Ask Anna: 5 Tips for Staging Your House To Sell

by Anna MoseleyMarch 14, 2016

We are so excited to kick off our organization series with Anna Moseley of Ask Anna this week! Anna has been writing and sharing tips on her blog for years about ways to be more organized in her home, and we are so excited to read her latest tips here!

Selling your home is a big deal, and for some, it’s overwhelming to know where to begin. There are lots of great shows, like Buying and Selling with the Property Brothers, that give ideas for how to improve your home before you sell it, but today I want to give you some less drastic ideas with these 5 tips for staging your home to sell.

1. De-clutter

The first thing, and one of the most important things to do when staging a home is to de-clutter. Clutter is a part of life, and we all have it, whether we want to admit it or not. But when it comes to selling your home the rule “less is more” applies. We all love our stuff, but the truth is that buyers don’t want to see it. Here’s a checklist of the most important places to de-clutter as buyers will definitely look there!

  • Closets: Open every closet, including hall and linen closets, and take out anything that doesn’t need to be in there. Box up seasonal items, extra shoes, coats, blankets, etc. – basically anything that takes up a lot of space. Storage space is a hot commodity and buyers want to see that a home has big closets, so make yours look more spacious by removing extra stuff, giving the impression that the closet is so big that you even unused space.
  • Kitchen cabinets: Do the same thing in your kitchen cabinets. Take out anything you don’t need – extra dishes, utensils, etc. Remember, this is only temporary so think like a minimalist. Once your house sells you can have your stuff back. In addition, go through the cabinets and organize items so they look nice and neat. An organized space will look bigger and more attractive to buyers.
  • The laundry room: Let’s be honest, no buyer wants to see piles of laundry, even if it’s clean.

A Clean Laundry Room

  • Flat surfaces: When it comes to the flat surfaces in your home, it’s so important to minimize what’s on them because stuff sitting on counters, bathroom vanities, dressers, etc. will look messy and unappealing to buyers. Box up anything extra and keep an eye out for visual clutter.

2. Depersonalize

Personal touches make a house feel like home, but buyers wouldn’t agree. When a buyer walks into your home, you want them to be able to visualize themselves living there, but they can’t do that if they are seeing pictures of your kids/friends/pets everywhere. Box up any family pictures you have on the walls any flat surfaces and replace them with mirrors (to add extra light) or inexpensive artwork from TJ Maxx or Home Goods. I’ll be honest, this is my least favorite thing to do because I have tons of family pictures in our home, but this is critical, and again, it’s only temporary. All of those pictures will be back on the walls of your new house in no time!
Depersonalizing a home can also go beyond pictures. If you’re like me and you love to personalize your home with paint then you might need to tone it down a little. Buyers aren’t necessarily going to love a red accent wall, a purple bedroom, or a bright blue bathroom, so consider painting over your brights with a more neutral color – some of my favorite neutral gray colors can be found here.

3. Get A Second Opinion

We all love our homes and think they are perfect just the way we have them decorated, the furniture arranged, etc. But what if there is another way of doing something that might be more attractive to a buyer? I highly recommend asking a friend, co-worker, or anyone who will give you an HONEST opinion, to come over and walk through your house. Here are a few questions to ask them:

  • Is the color palette of my decorations inviting and attractive to you?
  • Does this room (living room, bedrooms, dining room) feel comfortable and big the way it is, or do you think if we rearranged the furniture that it would feel even bigger?
  • What’s your favorite thing about our house? (Whatever their answer is, make sure you emphasize that feature so that buyers will notice it too.)
  • Does it feel light enough in here or do you think I should add some lamps, a mirror, etc.?
  • Does our home feel fresh, clean and de-cluttered? If not, what do you think I should do to achieve that?

While they are walking through your home give them permission to be honest. Don’t be offended by what they say because it’s not personal, it’s business. Selling a house is a business transaction and you have to put yourself in the mind of the buyer if you really want to sell. Your friend probably loves your house just the way it is, but their outside perspective on how a buyer will see your home is priceless!

4. Shop

After you and your friend walk through your home, make a list of any suggestions they had and go shopping.

  • If you need to add lighting, buy some new lamps.
  • If the walls feel too bare after removing all your pictures, purchase some inexpensive art, or cheap frames and make an empty frame collage wall, or fill them with scenery pictures from your travels.

A Staged Office

  • If you need to freshen up your floors buy new rugs for the bathrooms, entryway, kitchen, etc.
  • One thing I would definitely recommend purchasing is a big glass bowl (unless you already have one.) Set it on your countertop and add fresh Granny Smith apples or lemons to it. The pop of color will draw buyers attention to the kitchen, and the bright green or yellow will make the kitchen feel fresh and clean.

5. Keep It Clean

This last tip is very important because it’s the thing that will make all your hard work pay off. I know you can keep your house clean because you just put in all the work to make your home a shining star, but your family might not be on the same page. Call a family meeting – kids, parents, etc. and explain to everyone the importance of keeping the house clean. Make sure everyone knows that keeping it clean and de-cluttered is the key to selling the house. Emphasize that it might be a little extra work for now, but it will be worth it when you get to move into your new home sooner rather than later!
A Beautifully Minimal Kitchen
That’s it! With these 5 tips your house is sure to stand out and be a home that buyers can imagine themselves in. If you have any questions please reach out, I’d love to help! If not, have fun staging your home and best of luck selling it!

Looking for some other ways to get organized in your home? Check out Anna’s 5 habits for a consistently clean home and The best bathroom cleaning tips! is the place to dream and discover your ideal home! Are you starting to get the itch to look for your first or next home, but don’t know where to start? You’ve come to the right place! Browse our real estate and lifestyle blog for home buying tips, mortgage guides, DIY ideas, interior design, lifestyle topics, general home inspiration, or just some homes fun. We are sure you can scratch that itch and find all the information and tools you need to help in your home search. Want to start looking at available real estate right now? Head to our home page and check out homes for sale or rent listings all over the country.
Happy house hunting!

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About The Author
Anna Moseley
Anna is the owner and creator of the AskAnna blog. Her blog provides creative ideas for everything ranging from decorating to home DIY to cleaning and organizing. Her eye for detail transforms everyday projects into beautiful yet practical solutions.