When you’re talking with your real estate agent about preparing your house for sale, your agent may suggest that you stage the property. Staging is a term in home sales that refers to the process of making the home as beautiful as it can be for potential buyers to view. When buyers see a home that isn’t move-in ready, they begin to add dollar signs in their head for the costs of repairs. Rather than being excited about a move-in-ready environment, they’re weighed down by the idea of home improvement projects. The act of staging your property eliminates this worry for buyers by showing them a house that’s ready.

There are professional staging companies or independent contractors who specialize in preparing properties to show. However, staging is something you can do on your own if you’re not afraid of a little (or a lot!) of hard work. Here are some tips for staging your house.


Decluttering serves two purposes. It not only helps you open the space so that its visually appealing to buyers, but it also aids in preparation for your move. Think yard sale and packing. Sort through every room, closet, drawer, toy box, cabinet, cupboard, and every area of the house. Ask yourself, “Is this something I’ll use in the next 60 days? Is this something I want to keep, but don’t need in the immediate future? Or, is this something I’m not even sure why I still have?”

If you need it, organize it neatly. If you need it but not right now, pack it in preparation for your relocation. If you aren’t sure why you still have it, toss it into the giveaway pile for either yard sale or donation.

Anything that’s not packed or set aside for removal should be organized neatly, so it doesn’t draw the attention of people touring your home.


Depersonalize means you remove any personal or decorative items unique to you and your household. These belongings include photographs, collectibles, religious items, political statements, or any other items that might not be “generic.”

Think of entering a model home. The artwork you see is of flowers, fruit, sunsets, or other natural elements – not people. When you walk through a model home, you don’t see crayon colorings taped to the fridge, salt and pepper collections on display, or religious literature or imagery out in the open. Instead, the decor is neutral.

Deep Clean

Here again is a task you can tackle on your own, or leverage out to a cleaning company. Cleaning as part of staging goes way beyond wiping the countertops and vacuuming the floor. Instead, it digs deep into the nooks, crannies, and fabric of your house. Bleaching bathtubs, scrubbing baseboards, sweeping air vents, washing walls, and shampooing carpets are all critical elements in establishing a polished environment that looks and smells fresh and clean. Pay particular attention to the kitchen and bathrooms.


If shampooing your carpets doesn’t do the trick, you may want to replace the flooring. New carpet is a small investment for a large return when it comes to selling your house.

You may also need to add fresh coats of neutral colors of paint to the walls, especially if the current color is too bold or couldn’t be wiped clean.

Anything tattered, torn, cracked, stained, rusted, or otherwise damaged should be replaced. Inexpensive quick-fix upgrades can make a dated or dingy room look modern and new.


Now that you’ve removed excess items, deep-cleaned, and made minor repairs, it’s time to turn your attention to your furnishings. Minimize. Only keep what you need, remove large pieces of furniture, and arrange what’s left into conversational areas away from the walls. Rearranging furniture can make smaller rooms look spacious and inviting.

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is one of the most important parts of staging your home to sell. When potential buyers pull up in front of your house, their first impression packs a punch that will follow them through their tour. Mow the lawns, trim the hedges, clean the windows, remove the ornaments, store the toys, plant flowers, and decorate the exterior, so buyers find it charming.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort, in the long run, to dress your home for success when listing it for sale.

Your real estate agent is the best source of information about the local community and real estate topics. Give Melanie McLaughlin a call today at 505-489-8504 to learn more about local areas, discuss selling a house, or tour available homes for sale.