You've listed your home for sale. Before prospective buyers take a tour, you'll want to make sure you're highlighting your home's best features while minimizing any potential defects. That's where staging comes in.

Wondering if it's worth the extra effort? Chew on this. According to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Staging, nearly one-third of buyers’ agents believe staging a home increases the offer price a minimum of 1–5%. To put that in perspective, for $250,000 home, a 2% increase means an extra $5,000.

Here are some simple steps you can take before that first open house. 


You want prospective buyers to have a feeling of calm when they come into your home. Getting rid of unnecessary stuff is vital when staging your home.

"Space and storage sell homes," said Kazantzis Real Estate Owner Andrea Kazantzis. "You want prospective buyers to envision themselves in your home. It's harder to do that if they have to look past all of your stuff." 

Go through each room of your home and decide what you want to keep, what can be donated and what can be tossed. Don't forget about closets and that junk drawer as well.

"Edit your closets to remove at least a third of the items to make it look like you have tons of space," Kazantzis Real Estate Agent Val MacNeil said. "You can also use decorative baskets on shelves to store sweaters or linens to keep it neat." 

In your living or family room, MacNeil suggests using storage ottomans that double as a coffee table to store blankets or toys. 

Decluttering is not just about getting rid of tchotchkes. Removing unnecessary pieces of furniture can really help a room feel more spacious.

"One of the major contributors to a cluttered look is having too much furniture. When professional stagers descend on a home being prepped for market, they often whisk away as much as half the owner's furnishings and the house looks much bigger for it, " said. 

In the bedroom, try to limit to three large pieces of furniture - bed, nightstand, and dresser.

If you don't want to get rid of items, suggests asking a friend to temporarily store items for you or, "if it’s too much to handle yourself, companies like or can pick up and store the items for you; it’s cheaper than you’d expect." 

After you've cleaned out - a good way to keep clutter from sneaking back in is to have the rule that for every new item that comes into your home, an old one has to leave.

Deep Clean

Once you've gotten rid of extraneous items, you'll want to really deep clean your home from baseboard to ceiling light fixtures, the kitchen appliances to the windows, everything should be spotless and gleaming.

"Think of spring cleaning on steroids," said.

You can do this yourself or if time is an issue, your real estate agent may be able to suggest someone who specializes in deep cleans.


Yes, it's your home. But, you want prospective buyers to see it as theirs. You'll want to:

  • Keep space as gender-neutral as possible to appeal to the widest audience.
  • Replace that big family portrait with a nice piece of wall art.
  • Remove telltale signs of your pet such as toys, food, and litter box (Don't forget to do a smell test as well.)
  • If you have kids, cull as many toys as you can and put the rest out of sight.

If you want to go beyond the basics, here are some projects that could really up the resale value of your home.

Room Transformation

Take this time to reimagine if a particular space in your home could serve a new purpose and also add value.

For instance, with the addition of a lamp and a comfy chair, a stairwell nook can become a reading spot. With the addition of a mat, some pillows, and candles, a corner in your basement can be turned into a meditation room.

Increase Lighting

Don't underestimate the importance of lighting.

Each room ideally should have 100 watts for every 50 square feet. You'll also want to make sure you have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (pendant, under-cabinet or reading), and accent (table and wall).

Go Neutral

A fresh coat of paint can go a long way to updating a room. When choosing a color, you'll want to stay neutral. But as says, "these days, the definition of neutral extends way beyond beige, from warm tans and honeys to soft blue-greens. As for bold wall colors, they have a way of reducing offers, so go with neutrals in large spaces.

Add Some Nature

When showing your home, bring a bit of nature inside. You can buy fresh flowers to place throughout or you can also raid your yard for a more seasonal feel - flowers in spring and summer, colorful leaves in the fall, or twigs in the winter. 

Refresh and Reface

A major renovation is not always possible or necessary.

You can give your kitchen and bathroom a facelift by giving cabinets a fresh coat of paint and new fixtures. You can replace the front panel of your dishwasher or put laminate paper on your dishwasher.

In the bathroom, regrout and caulk your tub, replace the bathmat and shower curtain. For a spa-like feel, set out a rolled towel, decorative baskets, and candles. Make sure your makeup, toothbrushes and other toiletries are hidden away.

Don't forget about your home's flooring.

Be sure to get the carpets cleaned. If you have hardwoods, make sure any broken floorboards are repaired. You may want to consider getting the floors refinished. If that's not an option, you can use an area rug to hide imperfections, though you'll want to disclose any damage to a buyer.

The Great Outdoors

At the very least, you need to make sure the lawn is cut and the beds are weeded.

Powerwash the walkway, driveway, and patio or deck.

If you want to stage the space, make the outside feel like a space in which you'd want to unwind. Put a rocking chair on the front porch or a nice wicker couch and outdoor rug on the deck or patio.

Remember, at one point, you fell in love with your home. The idea of staging is to make someone else feel the same way. As always, your real estate agent is here to help you with this process, to ensure you get the most out of your investment. You're not alone!