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Getting your House Ready to Sell

We invited one of our favorite home stagers, Megan Morris of MHM Professional Staging, to give us a run-down of preparing a home to list it for sale. Keep reading for a helpful timeline!


Home Staging Timeline: How to Get Your Home Ready for a Competitive Market

If you are planning to put your home on the market, you may be compelled to list it as-is. The home has been well-maintained, you keep it organized, and you’re confident buyers will see its merits. However, the real estate market is more competitive than ever. Gone are the days when you could list a home as-is and realistically expect it to sell quickly and for the asking price.

With so many homes on the market, it’s imperative to give yours an edge on the competition. Home staging is proven to be incredibly effective at tapping into a buyer’s psychology and inspiring them to act quickly. It also increases the perceived value of your home so offers come in higher.

Home staging can be done on just about any timeline. However, we’ve outlined the ideal timeline that starts six months before you list with home staging tasks that will get your home in its best shape possible for the market.

6 Months

Curb appeal is one of the most important elements in selling a home. It’s the first thing buyers see when they drive up and they’ll immediately start drawing inclusions from it and getting a feel for the place. In some cases, buyers won’t even bother going inside if they aren’t impressed with the way it looks outside.

Six months before you plan to list, take a walk around the exterior of your home. Look at the landscaping, façade, and even the mailbox. Write down anything that could be improved. This is a good time to re-sod, freshen up the landscaping, paint the house, replace the roof, and take care of any other major repairs.

If there are any major repairs that need to be taken care of on the inside, too, such as electrical issues, plumbing problems, or replacing the AC, get those done, too.

4 Months

Many houses need some updating before they go on the market. There are a lot of new homes to compete with and buyers love a house that is “move-in ready.” Four months before you list, focus on improving major cosmetic details, such as replacing the floors, painting or replacing the cabinets (if they’re in great condition but the color or wood tone is outdated, all they need is a fresh coat of a neutral paint color, such as white, and some new hardware), and painting the walls in a nice neutral color.

During this time, also take care of minor repairs that are left over. This could include tasks like sprucing up the baseboards, repairing holes in the walls, and fixing other small but noticeable issues.

2 Months

Now, it’s time to declutter. Decluttering has a huge impact on the way a home shows. Even the cleanest, most organized home can benefit from some extra decluttering before it goes on the market. The less “stuff” you have around, the larger a home looks and the easier it is for buyers to focus on the home itself.

Start by going through each room and creating three piles: Keep, Toss, and Donate. Once you’ve gotten rid of anything you don’t want or need to keep, go through everything you’ve decided to keep and pack up anything you don’t need to have in the house while it’s on the market. This is especially important in the closets. Thin out the contents as much as possible so your storage space appears larger. When lots of items are stuffed into closets, it actually makes them appear smaller. Seasonal clothes, toys, craft supplies, and mementos can all be packed up and stored at a storage facility or a friend or family member’s home until you move.

Also, clear off the surfaces (put away small appliances in the kitchen, for example) and thin out the bookshelves to create as much visual space as possible.

1 Month

Once your home is decluttered, it’s time to neutralize and de-personalize the décor. Even some of the most beautifully decorated home have benefited from home staging because buyers have a variety of tastes. To appeal to the widest number of buyers possible, neutral, contemporary staging is the best way to go.

It’s also important to put away personal touches, such as family photographs, kids’ artwork, framed certifications, toiletries, and other items that will remind buyers that someone else lives there, which can be very distracting and even uncomfortable to some. To keep buyers focused on the house and imagining their own life there, put away personal items until after the move.

1 Week

Now, it’s time for the finishing touches. We like to stage the home with inviting touches that help buyers develop a more emotional connection with it for the best possible first impression. Flowers are a great touch on any surface of the home, such as on the kitchen counter, on a bedside table, or as a centerpiece on the dining room table. Set the dining room table, breakfast nook, outdoor table, and even the eat-in bar in the kitchen. Hang up a white robe in the master bathroom and put out pretty white towels for display.

This is the final phase of home staging that is the cherry on top and helps buyers feel that extra bit of connection, as well as a final boost of confidence to put in a strong offer on your home.

All together, these home staging techniques will help your home stand out from the competition and give it its strongest chance at selling faster and for more money.

If you want more guidance on how to stage your home for sale, we offer a wide range of home staging services from basic consulting to completely staging a home with furniture and décor from our warehouse. Learn more at our website: www.ProfessionalStaging.com.

Vanessa Loomie