Thursday, March 10, 2011

Staging 101

So our house is officially on the market.  The FSBO sign is off and it is now on the Multiple Listing Service.  Since the internet is where most buyers start their home search, having pictures in your listing is vital, and a properly staged home will attract more buyers to your photos.  So here are a few tips when it comes to staging.

1.) Get rid of your clutter- I have 2-year-old twins so their junk is always all over the place.  My trick...stratigically place boxes and pretty baskets that I can throw stuff in pretty quickly.  You never want to say no to a last-minute showing.  Start storing personal items like photos and keep your counter tops in your kitchen and bathroom clear.  There is nothing worse than walking into a home with the owners personal junk all over the place.

2.) Less is more- Start moving now! Only keep key pieces in the home.   Too much furniture can actually make your house look smaller.  Rent a storage facility or utilize some storage space in your basement to temporarily put things.

3.) Set the stage- Define the areas and set a mood.  You want a home buyer to be able to picture themselves living there.  Shy away from placing all the furniture along the wall.  Putting the furniture in the middle of the room actually helps with the flow of traffic and makes a room look larger.  Make sure each room has a purpose because contrary to popular belief not everyone has an imagination.  Put dishes out on your table and set up a faux cocktail bar if you like.  Put a cushy robe on a hanger in your bathroom or set out a bottle of sparkling cider and 2 glasses and light candles.  If some of these ideas seem too over the top for your geographical area or your personality, think of something that is practical for you and makes sense.

4.) Paint- Nothing against you people who love white walls, but the majority of us out there would prefer some added warmth to our homes.  Paint is the cheapest yet most eye-catching upgrade that you can make to your home.  Keep it someone neutral to appeal to the masses, just don't forget neutral doesn't necessarily mean beige.  Some greens and blues are pretty neutral, and if you must go beige darken it up a little with a latte colored brown.

5.) Make a first impression- Don't avoid your foyer or your front door.  Most people get a feeling about a home when they walk into the front door.  So make sure your foyer and/or living room are well staged and immaculate.

6.) Lighting- When you have a showing, make sure you turn on your lamps to create warmth.  If you have a fireplace, light it.  Also a few candles for light and scent are good, just avoid the strongly scented candles because they may be a little over kill.

7.) Yes people open things up-  Make sure your closets are de-cluttered.  You should store about half of your clothes  and leave half in your closet (the stuff you use everyday) so that people can actually see the back of your closet.  It is also important to keep drawers organized, especially in the bathrooms and kitchens.

8.) Not everyone loves your furry friend- So I'm a big animal lover, but not everyone is.  Nobody wants your furry friend at the showing nor do they want their hair or scent.  Remove all signs of pet presence.  This means hide the cat litter box, the pet bed, and vacuum up all the hair.  Use a pet neutralizer to try to neutralize the odor as best as possible.

9.) Don't let them drive away-  This means curb appeal.  People will judge what they see outside and already have an impression in their heads before they go inside.  You could have the most updated, upgraded home in the neighborhood and potential buyers may just drive away.  Touch up your paint, stucco, or siding wherever you might spot damage. Make sure your lawn in mowed, your flowers are manicured, your mailbox and house numbers look good, and that your mulch has been redone.  To add a designer touch, add a couple of urns with plants flanking your doorway, and I always suggest to purchase a new welcome mat.

10.) If you have no clue what you are doing hire a professional- Like I said earlier, not everyone has an imagination.  So if you are one of those people get yourself a Lisa Laporta or a Sabrina Soto.  There are many interior designers out there who specialize is staging. If you home is vacant don't leave it that way. Get yourself a staging company that you can rent furniture from or buy some key pieces on craigslist on the cheap.

Here are some examples of well staged rooms

Kitchen design by Touch of Class in Northern Kentucky.

Living room design by Moving Mountains Designs in Los Angeles, CA.

Master Bedroom design by Sensational Home Staging & Design in Danville, CA

Now I must be off to do some staging myself.




  1. Monica: Thank you for selecting one of my home staging photos as an example of a well staged room. You've got good taste :o)

    I also want to thank you for giving me credit for the photo and providing a link back to my site. Not only do you have good taste, but you've also got a lot of (blogging) class.

  2. You are so welcome Michelle. I think you are awesome. I'm actually originally from SGV (Monrovia to be exact) and have a real estate broker license in Cali, so will forward your link to some of my old real estate pals.

  3. [...] still living in the home, I wanted to try to keep things simple, but functional.  I followed my own Staging 101 post as best as I could.  If we were childless, I would’ve followed  it 100%, but had to [...]