Realtors know that properly staging a house makes it sell twice as fast and for more money, according to research from Coldwell Banker real estate. This is especially true for properties stuffed with generations of family belongings and showing decades of wear and tear. A prospective buyer may only see clutter and scruffiness where you see warmth and value. So how do you highlight your property’s potential? Here are our top seven tips for how to stage your house for a quick sale.

1. Create Curb Appeal

Prospective buyers have to want to come in, so make sure the property is inviting from the street. Trim bushes, keep the lawn mowed and plant some flowers to add color. Then focus on the porch and entry. Are there any loose boards? Is the paint peeling? Make any necessary repairs and clean it thoroughly, including the light fixture. Splurge on a bright new welcome mat.

2. Let There Be Light

When buyers walk through the front door, the first impression should be light and bright. Make sure all the window coverings are open to let in as much natural light as possible, and keep every light in the house turned on. For darker corners, add a floor lamp or replace bulbs with higher wattage options. A few strategically placed mirrors can amplify the light and make rooms feel bigger.

3. Less is More

The more furniture in a room, the smaller it feels. So go through every room and take out anything that doesn’t absolutely need to be there. For example, the living room should have just enough furniture to create a comfortable conversation area. A couch, a chair or two (depending on the size of the room), a coffee table and an end table with a lamp—that’s it. You also want to create an open, easy flow through the house, so get rid of any furniture in hallways.

4. Clear Out the Clutter

Knick-knacks. Coasters. Framed pictures. Magazines. Whatever is covering the surfaces in your house has to go if you are staging a house for a quick sale. These odds and ends may be important to you, but anything that catches the eye takes the prospective buyer’s attention away from the overall structure and flow of the house. Then attack the closets. Box up enough clothes to create open space on the clothes rack, and get rid of all those boxes on the top shelf.

5. Focus on Function

Each room should be staged based on its primary use. So even if that spare bedroom is set up as an office, you should replace the desk with a bed. But you don’t need to buy new furniture. You can pick up a used bedroom set on Craigslist for less than $200.

6. Dress up the Kitchen and Bathrooms

You don’t need to renovate these important rooms, but you do need to make them sparkle. If the cabinets are old and dated, think about repainting them in a fun color. Buy new, decorative hand and kitchen towels, clean the ceiling lights and polish the fixtures. Add a nice candle or fancy soap dish to the bathroom, but take everything off the kitchen counters to make them look bigger

7. Freshen Up the Paint

This is the easiest way to stage your house for a quick sale - nothing jazzes up an older house like a fresh coat of paint. For about $100 a room (for paint and materials), you can paint the rooms yourself and save on labor costs. Fresh color will erase decades of wear and tear, brightening up dingy or faded walls. The key is to pick warm, neutral colors so that prospective buyers can easily picture their furniture and belongings in the space.

Knowing how to stage your house for a quick sale helps you reduce your monthly carrying costs (insurance, mortgage, utilities), so you make more profit. These tips for staging a house to sell are all DIY, which means the biggest investment you’ll make in any of these projects will be your time and energy. But the payoff will be all cash. 

Interested in our downsizing, moving, and house cleanout services? We also offer realtor or homeowner-directed staging and home prep to get your house listing-ready!


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At Wayforth we work with families in transition. We can empty an entire house within days, sorting what items to keep, sell, donate, and discard. Our employees pack and move everything, then prepare the house for sale. Call us for a free consultation.

Our advice is based on our experience cleaning out and settling estates for our clients. Each project is different, and each state's laws are different. We always recommend that you consult personally with experts about your particular situation before making any important decisions.