When it comes to preparing your home for sale (or a listing appointment), you will not only want to make sure your home is clean (see the helpful cleaning checklist previously posted here) but you will also want to stage your home…or even hire a home stager. As it has been said: the way a person lives in the property is not often how the property should be shown.


Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing /staging your home, when your Realtor® offers advice or you are working with a stager directly.

  • It is not personal. We work towards a common goal – wanting to sell your home the highest price possible to the best qualified buyer/situation for your home. Suggestions such as “decluttering,” “removing personal items or expensive keepsakes,” etc. is to help make your home appear most neutral for all buyers. It is nothing against your style or your items. (We haven’t really had this experience people taking this too personally but I know people do.) We, and some Agents, have seen many comparable homes, knowing the competition. If an Agent or stager has a suggestion on how to neutralize your home, or what to do / change, chances are they know what buyers are looking for in your town or neighborhood or what “showing to sell” looks like, so to speak.
  • Similarly, remove personal items. Photographers we work with also state the importance of this for photos. Have your daughter’s name on the wall in her room in big letters? While your home is listed, you may want to remove personal touches such as that as well as family/friend photos if there are many and sport team memorabilia. Buyers want to be able to picture themselves in their next home and that suggestion helps with that.
  • Remove any items of importance from plain sight or remove completely from the home. This is pretty self explanatory but includes things such as jewelry, artifacts, keepsakes, all prescriptions, personal and work files…and mail, etc.
  • Limit scents. Wicks, plugins, etc. may be needed but don’t overuse fragrance as it can bother some buyers (who may wonder what is being covered up).
  • Plan ahead. Contact an Agent when you are ready and believe it will be a good time to list a home. Also, if you are staging your home, allow adequate time for a stager to get your property ready for photos, to show, etc.
  • Make your home safe in all weather conditions. Is it rainy? Make sure you have a rug by the front door so people don’t slip on glossy tile (almost happened). Is is snowing or is there snow on the ground? Shovel / plow your driveway and sidewalk (happened before). Don’t expect people to view your home if they can’t get to it. Things like that can really bother buyers who make the trek out, motivated, to look at…and purchase…a home.
  • Make curb appeal…well, appealing. Add some plants, etc. to the front of your home (make sure it is clean and well-kept also) to make the buyer’s first impression a good one.

Tip: if you really want to move, you ultimately be moving anyway  so why not starting clearing out / donating / recycling / moving items today and not wait until you are about to move out?

This is not an all-inclusive list, just a guide.

View more staging tips here.

Written by the licensed marketing director.