Therese Massey



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Home Preparation & Staging

Definition: Home Staging is the preparation of a home or property for sale with special attention paid to the appearance and presentation of the property.

Home staging usually occurs after any and all small home repairs are made. Fixing or replacing items in the home that are broken or outdated is the initial step when preparing a home for sale.

Staging is the final presentation. The goal is to improve the interior and exterior appearance of the home so that the Seller receives the highest possible price as quickly as possible. The process can turn an OK HOME into a WOW HOME that sells, and sells faster than the competition.

Market Benefits

  • A Buyers’ Market requires your using every advantage to insure a sale in a reasonable time frame. In a Sellers’ Market, Home Staging helps to maximize the sale price using this advantage.

Owners’ Benefits

  • When a seller is preparing his home for sale, thinking outside of the box makes a seller wear a Buyers’ hat and look at the property with an entirely new set of eyes.
  • Home Preparation forces you to declutter and eliminate excess items in all areas of the home. It is also a pre-move step because it makes you rethink what you want to keep, sell or donate.
  • Home Preparation can help reduce your marketing time. By reducing time on market you reach your closing faster.
  • Home Preparation validates the asking price. Everything must look move- in ready to justify your sale price. Refresh from the front door to the furnace filters so that your home has that loved and cared for feeling!

Getting Ready to Sell

  • Curb Appeal: We’ve all heard it. If you like what you see, you want to know more. The goal is to make the home or property appeal to buyers so that they want to find out more about your property.
  • Put on your buyer’s hat and take a look at the exterior. Make a list of items that you feel may be a turn off for a buyer. Here are some details to look for:
    • Is the lawn edged and mowed?
    • Does the lawn need a weed and feed?
    • Is the walkway easily accessible and clear?
    • Are the trees and shrubs trimmed or are they overgrown?
    • Do the flowerbeds need new edging or mulch?
    • Are the shutters in need or replacing or repair?
    • Does the front door need painting or a change of color?
    • Are the windows spotless?
    • Are there any cracked or broken windows?
    • Are the railings in good repair or do they need to be touched up or replaced?
    • Does the patio or deck need to be repaired?
    • Is the patio furniture fresh and appealing or should you replace or discard it?
    • How does the roof look?
    • Is the chimney in good condition?
  • Remember delayed maintenance can be a reason a buyer eliminates your property from their list of potential homes. Removing, replacing or repairing fixtures will make a difference to buyers.
First Impressions: Your entryway creates one of the major impressions that a buyer has of your home. It is one of the most important areas to consider. Plan on making it welcoming and notable. People memory tag homes with their first impressions and the images are hard to revise once they have been formed.
  • Keep the entrance spacious. Remember to remove items that are unnecessary and create clutter.
  • Put something memorable near the front door: a pretty table with flowers, a mirror or something a buyer might remember pleasantly.
  • Make sure there is good lighting in the foyer area and that the fixtures are clean. Light creates a warm and welcoming feeling.
  • Have a clean and fresh welcoming mat outside your front door. It is another easy and positive message that says you care about your home.
  • Replace or discard old or worn rugs in the foyer.
  • Straighten or remove excess items from the front closet.
Living Areas: The key living areas in a home are the living and family rooms. They are the entertainment areas where you spend time with family and friends. These areas need to be open and welcoming and should assist the buyers in seeing how the space can be used for their own needs.

  • Remove family pictures and other personal items throughout the home.
  • Arrange the furniture so that it welcomes visitors and provides for conversational areas.
  • Remove excess furniture or badly worn furniture.
  • Remove collections of items. They are distracting to buyers.
  • Consider the color of the room. There are many neutral colors that can add interest. A fresh coat of paint will really freshen a room.
  • Review the carpeting? Does it need cleaning or replacement? Most buyers today appreciate move-in ready condition. It is easier for them to see the benefits of the home rather than to try to imagine what it will look like.
  • If you have a fireplace. Remove excess items that distract from this focal point.
  • Evaluate the window treatments. Replace or remove dated window coverings.

Kitchens are Important! This is where much of the activity takes place. Buyers want to identify with how they will be able to work in and use this area.

  • Declutter the kitchen by removing unnecessary items from the counter-tops. Remove unused or rarely used items from cupboards and free up extra space for the items you use daily, but don’t want to have on the countertops. This is a pre-move helper. You may find items that need to be discarded or donated.
  • Make sure the sink and faucet sparkle. Sinks and faucets are hot buttons for buyers and indicate how well the home has been taken care of.
  • Inspect the cabinetry. Replace knobs on drawers and cupboards for an updated look. Remove smudges and fingerprints.
  • Replace out dated light fixtures. They are relatively inexpensive and give a lot of wow for the investment.
  • Countertops are a big part of the picture. Consider upgrading if they are in poor condition or very dated.
  • Clean out the cabinets. Remove extra and unused items so that they appear spacious.
  • Dining areas can add to the ambiance, too. Put some pretty placemats and dishes out to showcase this area.
  • Review the kitchen color scheme. Make sure it blends with the adjoining rooms and is as fresh and appealing as possible. Remove old dated wallpaper.
  • Clean the appliances. Make sure they shine inside and out, and remove pictures from the front of the refrigerator.

Bathrooms are another hot button for buyers! They are expensive to remodel like kitchens so they need to look their best! They should sparkle from tip to toe and show that they have been attended to.

  • Replace faucets, showerheads, and handles that are dated or corroded.
  • Replace towel holders if needed. New hardware can have a great payback for a small investment.
  • Inspect the tub and shower doors. Replace if necessary. Clean, clean, clean is the rule.
  • Replacing a mirror and light fixture give a lot of wow for a reasonable investment.
  • Put away all personal products from the vanity, tub or shower.
  • Paint or remove old wallpaper. Replace with soothing colors that are complimentary to the fixtures.
  • Check out the flooring and make sure it is good condition. If not, consider replacement.
  • Remove throw rugs and let the flooring speak for itself.
  • Remove all unnecessary items from the vanity top and clean out the linen closet. Buyers do open doors and closets!
  • Invest in new towels in complimentary colors. This is another welcoming sign to buyers.

Bedrooms are another key feature! Buyers want to feel comfortable here and are trying to see what life will be like in your home. Color, size and room arrangements are what buyers notice.

  • Neutral colors that blend with today’s color schemes are good choices. Earth tones are excellent. Consider painting or removing wallpaper if necessary.
  • Limit or eliminate furniture. You don’t want the room to seem crowded or small.
  • Consider rearranging furniture to make the room look as spacious as possible.
  • Invest in new bedding! Pile on the pillows. Check out the look in magazines. Many bedding packages come with a comforter, bed skirt, sheets, pillowcases and shams. You can get a total look for a relatively small investment and you’re then set for your new home.
  • Remove personal items to create the impersonal room that buyers can identify with.
  • Clean out the closets. Remove unnecessary items and make the closets look as spacious as possible. This will also make moving easier when the time comes.

Basements and Garages are important, too. The time invested in reorganizing and cleaning these areas will be worth it.

  • Clean and remove excess items from the garage. Make sure there is room for the vehicles and items that are to be stored in it. If a fresh coat of paint would make a difference, paint it!
  • Don’t forget the basement and storage areas. Clean and declutter here tool. Get rid of the cobwebs and dust off the furnace and the hot water heater. It really shows that you care and have maintained your home.
  • Use storage bins or consider an offsite storage unit for extra items that take up too much space in your home.
  • Make the repairs that are needed or get estimates for the repairs. Having firm quotes for any work that needs to be done, takes the mystery out of it for the buyers who will estimate that the repairs will cost twice as much.
  • Check the roof and the downspouts. Make sure they are in good repair and in working condition.
  • Paint the basement walls and floors if necessary. If the laundry area is in the basement, make sure it is appealing.


You are the only one who can decide how much time you have to spend on preparing your home for sale. In a seller’s market you may not have to do too much. In a buyer’s market you will have to do more! Each home and seller is different. As your agent, I try to work with you, the seller, and help you prepare your home, lake property or condo for sale, as efficiently and economically as possible.

Resources for Home Preparation

Local Helpers Who I Have Personally Worked With:

  • Sally Herre owns her own business Decorating Den. She has been a professional decorator for many years. She offers loads of advice and help for homeowners.
    • Phone: 262-989-0823

  • Nina Reyes has her own business Nina Decorating Concepts. Nina is a decorator and a stager. Nina can offer advice and will stage a home or a room for a buyer. She has loads of experience.
    • Phone: 920-960-2611

Other Resources:

  • Designed to Sell - HGTV Program has many interesting ideas that are inexpensive and useful.
  • There are also many books on the market that develop this concept. A couple of them are:
    • Designed to Sell – Available at Amazon
    • Home Staging for Dummies -- Available at Amazon