Realtors share their top staging tips: How to get started

Getting a house ready for market can be a daunting task. The to-do list can get long and sometimes it’s hard to know how to prioritize projects. We’ve covered how to get your curb appeal up to snuff previously with Crank up the curb appeal. Now let’s focus on getting started inside.

Before staging can begin, you’ve got to purge. A well-staged home will feel spacious and light. That’s hard to accomplish if it’s full of your stuff. You’ll be moving soon anyway, so it’s a good time to start going through your things and getting rid of anything that no longer fits, doesn’t get used, you no longer want or need. Hold a garage sale or donate these things. Use offsite storage if you want to hang on to some things, but they don’t need to be in the house for showings. The goal is to have minimally used cupboards, shelves, and closets. Buyers will be checking inside them to see how efficient the space is. That’s why you should store off-site whenever possible. You want to show a house with plenty of storage space. Consider removing excess or oversized furniture to open up more space.

Again, closets are no exception. It doesn’t help to pack things away if your closets are bursting with boxes. Aim to have about 30 percent of open, unused space in closets to emphasize their spaciousness. Neatly hang clothes on matching hangers, and evenly space out those hangers. Folded items should be stacked neatly and organized by color. Shoes, bags, and accessories should also be organized. Get some matching tailored-looking cardboard boxes to store extra items. Try to make everything look as catalogue-perfect as possible.

Depersonalize. This is important. You’re trying to sell the house, not show off your style. Your style will be moving with you, so it’s ok to pack it away. Now is the time to detach from what made the house uniquely yours. Box up photos, collections, diplomas, books, knickknacks, kids artwork and other personal items. They are distracting to buyers. You want people to view the home as their potential home. You want them looking at the structure of the house and imagining themselves living in it. You don’t want them to get distracted. If your house is filled with personal items, buyers are likely to forget about looking at the space. You wouldn’t believe how long buyers will stare at photos of people they do not know. It’s much better to leave a blank slate.

Spring clean like Martha Stewart is coming for dinner - and she’s bringing your mother in law and the Queen along with her. Your house has never been this clean. Those sparkling windows could be worn as jewels. Every surface is sparkling clean – from those gleaming grout lines to those baseboard that look like they’ve never seen a speck of dust. Hire professionals to deep clean to give yourself a head start if you can. Every inch much be absolutely pristine. It is absolutely essential. If you have pets, have all of your rugs and carpets steam cleaned and deodorized. Pick up and organize toys. Pack most of them away – the kids can survive with fewer toys for a little while. Remember that families with kids might be tempted when they see how wonderfully you’ve organized your kids’ room.