How to Stage a House: 8 Steps

By Kevin Brouillard · April 28, 2021 · 6 minute read

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How to Stage a House: 8 Steps

If you’re ready to sell your house, it’s probably a safe assumption that you want to get an offer quickly and at or above asking price. Staging is one way to maximize your chances of doing just that.

In a nutshell, staging uses design to cater to a larger share of buyers and highlight a home’s assets. When done well, staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize the space as their own.

According to a National Association of Realtors® survey, 82% percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home .Nearly half of sellers’ agents used a staging service.

Ready to get started? This guide will take the guesswork out of how to stage a house with eight easy steps.

8 Steps to Stage a House for Sellers

1. Take Stock of Needed Fixes

If a house requires considerable repairs, a seller may face a lengthy negotiation process 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.

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.

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 are essential to any plan for how to stage a house.

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, homes with strong curb appeal sell for 7% more on average than their less inviting counterparts, one study showed.

3. Remove Clutter

While working on house staging, you may also be encumbered with the homebuying 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, or renting a storage unit.

Depending on location, a 10-by-20-foot storage unit costs between $120 to $280 a month and can accommodate the contents of a two- to three-bedroom house, HomeAdvisor notes.

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, turtle-themed wallpaper in another? It might be best to create a more ordinary 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.

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, using an extra room for storage may fit your needs, but that use may not translate as valuable to many buyers. Instead, 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. According to the NAR report, these are the most important rooms in staged houses for sale, according to buyers’ agents:

1. Living room: 46% cited as very important
2. Master bedroom: 43% very important
3. Kitchen: 35% very important
4. Dining room: 27% very important
5. Yard: 23% very important

8. Don’t Forget Outdoor Space

Whereas the front of a house determines curb appeal, the yard, porch, or patio space can sell buyers on the lifestyle that living there provides.

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.

If you’re shopping for a new home while selling, financing can be challenging. Getting prequalified for a mortgage loan with SoFi is quick and easy, and no commitment is required.

SoFi offers home loans with competitive rates and as little as 5% down.

What’s more, SoFi’s home loan help center provides resources to help navigate the homebuying process.

Check your rate on a home loan in a few clicks.

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