Staging 101 Preparing Your Home For Open Houses


Selling your home can be an arduous task that can take months of preparation. At the top of your list of things to do is staging the home. Staging 101 principles are all about preparing the look of your home to make it enticing to buyers. Here you are setting the stage to make your home look like a million dollars. Staging 101 involves a lengthy list of preparations to make your home look clean, uncluttered, and staged for the perfect family or home buyer. All the things that you don’t like about your home need to disappear for those moments in time when it is being assessed as someone else’s next dream home. If you aren’t sure where to start, use this guide for staging and prepare yourself for the next chapter in your life.

Remember Your Goals

It’s easy to get caught up in the moment of needing this room and that room to look perfect while being overwhelmed by all that there is to do. This is distracting energy that can prevent you from staging your home the way that you need it to be done. Staging 101 principles when executed successfully will mean that your home looks almost brand new and ready to live in. Remember your goals and staging becomes easier.

If you aren’t all in with selling your home, remembering your goals will be more difficult. Get past that by getting excited about the next stage. Make the process of getting your home ready for an open house exciting. Here you can get caught up on a list of things that need to get done, while also preparing yourself for the next adventure.

The first thing you’ll learn when you are staging the home is that you can not be there during the Open House. This can be sad for some homeowners because they want to be part of the process of selling a home they have lived in for years. You aren’t selling your life here, just the home you live in. Make your Open House day a fun day for you by planning something wonderful so that you too have something to look forward to. Set the right goals and your Open House day will be a fun one.

De-clutter Daily

When your home is on the market, you will need to de-clutter daily. Organize as much as you can and get into the habit of putting things away where they belong. This gets difficult in life sometimes when you are busy with work, family, children, extracurriculars, lives, and more. Tidy every day, and you will find that you will master the staging 101 mindset in no time.

When you are de-cluttering, get into the mindset that people will be looking at things. You don’t want to stuff things in drawers and closets to make clutter go away. New home buyers will look into closets, and sometimes even drawers. This isn’t a matter of being nosy. They want to know if their things will fit in there. You don’t want a rainfall of coats to come falling out of a closet because you didn’t have time to tidy them properly.

You will get more offers on your home when you elicit reactions such as “This is so nice!”. You don’t want buyers thinking, “I can’t believe how much work needs to be done here.” Some buyers will think, okay my closets are tidier, no big deal. At the same time, if they have to wonder how much space is in a closet, they may not be considering an offer. You have to have every inch of your home buyer ready and enticing so that they leave your home thinking of some number crunching.

Spend a weekend perfecting any clutter problems and get organized in every inch of your life. Remove any opportunity for any negative responses. Tidy homes give your home more exposure on the market and sell faster. De-clutter daily, and on Open House day, this is not much of a problem for you.

Remove Obvious Problems

Every home has obvious problems that are either projects for another day or projects that we don’t get enough time to tend to. Some obvious problems you can’t ignore. If you know that your home could benefit from some residential pest control, invest in that early on. Get that chore done, and you won’t have to worry about it come Open House day, or ever again.

Another thing you may need to keep in mind for Open House day is junk removal. We all have a lot of items from our lives that we don’t make a removal plan for. It adds up. Go through your garage, basement, attic, and every corner of your home that is currently being used for storage. Plan junk removal and get the big things you haven’t looked at in years to the curb. Your home will feel fresher and more exciting when you do.

Other problems may not seem obvious to you but may be pointed out by your real estate agent. This is the person that knows what will and will not sell, they see this every day. If your agent or broker is worried about a leak, get it managed. You may see any repair costs built out of the cost of your home if you do not.

Become a Clean Queen

Staging 101 is not just about making the house look and smell nice, it has to be clean. People are naturally attracted to clean homes, even if they aren’t clean freaks themselves. After you have removed large junk items and begun the basic de-cluttering involved in a home sale, clean everything.

Again, get to those tasks that have been put off. Clean the baseboards, windows, crown moldings, and dust every corner of your home. Make it shine everywhere. When you have a home on the market, it needs to look like that as much as possible.

You may have scheduled Open Houses for your sale, but you may also get pop-ins from your real estate agent. It is not uncommon for home buyers to ask for a visit to a home if they are unable to make an Open House. Your home needs to look good all the time if you want it to sell quickly. If you don’t have the time to do it, invest in a weekly housekeeper.

If you can have someone come in and do a weekly deep clean, your home will always be Open House ready, even if you don’t have an Open House that day. This is an investment that could get you thousands more than an original ask from a new home buyer.

Perform a Sniff Check

How does your house smell overall? Perform a simple sniff check. There is something to be said about having the house smell like chocolate chip cookies on Open House Day. Do that. But you may also have another issue that you need to tend to.

You have seen the ads “from a pet-free home” on items for sale online. There’s something to that. If you have or have had pets, you want to sell your home as if it is pet-free. Take some time to deep clean anything that has been touched by animals.

This may require new carpet installations or even new furniture. The investment will go a long way. You’ll get to keep the furniture, even if you can’t keep the carpeting.

Take this up one more level and get a mold inspection service in before any Open House. You may even want it in before the agent comes to list the home. This does not mean you are an unclean person. Every home has had mold in it. Get this inspection done and taken care of before an Open House, and your home will pass any smell check from any new home buyer.

Renovate a Little

Preparing for an Open House doesn’t have to be as tedious as it sounds. It’s all about the mindset. As you are getting your house ready, think of the time you first came into this home. What made you decide to purchase it? Did you think you would need to fix a few things up before it felt like home? You may need to renovate a little because that mindset will turn off many buyers.

A new coat of paint here or there is a basic starting point with staging 101 principles. You may want to go further than that and renovate a little here or there. New tile flooring isn’t as expensive as it sounds and can add a significant amount to any offers that will be coming your way. Wherever your face winces when you are in the home, renovate it.

Renovate a Lot

Your face might wince over small things in the home, like that new coat of paint you really don’t want to lose a weekend doing. In other sections of your home, you may pretend the problem isn’t there at all. This is the time to get out of that mindset. You may need a new roof replacement, or a window replacement service on your home.

These aren’t staples of staging 101 unless you have serious problems here. Any agent or broker worth their weight in gold will tell you that this needs to happen before you accept a single offer. New buyers will be wondering if they are going to be out tens of thousands of dollars on a new roof, or new windows if they put an offer in. They may still offer, but it is going to be less than the cost of a new roof.

That is just human nature, and you do the same when you are buying. A little research will show you that this staging 101 design could get you twice as much in return on the investment. If these things need to get done, let new home buyers know, they won’t have this expense for decades and lock it in.

Let the Sun Shine In

Light is a key to selling a home as well. It is another staging 101 principle that will help you to bring in the offers. Your agent will have a lot of ideas here. They will tell you what rooms should be dimly lit and mysterious looking, while others need the Sun pouring in happily.

Don’t complete your staging until you have done things like sprucing up floors, paint, and clutter. Otherwise, the light will shine on all the things you don’t like. Removing curtains and window dressings can help. Exchanging them for sheers can also help to showcase light and where it shines the most in that home.

Invest in Landscaping

Curb appeal is a basic to staging 101, and it could just mean getting your lawn mowed. You may want to up the ante and invest in tree trimming and local landscaping contractors to dial up the curb appeal. It is hard to call human nature here.

An avid gardener may be annoyed that they have to redo everything if you go overboard. A retired couple may love that you spent a small fortune on hydrangeas they will have for the rest of their lives. Follow your instinct and invest in curb appeal. When your gut tells you to stop, then leave the pretty lawn on its own. On the day of your Open House, get the sprinkler going so that your lawn will literally sparkle when your potential home buyers arrive.

What’s next? Bake some cookies, put out some nice flowers, do the dishes, then go to your favorite restaurant for a break when you leave the home for your Open House. Make it look how you would want it to look if you were buying it all over again. Let your broker or agent do the rest of the heavy lifting from here. Mentally prepare yourself for feedback from the agent or broker, and then plan some time to cross more things off of their list.