Cheat Sheet

Home Staging For Dummies

From Home Staging For Dummies by Christine Rae, Jan Saunders Maresh

Staging your home properly can not only help you sell it, but help you get a good price for it. The effort spent in finding the right accents and accessories can pay dividends in selling time — and you can take new purchases with you! Staging your home for an open house takes things to a new level and you need to prepare carefully to make sure you cover all the bases.

Shopping List for Home Staging

As you prepare your home for sale, you want to stage it as attractively as possible. Consider purchasing some of the items in the following table — realtors purchase these items and use them over and over in the homes they stage.

Room or Area Items
Front entry Sofa table, silk flowers, mirror to reflect light
Living room Throw pillows, rug, lamps, silk trees
Family or rec rooms Artwork, throws, game board, rugs, throw pillows
Master bedroom Six pillows (four sleeping pillows in shams and two throw pillows), bed skirt, white sheets, plush neutral bedding, silk flowers, table lamps, a throw, and art
Kids’ bedrooms or extra bedrooms Neutral and plush bedding, two sleeping pillows in shams and one throw pillow, bed skirt, table lamps, artwork
Bathrooms Plush white linens, colored linens as accents, terry cloth shower curtain, large serene art pieces
Kitchen Cookbooks, silk flowers, light fixtures, serving dishes
Dining room Crystal or silver objects, large art pieces, floral display
Laundry room Wicker laundry basket, artwork, laundry tins with scoop
Curb appeal New mailbox, light fixtures, welcome mat, shutters
Backyard Benches, outdoor urns with silk trees, outdoor rugs

You can take most of this nice, new stuff with you when you move!

Getting Sizes and Placement Right when Staging Your Home

To get your house in shape for showing it to potential buyers, you make plans to stage it so that it shows off its best features. The staging process involves everything from art on the walls to rugs on the floors. The tips in the following list help you judge sizes and spacing:

  • Area rugs: Use an area rug to ground furniture or delineate a sitting area. Steer clear of buying a too-small rug. A typical sofa–love seat configuration works best with a 5-foot-by-8-foot rug. Don’t try anything smaller than a 4-foot-by-6-foot size.

    If you have nice hardwood flooring in your dining room, show it off instead of buying an area rug. But if you decide to use a rug under a table and chairs, look for one that’s 24 to 30 inches wider than the table and chairs.

    When you’re putting one big rug in a room to cover most of the floor, remember to leave 20 to 36 inches between the edges of the rug and the walls.

  • Artwork and photographs: When hanging art above furniture, place the bottom edge of the artwork 4 to 6 inches above the surface or back of the furniture. If the art is alone on the wall, place it 54 inches from the floor to the center of the art piece.

  • Chandeliers: To hang a chandelier in the foyer, measure the height of the foyer. The chandelier should hang down 3 inches per foot of the height of the foyer. For example, if the foyer is 9 feet high, the bottom of the chandelier should hang approximately 27 inches from the ceiling.

    Install a chandelier in a dining room so that its bottom is 30 to 42 inches above the table top.

  • Dining room tables: Remove a leaf and use fewer chairs to make the dining room look more spacious. Avoid using table cloths because they make the dining room look smaller. If you’re renting or buying, choose a dining room table in proportion to the room. If traffic flows around the table, be sure you leave at least 48 inches between the edge of the table and other furniture or walls.

How to Plan and Stage a Successful Open House

You’re selling your home and using an open house to show it off. You need to stage your home ahead of time, of course, as well as set the price, and take care of all the details that go into an open house. If you can follow the steps in the following list, you can boost your chances for a successful open house:

  1. Complete all staging techniques before taking the photographs for your online listing and flyers.

    Professional photographs of a beautifully staged property can increase the number of potential buyers who come to your open house because they see an intriguing, warm, inviting property when they see great pictures of your property online, in the sales flyers, and in print advertising.

  2. Set the price accordingly.

    Do your homework and shop similar homes on the market, and then price your property accordingly. If your property is priced right to begin with, staging discourages price reductions later on. When you stage your house and price it right, you get the most bang for your buck by bringing in the most traffic within the first few weeks that your house is on the market.

  3. Curb appeal is your 24/7 storefront.

    Curb appeal (the condition of your house from the outside) is not just important on the day of an open house but every day. You never know when potential buyers might be driving by to decide whether your house is worth touring.

  4. Create a shuffle-duffle bag for the main rooms in your house.

    This handy bag contains quick cleaning supplies and is a great place for you to throw unopened mail and the kid’s toys before a showing. Being able to do a quick pick-up keeps the showcase appearance throughout the selling process.

  5. Get out.

    All household members need to leave the premises before an open house — including your pets and all signs of them.

Open House Checklist

Sometimes, part of the plan of staging your house is to make it look its best for an open house. An open house is always nerve-racking, so before any potential buyer steps foot in your house, make sure you do all the things in the following list so that your house looks its sellable best:

If the views are good open all drapes and blinds. Shake out the front welcome mat and sweep away any dust, debris, spider webs.
Turn on all lamps; agents will turn on the overhead lights. Add fresh flowers to any room in the house and fruit to your kitchen.
Make all the beds. Wipe the sinks after doing dishes or washing your hands.
Empty all the garbage and waste paper baskets. Clean the stove top and counters.
If you have a good sound system, play music Sweep the floors.
Pick up and put away things that should be out of sight.     Mop the floor if you haven’t done so in the past two days.
Remove pets

Bathrooms are a world unto themselves. Make sure each bathroom gets all the attentions in the following list:

  • Clean toilet seat, rim, and lid. Leave toilet lid down.

  • Swoosh toilet bowl with brush.

  • Wipe off mirrors and faucets.

  • Squeegee shower doors.

  • Spray entire shower and curtain liner with shower cleaner after every use.

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