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‘Staging’ can mean two things when you’re selling a home.

First, it can mean painting a very specific picture for any would-be buyers.

Second, it can mean going through a checklist and making sure everything looks as it should and that you haven’t mistakenly made any blunders that’ll reduce your chance of grasping a quick sale.

It is best to combine these two meanings when you think about how best to stage your home during the selling process. Not only are they connected to one another, but both meanings can expedite the sale if executed properly. You want to tell a story with your home but not at the cost of letting the buyer imagine their own in its place.

Ask your real estate agent about what tricks are most common in the area. There could be small differences based on the expected clientele, and it’s important to keep these differences in mind when you’re making sure everything is arranged just right. The decisions you make might seem minor but could have ramifications if you make the wrong ones.

Get the Essentials Out of the Way First

Before you think about specific rooms, there are tasks you should complete well beforehand.

Clean and declutter your home first.

If you don’t need it by your side, you don’t need it on display in your home when you’re showing it to others. Stray papers, linens, battered knick-knacks, and redundant furniture should all be moved. You can use this as an opportunity to get rid of ‘junk’ before you move or you can just place it in storage.

Once you have stashed all of your unnecessary belongings elsewhere, you should clean everything from top to bottom. The ceilings and walls, for example, might have acquired some dust and cobwebs after all this time. This cleaning will need to be done again later but doing this now will greatly decrease the effort and gunk.

If you have enough time and space you might consider moving everything out of each room and cleaning them individually in every nook and cranny. This would eliminate the need for multiple cleanings as described above and would also grant you the chance to be far more selective in how the rooms are displayed. It’s easier to fill an empty space than it is to rearrange one that’s already packed full. In homes with limited space or awkward angles this may not be easily done so use your judgment.

Staging Your Kitchen and Bathroom

These are likely your easiest rooms to stage. The purpose of the room is already made apparent by the simple presence of your appliances, and so your focus will be on the accessories and the aesthetic.

Kitchens are a popular destination for papers, knick-knacks, and general clutter. You’ll have already gotten rid of these but you’ll need to keep on top of it between viewings. It’s very easy to absentmindedly toss something into the corner and let it all pile up.

Clean your light fixtures, replace the bulbs with something a little brighter with perhaps warmer light, and make sure the appliances themselves are spotless inside and out. Even if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t use the oven, the interior likely has some grime.

This same philosophy rings true for the bathroom. The appliances such as the toilet and bath are largely unchangeable unless you need to replace them and thus your focus will be on the smaller things.

Make sure the toilet tank is cleaned, remove any dirt and grime from the tough-to-reach corners of the tub door (if you have one), and ensure that the sink piping is in solid working order. If you have previously repaired or maintained your appliances with quick fixes, do them properly and make them look neat and in order.

If possible, remove all ‘superfluous’ gear from both rooms before viewings. Toothbrushes, half-empty cleaning bottles, old rags and sponges, and more should be taken out of sight. Replace them with more decorative alternatives if you have them, but the ideal here should be a pristine aesthetic. You don’t want eyes pausing and focusing on a damp sponge or a hygiene wrapper.

Staging Your Bedroom

The bedroom is your home inside your home. It can be where you retreat, and it is often a product of our deepest personality quirks. This makes it one of the more difficult rooms to stage when you’re selling your home because it might entail making some significant changes. The aesthetic that has brought you the most comfort may work against you when you’re showing the room to strangers.

An off-hand example of this would be a California king bed. If you have one of these, you’re probably also aware that it takes up the vast majority of the room. Large furniture has a psychological impact: it makes you believe the room itself is small (instead of the furniture within being too large). For many buyers, a large bedroom is essential. You might be able to convince them it’s the bed and not the room, but they may not be able to fight off that initial impression that told them it was the other way around. It is easier to visualize one’s own furniture and belongings if there’s empty space. Psychological tricks and visual quirks will be your best friend.

You may also need to change the flooring and wall coloring of your bedroom. The color and material that worked for you might not be appealing to someone inspecting the room for a potential buy. You’ll want to concentrate on achieving a neutral color palette that easily allows others to mix and match different colors through their imagination. This is surprisingly difficult to do with dark colors or colors that contrast heavily with the rest of the room. The carpet, as well, may have lost a great deal of its luster in the years since you first installed it. A new carpet can help with the color contrasting and prevents buyers from focusing on any carpet damage.

Did you know that Clever has real estate agents that can help you sell your home? They can reveal local tricks for room staging and offer you a fantastic flat rate commission that saves you thousands. Your home will be in the right hands.


Jake Cardenas
Jake Cardenas

Jake Cardenas is co-founder and COO of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top agents to save money on commission. Jake is a licensed real estate agent who is passionate about finance and real estate investing. He's a serial entrepreneur, having founded Drizzle SMS before working on Clever. He's a "jack-of-all-trades," skilled in design, operations, sales, HR, and more.

See all Jake's Posts

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