Stellar Staging Tips

Work with sellers to make sure the listing looks its best at open house time.

  • Ask the sellers to clear out their closets and their clutter. Encourage them to hold a yard sale or donate unwanted household goods to charity.
  • Encourage the sellers to pack up extra toys, linens, small kitchen appliances, and the like and store them offsite or in the garage.
  • Be sure the trees are trimmed, the shrubs are pruned, and the lawn is mowed and watered regularly. Turn on the sprinklers for five minutes 30 minutes before the open house. It makes the lawn and driveway sparkle.
  • Ask the sellers to refrain from cooking anything that leaves a distinctive odor (fish, garlic, cabbage) and from introducing any other unappealing odors into the home.
  • Ask the sellers to have a professional service clean the home, including the carpets and the windows.
  • Set the dining room table with attractive linens, dishes, and stemware.
  • Ask the sellers’ permission to serve cookies and coffee; people will linger longer. But be sure to clean up any mess after the open house.
  • Arrange fresh flowers throughout the home and have a fire in the fireplace in fall and winter.
  • Add extra lamps in dark rooms or dark corners, and turn on the lights when you show the home to prospective buyers.
  • Remove stacks of magazines, ashtrays, sports trophies, family photographs, and other distractions. —Barb Schwarz, in “How to State Your Listings So They Sell Quickly,” The Real Estate Professional, July/August 1998)

Some of the tips in this section were adapted from “HomeStaging: The Key to Successful Selling,” by Matthew Vossier and Liz Talbot, National Relocation & Real Estate,Vol. 13, No. 6

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