How to stage your home to sell in a challenging market.

No matter how bad things are, remember, even during the Great Depression, homes were bought and sold! So you CAN sell your home. It is just not going to be so easy and automatic as in the 'good old days'. You must learn a bit about 'staging', and the basics are right here on this page.

Staging - it's up to you

Most realtors cannot help.

    You must learn this on your own, you live there and you must re-adjust your lifestyle from comfortable living mode, to SELLING THE HOUSE mode!

   Being comfortable in your home means laying around in pajamas unshaven (guys), perhaps with curlers in your hair (gals) - but would you go out on a hot date dressed like that?

   You must "Dress to Kill" - your home, that is! It is not as difficult as you think! Just as you wouldn't dream of going out unshaven or with curlers in your hair, you should never show your house when it is improperly "staged".


A Million Dollar House

The magic of staging

   Back in 2003 or so, the BBC ran a television program called "The Million Pound Property Experiment" (Okay, so a million pounds is actually closer to 2 million dollars...)

  The premise of this fascinating television show and experiment was that two friends could begin buying and remodeling homes and continually trading up until they ended up with a home worth a million. Simple?

How did they do it?

   The magic of staging.

   They did not call it 'staging' during the show, but what was clearly obvious is that these two partners were masters of staging. They used furniture rentals to fit out the homes which were carefully designed to sell fast, and sell they did!.


The Yard

Don't Forget The Yard

  Your yard doesn't have to be a botanical garden, but it certainly would not hurt if it was...

  Keeping this in mind, is your yard well maintained? Are your shrubs overgrown and unsightly? Has the dog been killing off the bushes and little patches of grass? This will not do.

The magic of green and flowers

   You can never have too many flowers or too much greenery in your yard. Anything that is not green or flowering is suspect - doghouses, swingsets, yes, even a patio if it is shoddy.


The "Invisibles"

What are "The Invisibles"?

  These are those thing which you do not notice any longer, but are things that are major eyesores for potential homebuyers.

  You can walk by that rickety swingset 100 times and not even notice it anymore. That patch of dirt on the lawn by the mailbox looks terrible, but you do not notice it...

   Do you have any "invisible" eyesores on or in your property?


How to 'stage' your home


Exclamation markQuite simply, staging enables you to sell your home faster and for more money than you would get if you just left it all up to the realtor. It is one of the few parameters that is totally under your control. Too bad just calling up a realtor wasn't enough. Well, that's what everybody else does, and in these challenging markets, that is not enough because homes are not selling - but yours can. Yes, people even bought homes during the Great Depression, so it is not impossible. It can even be fun. Here are some things you have to do:

  • Think of your home as a model home.
  • Furnish it with nice furnishings - if you are totally inept with this, perhaps find a professional home stager to help.
  • Furnished homes sell better than empty shells - unless your furniture is rat-eaten junkyard jetsam, dress it up and make the home look like it is lived in, and not just an empty hulk.

Look at what professional home-builders do when they sell a home? They build a model home and furnish it. They know that a tastefully furnished home will sell much faster and for more money than an empty shell. The same goes for your home.


Home Staging Tips


Question markDon't be scared about Home Staging - you do not need to be a theater set designer to do a good job of it. It might be a good idea to pore over a few home magazines to get a better idea of what is in fashion. Prospective home buyers are often avid readers of such magazines. If you are a man, you might enlist the help of a woman - most people know that women are the decision makers for the vast majority of home purchases. We all know how well men know what women want! If you get my hint, enlist the help of a female decorator or at least one with a feminine touch - you must sell to a lady in most cases.



You had to relocate and take all of your furniture with you? You can rent nice furniture. Look in your yellow pages for furniture rentals - do this before your marketing blitz if your home is empty. Don't forget the paintings and wall coverings. Stick with earth tones - bright colors will turn off some buyers.



This page is designed to be brief and give the lay-person a fighting chance in a tough market - it is by no means comprehensive - so in this spirit, here are some things to be aware of:

  • The route to your home!
    • Plan a nice route for giving directions... one that does not go past the graveyard, junkyard, cemetary and town dump! Who cares if they get lost!
  • The 'invisibles'
    • Get rid of that swingset! The kids are in college!
    • Tar over the cracks in the driveway - it takes 20 minutes! (Do this after you rip out the weeds.) :-)
    • Nothing obviously broken - windows, cracked glass in hidden spots, broken railings, an old, bent, unused basketball hoop...
    • Cracks? Tsk-Tsk. Fix them or cover them up!
    • Your bathroom - is there mildew in the tub! E-W-W-W-W!!! Tilex can fix it, for bad cases it is really easy to grout it yourself! Go to Home Depot and ask the guy in the bathroom section - it will take you 2 hours and your bath will look like new - no new tile necessary!
  • Landscaping
    • FLOWERS! Put flowers everywhere you can, they are cheap!
    • Replace any dead shrubs, trim overgrown ones.
    • Any brown spots in your lawn should be fixed - if need be, with sod - it's not expensive for small areas.

                                 How to stage your home - see the video
Video courtesy of Boston Home Staging. All Rights Reserved.

Staging Tips:

Curb Appeal

Ask an impartial friend to critique your home for faults they see from the curb. You will never see it on your own, so you should enlist the help of a friend. Take their advice and fix what they see!


A tastefully furnished home will sell much faster than an empty shell. The pros know this and that's why developers create 'model' homes outfitted with classy furnishings and paintings by experienced designers. If you absolutely must move your furniture out of the house, think of renting some furniture for a while when you do your marketing blitz.

100 Watt Light Bulbs

Bright homes sell. Dark dingy ones do not. Put 100 watt lightbulbs in every place you can and turn them all on when you hold your open house - even if it's broad daylight and the sun is shining. Trust me.


No Smoking in the house. Not if you want to sell it. If you are a smoker, this is the biggest invisible of all - the one you will NEVER see, but is obvious to the rest of the world. Nearly 80% of Americans do not smoke. They hate the smell. If you smoke in your home it has permeated everything - curtains, carpets - probably even the wordwork. Not only must you stop smoking in the house, but all of the above must be cleaned. Otherwise, only a smoker will buy your house - unless you give it away.


Pets stink. Yes, we adore them, they are so cute and loveable and bring much joy to our children and to us... but they do not help us sell the house. We don't smell tabby, and barely notice her hair on the couch. Prospective buyers do. They hate Tabby. If you really want to sell, think of some way to make poor Tabby live in the garage for a few weeks.

More on Staging

Home Staging Video:

   Want to learn more about home staging?


   Just click on the video to the left at the bottom of the screen and learn some tips from an expert. Fortunately, for the author of the video, the Boston real estate market has not been hit as hard as other markets across the USA - but these tips will help any home!


   Learn a few tricks from Ms. Lisa Kauffman Tharp about how to reduce clutter and make a home more attractive to more potential homebuyers - an essential edge in the challenging real estate markets of today.

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