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How to Stage a House for Sale While You're Still Living in It

Staging your home can help you sell faster. If you're still living in your house, there are still many ways you can still stage your home and pare down your belongings to help attract buyers. These 4 tips will help you find ways to ensure your home is always ready for last-minute showings.

Home Staging

Updated October 30, 2019

Decluttering, cleaning, arranging, decorating — all of these things play a vital role in your ability to sell quickly and for a decent price.

But how do you stage a home when you're still living in it? This is often easier said than done.

The good news is there are some simple steps you can take to get your home in tip-top listing condition — and keep it that way for the duration of the sale — even if you're not planning on moving out until after closing.

Your first step should be to seek guidance from an expert. Top realtors sell hundreds of homes per year, so they know exactly what local buyers are looking for when it comes to staging.

If you'd like to speak with realtors in your area, Clever can help. We'll introduce you to one or more top-rated, local agents that specialize in your neighborhood.

Ask questions, get advice, decide if they might be a good fit to help you sell your home. Our referrals are 100% free and there's never any obligation to sign.

> Get in touch to connect with top-rated, local agents.

Read on for some useful home-staging tips and tricks that will help keep your house — and your mind — in order throughout the selling process.

1. Find an Agent to Help

An agent should be the first person you contact to help with selling your home. Not only can a qualified agent help you with financial questions, but they'll also help you navigate through the entire selling process. Your agent will be a valuable resource in helping to list your home, stage it, and arrange showings.

Your agent can offer advice on what to leave out during showings and what to hide or pack away, so be sure to ask for their professional help. They can also walk through with you before a showing to make sure your home is well-staged. Clever can connect with you a professional local agent to help you with staging and showings.

2. Pretend You've Already Moved

You may still be living in your residence, but you can likely pack away the majority of your furniture and belongings. Think about how you live day-to-day when staying in an Airbnb or hotel. You can likely pare down your belongings while still enjoying your daily routine.

Go room by room and eliminate anything you may not need, storing furniture and items in a storage space until your move is finalized. Here's some help on how to reduce your belongings by room:

Kitchen and Pantry

Kitchen countertops should be clean and empty, save for maybe a coffee maker and fruit bowl. Perishable food items, baking supplies, and seldom-used appliances should be packed away. Extra cleaning supplies, pet food, and pots and pans that are not needed should also be packed. Magnets and personal belongings (invitations, grocery lists, and mail) should be packed away, if possible.

Living Room

If your couch is in good condition, you'll want to leave it in the living room, along with a coffee table and media furniture. A throw rug is a great idea for carving out a conversation space. You can leave your TV if you need it, but if you can eliminate extra cords from gaming systems and DVD players, you'll help make the space look more polished and clean. Family photos and extra throw blankets can be packed away.

Dining Room

Try to eliminate all the furniture in this room except a table and chairs. You can keep a buffet but cut down on the number of items being stored inside by packing them away. Bookcases can stay, but packing books and shelving ahead of time can make your space seem larger and more open.

Bedrooms

If you don't already, make your beds daily, so they always look well-kept and maintained. Pare down your wardrobe so your closet looks organized and minimal. Personal items and keepsakes should be packed away so the space looks like one a potential buyer can envision turning into their own. The same should be done for guest bedrooms and offices.

Bathrooms

Keep bathrooms clean and inviting by wiping down counters and bathtubs or showers. Cut down on the number of towels, toiletries, makeup, and beauty tools stored in this space by packing away anything you don't need to use before moving. Add baskets and bins to keep the remaining items looking organized and clutter-free. You can add candles to create a more inviting ambiance, as well.

3. Clean Often

Even if you keep your home clean, you'll likely want to deep-clean more often to ensure your house is always ready for unexpected showings.

Before you go to bed or before leaving for work make sure all surfaces are clean and clutter-free. Empty the garbage cans more often than you might, just in case buyers come to visit. Make sure dishes are cleaned regularly and put away.

Dust regularly and fluff couch and bed pillows often. Make beds and ensure towels are folded or hung each day. Look at your home the way a potential buyer would; you may not care about the dust on your window sills, but your buyer sure will!

4. Spend More Time Outside of Your Home

If you're working out of your home or spending all of your free time at home, you'll be more likely to create a mess you'll have to clean later. Instead, try working or taking meetings at coffee shops and restaurants so you eat and take care of business outside of the house.

Visit friends at their homes and keep bags ready with everything each family member will need in case you need to leave for a last-minute showing.

For more help staging your home while you're still living in it, turn to a local expert real estate agent from Clever.

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Thomas O'Shaughnessy
Thomas O'Shaughnessy

Tommy O'Shaughnessy is the Head of Research at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top local agents to save on commission. Tommy's team of data scientists create surveys, gather data, and analyze trends in housing, real estate, and personal finance. He directs public relations efforts, acting as a "data communicator" between his team and the press. Clever studies have been featured in Politico, the LA Times, CNBC, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and other publications.

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