Listing your home for sale can be a stressful process. Not only do you need to work with your real estate agent to get everything priced and documented just right, but you also have to make sure that both the interior and exterior of the home are in prime shape for showing. The tips I’m sharing here are kind of like a cheat sheet for how to stage a house for sale. No matter the age, style or location of your property, you can create some vignettes that will allow buyers to see themselves making your house a permanent home.
This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases you make through my links results in a small compensation for me at no additional cost to you. Originally published in 2015, this post was recently updated for 2019.
When we decided to list our house, I turned to Pinterest in hopes of finding ideas and inspiration on how to stage a house for sale. The good news is that my search was successful. The bad news is that actually implementing all of those great ideas was a ginormous amount of work. Here are someof the tips I found that we’ve utilized in preparing to put our house on the market:
- Remove half the items from closets, cabinets and the garage and store them in an offsite, rented storage unit.
- Neutralize the color scheme by painting over any bold color choices.
- Depersonalize the home by removing and storing photos and mementos.
- Declutter the home–store excess toys, collections and nick-knacks.
- Fix anything that you know to be broken.
- Clean up the yard.
- Deep clean the inside of the house from top to bottom, including the baseboards.
- Have the carpets cleaned.
Phew (she says as she wipes the sweat from her brow). I can happily report that we can check each of those items off our list. With all of that prep work out of the way, we moved on to another step that–I’m told–is supremely important: staging the house. The act of staging involves setting a scene in which buyers want to insert themselves. To that end, I’ve pinpointed five vignettes every perfectly-staged home needs.
In this case, we’re looking to illustrate the story your house tells. While that might be an easy thing to do with, say, a beach house, it can be a bit more difficult if your house is smack dab in suburbia–or, like me, in the middle of the dusty desert. When I began this process, I didn’t exactly know what story my house tells. I only knew that life lived within it can be pretty darn good. And so I started there. I started thinking about what makes life in this house so good. I thought about my favorite little spot to sit and enjoy a glass of wine, and how we love to gather on the back patio under the string lights on warm summer nights. It’s those spaces that make this house a home–those are the stories I wanted to illustrate.
Of course, I didn’t have an endless supply of funds to stage every room like a Pottery Barn ad, so I had to improvise. I pinpointed five key stories I wanted the home to tell and set out to paint pictures that would “fade into the background without a definite border” like any good vignette should.