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Put your best foot forward.

Make a good first impression.

First impressions are the most lasting.

What I’m trying to say is, when it comes to houses, prospective buyers are going to judge your house based on their first, two-second impression of it, whether or not they should.

When others make strong judgments based on first impressions, it’s usually seen as a negative. Instead, look at your home’s first impression as an opportunity for you to get a leg up on your competition by wowing potential homebuyers.

Home staging is setting your home up as a neutral space where buyers can easily imagine the drama of their life unfolding. Home staging doesn’t have to mean dropping 10 or 20 grand on remodeling. A lot of it is doing all the little things right – making your home appear as attractive as possible and then getting out of your own way so buyers can see how they, not you, would live in the home.

I asked Joe Delia with Keller Williams Royal Oak Market Place for tips on how to best stage your home for a quick sell.

The Basics

Listing Photos

Put some effort into the listing photos – maybe even hire a professional photographer. Buyers sort through many, many listings online. If your photos fail to grab their attention, they may not even give your home a chance.

Clean Up

Clean and tidy goes a long way. “When it’s dirty, people focus on that,” explains Delia. Clean isn’t enough – make your home spotless.


The close cousin to clean and tidy is decluttering your home. People have a hard time envisioning their belongings in a home when it’s packed with someone else’s stuff.

The seller should remove as much clutter as possible. Less furniture makes the space look bigger. The furniture you do leave out should be up for entertaining. Make traffic flow obvious to buyers.

Depersonalize the Space

Removing personal items like family photos is another important thing to do. It’s hard for buyers to envision themselves in an empty home and equally as hard to envision themselves in a home full of someone else’s life and mementoes.

Make it Bright and Open

Lots of natural light and storage space are helpful too. Bright, open, refreshing and relaxing are some of the feelings potential buyers want to sense when walking through your home.

Decorating and Updating

Be Consistent

A consistent décor theme is more important than having all the newest updates/materials. A buyer should be able to come into your home and immediately sense a flow, an order to the home and be able to picture themselves in that flow, Delia states.

If you have some brushed nickel and some brass hardware in your home, for example, replace one or the other so that everything matches. Avoid a combination of styles, like ultra-modern and antique, as much as possible too. Decide on a look for your home and commit to it.

Putting in new cupboard or drawer fronts and hardware and repainting your home in neutral colors are some relatively cheap fixes that will significantly revitalize your home. Setting out fresh fruit or flowers greatly increases the appeal and hominess of your home, without making it feel personal to you.

Remodeling vs. Updating

You can go for more extensive remodeling like a whole kitchen or bathroom overhaul if you want, but just adding some nice furniture, art pieces or stainless steel appliances (that stay with the home) will be more cost effective in increasing your home’s appeal.

Make bedrooms as serene as possible; don’t make bedrooms gender specific. Update bathrooms including tub, shower and vanities, clean grimy walls, change fixtures, clean shower doors. Paint out dated tiles on bathroom walls.

Outdoor Tactics

Remember that first impression? It started with the images the buyer saw online and is largely cemented in their mind when they drive up to your home, so make it look great!

  • Power wash your driveway, deck, outside of home, etc.
  • Cut the grass regularly
  • Keep bushes and shrubs well-trimmed
  • Clear out weeds
  • Add flowers or other colorful accents to improve curb appeal
  • Get rid of any dead plants

The bottom line is that it’s absolutely worth spending some time, effort and a little money to increase the appeal of your home. At the same time, don’t think you need hardwood floors, granite countertops and vaulted ceilings to get people to look at your home.

Are you looking for a new home while staging your current one? Read our post on simultaneously buying and selling your home for helpful information. If you have any questions, comments or tips on staging your home, please share them below!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I appreciate being able to print the contents of your articles without all the ads on the side. Thank you.

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