Articles-To stage or not to stage?

Generally, if you want to sell your home quickly and for top dollar, "Staging" can help. "Staging" is presenting your home in its best and most appealing light to the majority of home-buyers. In theory, "staging" isn't hard or costly, but in reality, many homeowners find it difficult because it's often hard to see something objectively when we love it.

It is more difficult to see the forest for the trees, past and then through. all the memories that make your HOUSE, your HOME. You want people/ buyers to envision their lives within your home, not be voyeurs in yours. To accomplish that you need a pleasing palette that offers a blank but not STARK canvas. An easy way to see effectively "staged" homes is to visit decorated models. Decorating a model is expensive, but builders are willing to invest the cost because they understand just how well a "staged" home sells. You too can profit from this knowledge.

Basic Staging Rules

  1. Clean. Your home must sparkle! To achieve this level is usually only feasible by hiring a cleaning crew. In fact, having a cleaning service return weekly while your house is for sale is probably a pretty good investment. Get your windows professionally cleaned inside and out too.
  2. Fix. Got a dripping faucet or a cracked tile? These will send the wrong message to potential buyers. Getting them fixed before you put your house on the market is a smart idea.
  3. Eliminate Clutter. The "50% Rule" requires that you eliminate the clutter in your home by at least half. This may be the hardest rule of all! We love our clutter - - it reflects our memories, hobbies, and values. But it doesn't sell homes! Clutter makes homes seem smaller and disorganized. (Have you ever noticed that the really expensive stores seem to have an expansive, clutter-free layout, while "cheap" stores are often a jumble of merchandise?) Even the ancient practice of Feng Shui has as a central focus the elimination of clutter.
  4. Executive Neutral. Neutral colors sell. It's a fact. Try to convey an image of quality and neutrality. Potential buyers walking through your home want to imagine themselves as the owners. If you use styles or colors they would never select, you've just turned them off. Staying high-quality, but neutral is safest.
  5. De-personalize. Remove objects that your potential buyers won't be able to identify with. For example, political and religious items may turn off whole groups of buyers, because they cannot "imagine" your home as their home. Buying a home is an emotional decision, and you want potential buyers to make an emotional connection with your home by being able to "see" themselves in it.

Some samples-click to view larger versions

Make your home sparkle with staging Neutral colours sell De-personalize your home

The Test

Wondering if something is acceptable "staging"? Visit a model home to see if they do it. For example, can you leave your high-end, designer toaster out on your kitchen counter? Nope! You won't find a single toaster in the kitchens of model homes. Can you display an artsy topiary tree on your kitchen counter? Yes. Model homes do!

Some Specifics

Curb appeal

They say you can only make one "first impression," and people usually form their first impression within 30 seconds. What potential buyers see when they drive up to your house will be their first impression. This is a good place to spend a little extra time and money. Plant flowers, trim bushes, weed, pick up leaves, repaint your front door, replace tarnished house numbers or a dented mailbox, get a brand-new neutral doormat, park your old car somewhere else.

The entrance

The first glimpse inside your home should give potential buyers positive, uplifting feelings. Make your entryway as light and bright as possible. Leave all the lights in the house on. (Have you noticed that model homes do this?) Get rid of all area rugs. (Even authentic, high-quality carpets should normally be removed since they break up the expanse of floor space, making rooms look smaller.) Limit your cooking to very plain foods so odors don't linger. (No cabbage, garlic, or onions!) On the other hand, freshly baked chocolate chip cookie smells are just fine! (They evoke a homey feeling for almost everyone.) Read on for some of my favourite cookie recipes!


Kitchens sell homes, so the importance of making your kitchen appealing can't be underestimated. Clean and de-clutter! Anything taking up counter or floor space must go (the only exception would be the types of designer touches seen in model homes). Anything displayed on the refrigerator must go. If your cabinets are old, consider resurfacing them. If your counter knobs are old or out-of-date, replacing them can be a relatively inexpensive "facelift." Get a woodtone touchup stick from your home supply store and fill in any nicks and scratches. Shelves and pantries must appear orderly and very spacious. Put those extra items in your newly rented storage unit or give them away! Pods can be delivered to your front lawn, for storage, and delivered to your storage space awaiting your move.

Get out the clutter from the house you are trying to sell!

Continue to part 2...