting that money back when the home sells quicker and at a higher price.

Getting a home staging consultation—either from your real estate agent or professional stagers—is recommended because it’s always best to hear what the experts have to say before you get started.

Some cost-saving methods are to focus your priciest staging on only the home’s most important aspects. The exterior, entryway, living room, kitchen, and primary bedroom. There are also parts of the staging process you should do yourself—decluttering and taking down personal effects—while leaving the larger projects to professionals—moving furniture and repainting walls.

In the end, home staging won’t be a free process, but it will ultimately help you sell your home faster, so it pays off in the end.

Get the Home Staging Help You Need

Home staging can sound intimidating, but it’s well worth it if you want to sell your home quickly.

Whether you hire a professional home stager for one room or the entire house, make sure you take the process seriously. If it’s important to buyers, it should be important to you!

When it comes to staging a house, Cento Moving is the partner you need. We have been providing Orlando homeowners and real estate agents with quality service for more than 10 years and look forward to many more.

We work with realtors and interior designers throughout the staging process by packing and storing any necessary belongings, delivering and moving furniture, and more.

We also carry $250,000 more than the required amount of insurance to give our clients and partners extra peace of mind. Designing a home for staging is hard enough, so don’t sweat the small stuff. Let Cento Moving take care of that for you. Call us today to find out how partnering with us can make your job that much easier.


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