Staging Your Home to Sell

   The buzz word today with residential real estate agents is staging. Staging a home can change a home's atmosphere that appeals to homebuyers, which may bring a higher price and accelerate market time. By adding small decorative touches, rearranging or deleting furniture or creating vignettes a home can look like a professional stager was hired. Listed below are some do's and don'ts for home sellers.




  • Pick up recent home decorating magazines.  If you're not up to speed on current decorating trends it will help familiarize yourself with how interior design is being marketed.  Tab pages with low-cost ideas that which will make your home say today.
  • Invite a friend a real estate agent over.  A second or third pair of eyes will help you accent the best and edit the worst in your home.  Be prepared for some constructive criticism.  you want to hear it before you put your home on the market, not as feedback from prospective buyers.  Go room-by-room with a worksheet so you can take notes.  Depending on how much time you have available for an update or a makeover, you will need to prioritize and figure out what will give you the biggest return.  Do this at least two months before you put your house on the market.
  • Stage a home office if you don't have one.  They're not a trend; they're required for homebuyers in today's market.  Many homebuyers today work from home part or full-time or want a space where they can organize their life and park a computer.  Find an extra bedroom, walk-in closet or an unused corner and convert into a home office.  Make sure there is a convenient electric, telephone and cable supply. 
  • Focus on living spaces.  These areas are where the majority of homebuyers will spend their time.  Place a side table and a floor lamp next to a comfortable chair as a reading corner.  Float sofas and coffee tables away from walls for a designer look.  Use area rugs to anchor furniture groupings on bare tile and wood floors.  Living spaces must have matching table lamps.  Streamline family photos and place green plants in room.  Fireplaces should always be operable and on in season.  Place groupings of candles and clear glass bowls filled with natural potpourri on side and coffee tables.  Substantial wicker baskets can organize magazines, remote controls and toys.  Limit knick-knacks to make room for staging materials.
  • Give attention to kitchens.  Put away in a handy drawer all dish towels and rags.  Reduce recipe boxes, barrels of cooking utensils, excess-cooking machines, and cookbooks by two-thirds to open up counter spaces.  For a quick update, put new hardware on cabinets.  Find an out-of-the-way place for a portable dishwasher.  Clean off everything on the refrigerator door.  Omit throw rugs scattered around the kitchen.  Clean off windowsills to open up exterior views.  Organize cabinets with clear containers.  If you can't see the back wall of a cabinet, buyers will think you don't have enough storage space.  Ditto closets.  Budget to keep a variety of fresh fruit in a glass bowl on the counter.  Edit family bulletin boards.  Remove old curtains and install new wood blinds on windows. 
  • Spend time on sleeping and bathing spaces.  Often overlooked in the frenzy to get a home on the market, these spaces can make or break a home.  Buy a set that consists of a matching bedskirt, bedspread, pillow covers and blinds to match.  Buy a new shower curtain and separate liner.  Wash the liner often if mold develops.  Add complete sets of towels that coordinate with your new shower curtain.  Clear all cosmetics off the vanity.  If you have an over-the-toilet cabinet, consider removing and place a piece of artwork in its place.  Remember to keep items in the "too much information" category, out of view.  If you have a king-size bed in a small room, you'll pay to have buyers overcome this negative, so get rid of it now.  Clear off dresser and nightstands of excess.  Make sure the bedroom receives the maximum natural light.  Install closet organizers in closets.  Eliminate wall and door hooks for clothes.  People might look under your bed, so no surprises please. 
  • Remember first impressions in entries.  A simple console table with mirror over makes a nice entranceway.  Make sure this space is well lit day or night.  Place adhesive under rugs so buyers don't trip or slide.


  • Use inexpensive silk flowers.  Nothing distracts buyers more than silk flowers that are past their time, inappropriate for the season or thrown together.  Throw them out now. 
  • Forget to upgrade Fido's bowl. We have experienced more unhealthy pet food bowls, watering stationsl and litter boxes than we care to remember.  We know you love your pet, but prove it to homebuyers. 
  • Overlook window coverings.  Buyers today think less is more in window fashion.  They want the most light and the least embellishment on windows.  And no layered treatments with sheer panels please. 
  • Use low wattage light bulbs.  Dark, dim rooms are unappealing to homebuyers.  They want to see what they might buy.  Replace bulbs with manufacture recommended wattages and especially the burned out ones.  The newer low-energy bulbs don't cast home or people in flattering light. 
  • Think that everyone loves wallpaper.  No two people have the same taste in this instant decorator finishes.  If it's more than three years old, take it down and paint in a neutral color.  And wallpaper boarders are out. 
  • Paint with commitment colors.  If you've determined that you need to paint, stay away from bold or as I call them commitment colors.  Commitment colors are those buyers either love or hate.  It can be difficult for buyers to overlay their style on them.  As one clients said to us, I don't live in a magazine." 
  • Think cleaning is a part of staging.  Cleaning is what you do before staging.  Everything should shimmer and shine.  Don't forget the windows.

Use these do-it-yourself tips to place your home on the stage of your local home sale theater


. . . If you would like to go the extra step and invest in some improvements, we have a few extra tips:

  • Good Landscaping can increase the value of your home by up to 15 percent, and you may recoup 100 percent or more of the amount of your investment in landscaping when you sell your home.  Plus, you will have the enjoyment of seeing and experiencing beautiful landscaping that compliments your home. When a house for sale looks good outside, buyers are more likely to want to come inside, says Barb Schwarz, founder of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals.  Here are some of Schwarz’s suggestions for tidying up the yard.
  • Make it neat and clutter-free. Get rid of children’s toys and limit the number of hanging flower baskets and yard art. "It's far better to have fewer bigger pots than the clutter of smaller hanging pots," Schwarz says. "They just weigh down the house."
  • Mow, weed and edge. “If the yard doesn't look well-manicured, then [potential buyers] feel the home hasn't been well maintained," Schwarz says. If the dog urinated on the yard and killed a portion of it, Schwarz recommends painting it.
  • Trim the greenery. Trim trees from the bottom so they create a canopy but don’t block the view. Trim foundation plantings from the top, so they don’t impede views of the windows.
  • Add color. If there’s no color in the yard, plant something like brightly blooming impatiens along the walkway.
  • In winter, place two small potted evergreen trees on either side of the door to brighten up the entrance. Also, make sure the walkways are clear of ice and snow.
  • Buy a new welcome doormat to dress up the front door.

Most likely, you have already heard of "Feng Shui" . . .   

Well, it is becoming more and more popular, especially on the west coast.  And as these folks from the west coast move our way to the deep South, it's especially important to know their interests and the things that some folks look for in a home.

Feng Shui is the Chinese discipline that teaches how to attract and enhance your life energy (chi) according to how our homes and spaces are arranged.

Here are some tips on how you can start to integrate feng shui into your life.

• Clutter and mess prevents energy from flowing properly. Clean your home and office and discard anything that is no longer of use.

• If something needs repair, either fix-it or throw it away

• Incorporate plants into your environment. Keep them healthy and watered.

• Steer clear of too much overhead lighting, and sharp cornered objects should be used as little as possible.

• Choose all that elicits positive feelings

• Keep the front entrance of your home in good repair

• Vibrant nature in your yard attracts vibrant chi into your home

• Make sure your office chair is the most comfortable chair in your universe

The Feng Shui philosophy is based on three main principles; Everything is alive with Chi; Everything is connected by Chi; The Chi in everything is changing.

Ultimately, Feng Shui is about living in harmony with yourself, and everything in your environment.