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How to Stage a House: 8 Steps

By Kevin Brouillard · July 04, 2023 · 6 minute read

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How to Stage a House: 8 Steps

Selling your home? If so, you likely want to do everything in your power to make it look great and trigger solid offers ASAP. Staging your home can be one key contributing factor to achieving that.

When you stage your home, you optimize its look and design. This allows potential buyers to visualize the house as their own. It makes it look like a place they aspire to put down roots. (Yes, decluttering and removing some of your personal mementos may be involved.)

According to a National Association of Realtors® survey, 89% percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home.

Want to learn more? Here’s a step-by-step guide to how you can stage your home.

8 Steps to Stage a House for Sellers

Follow these tips for staging your home and impressing prospective buyers.

1. Take Stock of Needed Fixes

If a house requires considerable repairs, a seller may face a lengthy negotiation process with buyers that results in concessions and contingencies. Any issues flagged by an inspection will also need to be addressed with prospective buyers.

Deciding whether to make these fixes beforehand will affect how a home is staged and perceived by buyers. Even relatively small issues like cracks in a ceiling and a dripping faucet can raise concerns and influence a buyer’s impression. That’s something to be wary of, especially in a hot housing market when many buyers want to snag a home quickly.

Taking care of these common home repairs before house staging can show buyers that you’ve maintained the property and keep their focus on its strengths.

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2. Enhance Curb Appeal

Before buyers walk through the door, they’ll have already formed an impression from the home’s curb appeal, the attractiveness of a property from the sidewalk or street.

Buyers may even do a drive-by before setting up a showing to narrow down their search. Thus, sprucing up a home’s exterior, lawn, and landscaping is essential to any plan for how to stage a house. Even in winter, curb appeal matters.

Any eyesores, such as chipped paint, cracked windows, or clogged gutters could discourage buyers from taking a closer look. Power-washing any siding and applying a fresh coat of paint where needed are some possible quick improvements.

Thinning out lawn decor, replacing burned-out lights, and tidying up gardens and landscaping are also low-cost ways to increase curb appeal.

For many prospective buyers, their first look into your home will be digital. High-quality photos can be helpful in attracting buyers.

Staying on top of things like lawn care while the home is listed could make a difference in getting more showings and securing a higher offer. In fact, 98% of NAR members say they believe curb appeal is important to potential buyers.

3. Remove Clutter

While working on house staging, you may also be encumbered with the home-buying process or figuring out what to do with all your stuff after it’s sold. In either case, staging is an opportunity to jumpstart the moving process and declutter the house.

Removing clutter is a popular staging tactic to make the interior of a home appear more spacious. A home’s square footage can’t be fabricated, but curating a more open layout can give the impression of a larger space.

Begin by packing away items that you don’t use daily, like seasonal clothes, knickknacks, sports equipment, and other odds and ends. This is also a chance to identify anything you want to sell, donate, or dispose of.

Storage space of a home can also be a major selling point. Instead of loading up the basement, garage, and closets, sellers may want to consider asking family members or friends to store their belongings, hosting a garage sale, or renting a storage unit.

Recommended: How to Refresh Your Home Room by Room

4. Depersonalize the Space

Cutting back on personal items is an important step in staging a house. While decluttering the home, stowing away family photos and clothing is a good place to start. Removing subtler items like personal toiletries can further neutralize the space.

That lavender paint in one room and turtle-themed wallpaper in another? It might be best to create a more basic canvas.

The point is to show that the home is move-in ready and an open book for buyers to add their personal touches. With just the integral furniture and furnishings remaining, it’s easier for buyers to imagine themselves moving in and living there.

5. Do a Deep Cleaning

Once the decor and furnishings have been minimized, it’s time to get the house squeaky clean. While this is one of the more cost-effective ways to stage a house, it can take significant time and energy.

To streamline the process, consider starting with the highest surfaces and working your way down. Overhead fixtures like lighting and ceiling fans are often overlooked in regular cleaning routines, and thus accumulate lots of dust and grime. It’s likely that cleaning these hard-to-reach places will bring debris down on countertops and floors.

Bathrooms and kitchens are key rooms to focus on. Water stains and mildew in sinks, tubs, and showers are obviously a no-no. Making sure appliances sparkle and that countertops are spotless can give the kitchen a fresh new look.

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6. Define Every Space

While the kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom, and garage are straightforward in their purpose, some spaces in a home may not have an obvious use to prospective buyers.

Thinking about how to stage spare rooms and unconventional spaces is important. For example, staging such a space as a home office or workout room could appeal to a larger segment of buyers.

7. Stage Where It Matters Most

Not every room holds equal weight from the homebuyer’s perspective. Prioritize the living room, primary bedroom, kitchen, dining room, and yard; real estate agents say these are of most interest to buyers.

The kids’ rooms and basement? Spend less time and energy there.

Recommended: Home Appraisals: What You Need to Know

8. Don’t Forget Outdoor Space

While the front of a house determines curb appeal, the yard, porch, or patio space can sell buyers on the lifestyle they could enjoy there.

The backyard is a popular place for entertaining and socializing, especially for families with kids. Tidying up the yard and addressing any safety issues like a wobbly porch railing or broken fence could be easy fixes.

Setting up a focal point, such as an outdoor seating area, fire pit, or grill, can make the space more inviting. Even if it’s a limited yard or patio space, brightening it up with flowers and comfy outdoor furniture can change the perception from confined to cozy.

Recommended: Guide to Buying, Selling, and Updating Your Home

The Takeaway

How to stage a house? It can take time and energy, but emphasizing a home’s strengths and creating an inviting atmosphere can be done with some thorough cleaning, decluttering, and rearranging.

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*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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