How to Stage Your Home to Sell Quickly

For many reasons, homebuyers have gotten pickier about houses they’re willing to buy, so if your home appears unkempt and uncared for, you can probably expect it to sit on the market for a while. Selling a house often takes hard work and sweat, and, unfortunately, the swallowing of one’s ego. Whether you’re about to list your house, or already have and received negative feedback, we’ll help you avoid the most common staging pitfalls.


1. Clean everything.

Buyers who go into dirty houses instantly have two thoughts flash across their minds.

1.“Why am I wasting my time?”

2.“What else are they not taking care of?”

It’s the second one that should worry you most. Buyers assume that if you can’t go through the trouble of picking up dirty laundry, making your bed, washing dishes, or taking out the trash, your home probably has a whole host of problems you’ve also failed to address.

Regardless, you should clean up your home so buyers can better visualize what it would be like with them in it. If all they can see is a mess, they’re not going to see what makes your home beautiful.

paying off your mortgage

2. Address all known problems that you can afford to address.

A couple pieces of siding aren’t that expensive to replace, nor is a dated sink all that hard to switch out. Fixes that cost less than a few hundred dollars should always be addressed. They can add up, sure, but if you do get an offer on your house without having fixed anything, don’t think it’s going to be anything other than a low-ball offer. You’ll lose far more than you would ever spend on cheap fixes.

3. Clear all paths.

Yes, if your house hasn’t sold, you still need to be able to live comfortably in it. However, if you’ve listed your house, you can’t think of it as yours anymore. Get rid of all excess chairs or anything else that blocks the flow of traffic within your home. Don’t make people walk around coffee tables and La-Z-Boys just so they can get to your kitchen. If your house doesn’t have clear, easily traversed pathways, it will seem small and cramped no matter how many square feet it has.

4. Repaint non-neutral walls.

This is one of those ‘swallow-your-ego’ moments. You may love the bold red you chose for an accent wall or den, but that doesn’t mean everyone is going to. Put your personal aesthetics to the side until your next home, and throw a quick neutral color up on the wall. If you’ve painted your whole house a bold color, then it probably won’t be worth your time and money, but if it’s just a small room, accent wall, or bathroom, then you should do it. The smallest things can throw buyers off.

5. Make sure all surfaces are clean.

You don’t need to replace your kitchen countertops with granite, but definitely make sure they are 90% clear of clutter. A coffeemaker or vase of flowers is fine, but stray pens, open bags of chips, or frequently used pots and pans need to find another home during the showing. It’s OK to stuff them underneath the counter as long as you can easily close all the doors!

Kitchen tables also need to be completely clear of random stuff and should be staged in such a way that they appear ready to host a dinner party.

6. Clean up your yard and the outside of your house.

Get fresh pots of flowers for your porch, cut your grass, rake your leaves, and power wash your decks and siding. Have a gravel driveway but numerous weeds growing through the rocks? Spray them with weed killer. Fresh mulch around bushes and small trees also goes a long way, as does making sure every window is sparkling clean. Also, how does your mailbox look? Your mailbox will be the first thing people see when they’re looking for your house, meaning it, too, needs to look clean and freshly painted.

As we said earlier, it takes a lot of hard work and sweat to sell a house.