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Staging does not necessarily mean purchasing or renting expensive furniture or doing something over-the-top! It can include making small, manageable, cost-effective improvements that really set your home apart from the competition. Decluttering and improving the general cleanliness and condition of the home may be all the staging you need. I will always provide custom advice after I've seen your property, but the lists on this page provide a good starting point of things for you to focus on.


Because you don't get a second chance to make a first impression taking the time to prepare your home for sale can make a huge difference. When viewing online, most buyers make decisions about the property they see within the first five photos. When visiting the home in person, most buyers make decisions about the property they see within the first 15 seconds of entering the home. Homes in great condition attract more interest and offers, and tend to sell for more than homes in less-than-great condition. When a seller stages their home, two things happens: the home becomes more valuable than other comparable properties in that price range and more buyers become interested and make offers allowing you to sell faster and for more money.

Before You Begin

  • Start to pack up things you know will be coming with you, but that you don’t need to use within the next three months (consider renting a small storage unit or storing things at a nearby family member’s house)

  • Hold a yard sale (or donate) to get rid of the items you know you don’t want to take with you. It will be easier to manage staging your home when items you know you aren’t planning to keep are gone.

  • Walk through each room and criticize the home from a buyer's perspective, then make notes on what you think could be improved/changed.


Thoroughly Clean and De-Clutter the Entire Home

  • Clean all bedrooms, bathrooms, blinds, light fixtures, baseboards, vents, and fans

  • Scrub tile and grout in the kitchen and bathrooms

  • Clean, polish, and/or wax hardwood floors

  • Steam clean carpets and drapes. Consider replacing carpet if stains are prominent.

  • Clean the stovetop and oven and replace burner pans if they are badly stained

  • Clean appliances and fixtures inside and out

  • Remove all pictures, magnets, drawings, messages, etc. from the refrigerator

  • Remove stains from sinks, toilets and bathtubs

  • Clean the backyard and pool area

  • Clean and organize the pantry, cabinets and drawers

  • Organize room closets and store out-of-season clothes

  • Remove all small appliances, toys, magazines and pet items from sight

  • Clear the kitchen and bathroom countertops of anything you don’t have to have out

  • Remove family photos, personal collections, and medications

  • Empty garbage daily to reduce odors

  • Refrain from smoking in the home


Small, Cost-Effective Updates and Tasks

  • Install higher wattage incandescent light bulbs to brighten rooms.

  • Replace old caulking around sinks and bathtubs

  • Repair all plumbing leaks, including faucets and drain traps

  • Make sure room and cabinet doors don’t stick or creak, and replace outdated hardware

  • Repair cracks and holes in the walls

  • Clean walls or repaint if necessary

  • Stage the front porch or deck with furniture and potted plants

  • Make sure fireplaces are in working condition

  • Remove excess and oversized furniture and rearrange furniture to maximize space

  • If your garage is over-cluttered, remove items from the garage and store them off site


The First Impression Begins at the Curb

  • Keep grass freshly cut

  • Weed and apply fresh mulch to garden beds and plant small flowers

  • Remove all yard clutter

  • Apply fresh paint or stain to fences (if wood), pressure wash (if PVC)

  • Paint the front door, add a new welcome mat

  • Clean windows inside and out

  • Wash or paint home's exterior

  • Tighten and clean all door handles


Daily Checklist for Days Home is Being Shown

  • Vacate the property while it is being shown

  • Open window coverings in the daytime

  • Take pets with you, but if not possible keep them secured or outdoors

  • Put toiletries in drawers or cabinets

  • Fold towels on rod nicely or make sure are placed on hooks

  • Keep toilet lids closed

  • Hide garbage can and cleaning supplies out of sight

  • Make beds daily and replace bedding if needed.

  • Clear off night stands, dressers, etc.

  • Pick up all clothes off the floor.

  • Store extra books, magazines, or miscellaneous items underneath the bed.

  • Keep closet doors closed. If you have a walk-in closet keep the floor clean and free of laundry and clutter

  • Clear off all coffee tables and end tables

  • Remove all ashtrays

  • Move pet food bowls out of sight

  • Clear off dining table, leave a center piece or other decorative item

  • Remove additional leaves from tables to make the room look bigger

  • Keep the kitchen sink clean and empty

  • Sweep all walkways and patios or decks

  • Secure valuable items, including cash and jewelry

A Note About Four Point Inspections

Sometimes insurance companies will require a four-point inspection before they can bind insurance for a buyer. It is a sub-report (not a full home inspection) that specifically checks the four major systems: roof, plumbing, electrical, and air conditioning. What that means for you as a seller is, if you want to sell your home to someone who needs a mortgage to buy it (most buyers), you will need to make sure your home passes a four-point inspection. Below are some of the main issues that commonly come up on a four-point inspection.

An option you may want to consider is a pre-listing home inspection. A home inspector can come in prior to you putting your home on the market and look at all the same things a buyer’s inspector would. That way you already know what issues may arise and you can take care of them before the transaction so that your contract doesn’t fall apart during the buyer’s inspection period. Or if you cannot fix them prior to listing, we can price accordingly and be transparent with buyers so that they know what to expect going into the purchase and we keep the process on track from contract to close.


  • The roof must have at least three years of life left on it

  • Broken tiles or missing shingles

  • Warped/wavy shingles

  • Lifting/curling shingles

  • Wood rot

  • Rings of moisture signaling a leak

  • Deteriorating shingles

  • Patches and/or soft spots



  • Polybutylene pipes

  • Active leaks

  • Unrepaired water damage

  • Plumbing is not in good working order

  • Hot water heater age or sign of leaks

  • PEX plumbing

  • Rusted or corroded pipes

  • Hot water heater TPR valve is missing or unvented


  • There are several brands of panels that immediately disqualify the home from passing a 4-point. They include but are not limited to Federal Pacific, Zinsco, Challenger, Siemens, Stab-Lok

  • Electrical service less than 100 amps

  • Double Taps

  • Over Fusing

  • Exposed/Unsafe Wiring

  • Empty Breaker Sockets

  • Blowing Fuses or Breakers

  • Knob and tube, aluminum, or cloth sheathed wiring

  • Pull-type fuses


Air Conditioning

  • The a/c unit is not functioning properly

  • There is no heat source

  • There are signs of leaking

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