Tips on staging your home

How to stage your home to sell

How to stage your home to sell The best part of owning a home is that you get to make it your own.  The paint colors, furniture, lighting, tiles, etc are all a blended representation of you.     

But when you are getting ready to sell your home, it’s really important that you start to look at your home with a business lens, not a personal one.  While you love that lime green wall in your family room, it might not be a turn off to buyers that are considering making an offer on your home.  We know it's not easy to undo something you love, even if it is lime green, but it is really important to let go of personal prefences and shift your focus to preparing your home to sell.    
So how exactly can you prep your home before you are ready to sell?

To help get you started on this big transition, we reached out to Nora Crosthwaite.  Nora is the founder of Stagerie, a platform that helps walk you through transition of depersonalizing your home so that it appeals to buyers.  She is also a real estate agent in Des Moines Iowa, and has spent years walking through homes with buyers.  She understands the impact staging can make in regards to how long your home sits on the market, and how much your home will sell for.  

You may have seen some truly awful real estate photos, and you also may have seen some truly stellar ones. I have too. But what are some typical staging recommendations? There are actually different levels of staging, so let’s break them down:

Staging for an Occupied Home

Occupied homes have their owners’ furniture, décor items, window coverings and more already in place. Because so much is there already, stagers will typically try to use as much of the owners’ current possessions as possible, while removing more of the personalization of the home. 

Keeping that in mind, here is what is normally recomended when staging your home to sell:

Pack away specific items:
Most owners have at least 1-2 extra furniture items in each room. Get a storage unit, hold a garage sale, or give away suggested items. By the way, while the typical advice calls that “decluttering”, we prefer to call it “pre-packing”. 

This is a big one. While owners may have pictures of friends and family everywhere, sports memorabilia, or even Star Wars helmets, stagers will want the home depersonalized. The more fun (or crazy) your stuff is… the less attention your actual house is getting from potential buyers!

Let there be light:
Many stagers will have you remove bulky curtains or even add lamps in strategic spots to maximize the light in the rooms. Light rooms feel more airy, and ultimately, bigger.

Add pops of décor:
This one may be surprising! After all, if you’ve stored extra items and depersonalized, why should you put things back? Because your stager will want your home to feel welcoming and warm, not clinical.

Wall touchups and painting:
Don’t be surprised if your stager has you remove wallpaper or paint over accent walls in a neutral color. While you may love your red kitchen, the colors can distract buyers from looking at how spacious your kitchen is. Even if you have neutral colors, stagers will also recommend you touch up any dings or nail holes that are easily visible. 

You may need to replace worn carpets or flooring, or change out very bold colors in your flooring. Just like paint, a quick flooring update can make a world of difference.

I know this will seem daunting to many people preparing their house for sale. All we can say is: it’s worth it!  Staging your home, even if it requires painting and flooring expenses, is almost always cheaper than even one price reduction. 

Staging for a Vacant Home

Surprisingly, it’s almost easier to stage a vacant home than an occupied one. 
Generally, stagers will still look closely at wall colors and flooring. Then, depending on your staging budget, you can choose to use a virtual staging service, or rent furniture and décor for a period of time. 

Virtual staging:
There are services who will take marketing photos of the empty house and place furniture in the photos. These services vary widely; if you use this option, make sure the photos look as realistic as possible. 

Placing furniture in the home:
Renting furniture and associated décor is more expensive, but has a big advantage: buyers can get the feel of the home with furniture in it when they walk through the door. 

Have a question for Nora?   Send her an email with your thoughts or questions about preparing your house for sale or check her out at

Our commitment to transparency:

This is not an ad and no compensation was exchanged for this article.  We selected Nora for this article because we believe in supporting consumer centric people within the real estate industry.  We also love to support female founders, like ourselves, that are setting out to make real estate work better for consumers.  

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