Staging is the process of getting your house ready for potential buyers to see. This means making sure your house looks as appealing as possible so that it can sell quickly. While some sellers choose to use a staging professional, there’s plenty of steps you can take to stage your house on your own! We’ve compiled a checklist of must-ask questions that you should ask yourself to make sure your house is market-ready!

1. Does Your Curb Appeal Need a Boost?

This is he most asked question, and for good reason! People thinking of touring your home will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding if the spot is even worth looking inside. Make sure your home is ready to attract prospective buyers!

  • Power-wash house, drive, and walkways. (optional)
  • Make sure mailbox is in excellent repair, freshly painted, and with house number clearly visible.
  • Mow lawn and add fresh sod in bare areas. Trim shrubs, edge walks, drive, beds, and refresh mulch.
  • Repaint exterior light fixtures, front door, trim, shutters, entry/porch surfaces, and furniture as needed.

2. Are Your Outdoors Areas Staged?

  • Add a clean cheerful doormat, potted plants, and a couple of pieces of porch furniture with pretty pillows.
  • Be certain to “play up” every one of your patios, porches, and outdoor spaces. If buyers feel like you do not use these spaces, not only will they “lose value”, but even worse: they become maintenance issues to potential buyers!

3. Is There Any Disrepair That Needs to be Addressed?

  • Things like spots or damage on a ceiling, or cracks in a wall tend to be major red flags to potential buyers. They usually cost less to fix than buyers might deduct from the asking price.
  • If there are missing doors, trim, or any unfinished projects, finish them!

4. Are All Personal/Excess Items Cleared Away?

Show buyers it’s possible to have beautifully organized and spacious rooms! Storage sells houses, so make sure that you’re doing everything possible to emphasize how much storage your house has.

  • Storage sells houses – it always ranks high on a buyer’s priority list. Clear surfaces, floors, cupboards, shelves, and closets of “excess items” and purge anything unnecessary or unsightly. Pack up out of season clothing. Aim to have 20% open space in each closet with significant space between hangers and a clear floor. You want to show buyers open storage space, not a lack of storage!
  • Keep the kitchen and bath countertops clear! Only put out a few well-placed functional and pretty items.
  • Excess furniture and many area rugs can make a room feel smaller, because of space constraints. Some rugs can even become tripping hazards for potential buyers, so staging professionals often recommend removing some. This may require utilizing offsite storage temporarily, but this is well worth the trouble.
  • Pack up personal and taste-specific items (photos, diplomas, collectibles, religious/cultural items, etc). Potential buyers want to be able to picture themselves living there, so having unpersonalized décor will appeal to the majority of people looking at your house.

5. Is Your Home Sparkling Clean?

Every surface should sparkle! This is usually the easiest and cheapest way to help your property put its best foot forward.

  • Deep clean throughout, including all appliances.
  • Refresh bathrooms with an overlay of fresh silicone caulk at edges of tubs, showers, toilets, and sinks.
  • Use furniture-colored markers / wax pencils to avoid having worn-looking areas and to fix minor scratches on cabinets and furniture.
  • Professionally clean all carpeting and make hardwood floors shine!

6. Do You Have Any Pet Odors or Distractions?

Whenever possible, take your pet out of the house during showings. A noisy pet may cause some buyers to be uncomfortable, and in some cases, allergic or uncomfortable buyers will refuse to enter a property with a pet inside.

  • If you have pets, clean carpets, curtains, and all bedding. Be extra vigilant about vacuuming!
  • Be sure to hide food bowls, leashes, litter boxes, pet toys, and pet beds during showings.

7. Are Your Fixtures and/or Hardware Outdated?

Having up-to-date fixtures is really important to potential home buyers. It helps the home feel move-in-ready!

  • Consider replacing dated lighting/plumbing fixures, ceiling fans, and door hardware (especially the main entry lockset and fixtures in main “public” areas). Having more modern fixtures, like polished chrome or oil rubbed bronze, can really appeal to potential buyers. Antique cooper & brass fixtures are really making a comeback as well!

8. Have You Taken a Good Look at Your Floors?

Are your floors being shown off to their maximum potential?

  • At the bare minimum, give your floors a good cleaning.
  • Consider having carpets replaced if they are in bad shape. Clean, but rippled, carpet can often be re-streched for a much smaller cost than replacing the carpet. This can be done by any carpet installer.
  • Consider removing large area rugs covering beautiful hardwood to really emphasize the natural flooring.

9. Do Your Rooms Have Neutrally Colored Backdrops?

Taste-specific colors can really limit your pool of potential buyers. Make sure your wall colors can appeal to the highest number of people possible!

  • Always ensure your wall color is neutral and that the paint is clean/touched up as needed.
  • Remove any outdated wallpaper.
  • If your doors, casings, and trim looks old and outdated, give them a fresh coat of white paint.

10. Have You Added in Pops of Removable Color?

Just because the walls are neutral doesn’t mean the room has to be boring!

  • Use “removable colors” by bringing in on-trend color pops through throw pillows and décor accents. Mixing bright natural colors like blue and green with neutrals like gray and white can really update the feel of the house!

11. Is Your Home Warmly and Brightly Lit?

Great lighting is extremely important to potential buyers!

  • Do everything you can to emphasize the natural light of the house, including using light and bright paint colors and décor.
  • Make sure to replace any light bulbs that aren’t working.
  • Ensure that all fixtures and rooms have matching bulbs throughout.

Looking to sell your house? Have any questions? We can help!