Staging Your Home For Success

Modern Dining Room Staging and Design

Look, cleaning and packing is never fun. Especially the type of deep cleaning you have to do when you move, and want to sell your home for all it's worth. But the reward for getting down and dirty scrubbing baseboards and grody windows is seeing your home with new life breathed into it, and enjoying your last moments in your beloved home while it's looking its best. Whether you hire a professional stager, or put in the time and effort to do it DIY-style, buyers will love it, and will crawl over each other to convince you to accept their offer. You'll be able to be picky about selecting a buyer who will truly cherish your beautiful home for years to come. Read on for some specific staging tips that will help you create a feeding frenzy among buyers. 


It's easy to get set in our ways of how we like things to look because they've always looked that way. And let's face it, most of us have way too much stuff, so when you have to pack it up anyway, it's well worth the extra effort to play with some design changes, presenting your home in a new and improved light.

According to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Staging, over 81% of buyers find it "easier to visualize the property as their future home" when it's staged. Even more importantly, almost a third of buyers (28%) are willing to overlook other flaws in a home if it's staged, and 48% of buyers will offer a higher dollar value for staged homes. According to the report, the most important rooms to stage are (in order of importance): the living room, the kitchen, the master bedroom, and the dining room. If you're on a budget in terms of time or money, focus on these rooms and you won't go wrong. 

Whether you hire a professional stager or have the vision and courage to do it yourself, you need to put yourself in a buyer's shoes. One great way to do this is to have your real estate agent take you on a tour of the other homes for sale in your home's price range. You will quickly get a very clear understanding of where your home stands among the competition, and hopefully some inspiration about design tricks to try. And the best part is, you can be bold and experimental about trying something that's not your normal style, because you won't be stuck with it—you're on your way out the door!

Here are some tips and tricks modern home stagers and designers are using today to help your home sell fast and for top dollar:  

Minimalism.  Buyers need to be able to "see" themselves living in your home. That's why one of the most important steps in preparing your home for the market is to completely depersonalize your home. You want it to look like a model home, as if no one actually lives there, or maybe some imaginary "perfect" type of people. This means basically starting your move—packing up your stuff and putting it in storage or a corner of the garage. Portable storage pods are going to be very helpful here. Many will store your stuff for a few months and then deliver it to your new home once you're ready to move in. The only problem is, after you get used to the zen energy flow of a minimalist home, you might not want to unpack all your stuff.

Strategic "Living" Clues.  Your staging should subtly invite buyers to imagine how perfect their life would be in your home. Think peaceful mornings in the sunny breakfast nook, family dinners, backyard bbq's, etc. 

Staging Your Home for Success, How to Get Top Dollar When You Sell Your Home, San Diego Real Estate

A welcoming patio.

Staged Breakfast Nook, How to Prepare Your Home for Sale, San Diego Real Estate

An inviting breakfast nook.

Paint.  Paint is one of the most cost-effective improvements you can do when it's time to sell. It instantly cleans and freshens the interior of your home, and the fresh paint smell evokes a feeling of "newness." Don't be afraid to add a pop of color on one wall or a bright color in a room with great windows to enhance the natural light. 

Light. Light and bright homes evoke the same feelings of elation and peace that come from a clean, uncluttered home. These things go hand in hand. Open up and clean windows, ditch heavy curtains, and make sure this newfound light reveals sparkling clean surfaces.

Fresh Linens.  This is another great relatively low-cost item that makes your home present as fresh and clean. Plus, you get to take them with you when you move! Think of it as a moving present to yourself for all your hard work cleaning and packing. And with the money you'll make on the sale of your home, you'll probably have some left over for another indulgence or two.

Staging Your Home For Success, Fresh Linens in the Bedroom, San Diego Real Estate

Fresh linens add a luxurious feel to the master bedroom retreat.

Address Odors.  The sense of smell is one of the most powerful subliminal triggers that could make or break a buyer's impression of your home. As you work through and deep clean your home, you'll identify areas where musty or stagnant odors are present, and you should do everything possible to eliminate them. Have carpets professionally cleaned, and keep windows open for at least 3 hours prior to showings. Even the most pristine new home will smell a little funky if it has been completely sealed up for a while before the showing. 

Greenery.  Plants add life, energy and color to your home. Even if you can't keep an indoor plant alive, a well-placed fake plant can make your home seem luxurious and peaceful. 

Create a Great First Impression.  Most buyers make a decision whether they want to buy your home within the first 8 seconds. Some buyers don't even get out of the car if your curb appeal is lacking. Staging is like the curb appeal of the internet. A staged home nearly always looks more compelling in the photos and will get more buyers in the door. It maximizes the space for small or oddly-shaped areas, and helps buyers overlooks flaws in your home. 

If you're not feeling up to the challenge of learning how to stage your home yourself, consider hiring a professional. Per the NAR Report, the median amount spent on home staging last year was only $675. This more than pays for itself with the increased sale price you'll be able to negotiate for your home.

If you need a referral to a great stager, please contact us! If you qualify for one of our seller packages, we may even pay the cost of hiring a professional designer for your home. That's just one element of the comprehensive services we offer our sellers. 

Please leave us any comments or questions below, and thanks for sharing!

Lauren Empey, San Diego Realtor, Pacific Beach Real Estate Broker and Attorney

About the Author

Lauren Empey, real estate broker and attorney specializing in San Diego real estate sales and investments. I love sharing about this gorgeous San Diego life, real estate, finance, the law, and all things in between. Founder of Empey Realty. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!

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