The Staging Process


What is Staging?
Staging is not about anyone’s individual taste; it is about everyone’s taste—turning a home that reflects a homeowner’s personality and style into a depersonalized house that will appeal to the broadest market segment possible.


The Goals of Staging 

Staging starts with decluttering and depersonalizing, and can include reorganizing and neutralizing furnishings or even repurposing and redesigning rooms - all to allow buyers to easily picture living in the house. 

  • Improve the overall condition - by cleaning, organizing, and enhancing the house to ensure a faster, more profitable sale.
  • Minimize clutter and pack up personal belongings to make the experience about the buyers. They need to see past the life of the home’s occupants and visualize how they would live in the house. 
  • Create a vision for buyers so they do not have to use their imaginations to visualize themselves in the house. Buying a house is partly an emotional decision because people are also buying a lifestyle. By making a positive impact on how they feel in the home, sellers can make a significant difference in how much it sells for and the number of offers they receive. Walk through the house and make written notes on the condition and what may need to be changed or updated. 
  •   Home Staging Checklist
  • Make a Good First Impression As the old saying goes, you only have one chance to make a good impression. In home staging, this opportunity starts at the street. The curbside view is almost always the first thing buyers notice as they drive down the street, or look at promotional fliers and Internet listings. Great curb appeal can be a magnet for potential buyers. When buyers arrive to preview the home, they are focused on the entrance. As they stand there waiting for someone to answer the door or while the agent fumbles with the lockbox, they will be forming their first impressions of your house. Pull out all the stops!Completely clean, paint or replace the front door. It should look like new.
  • Clean and polish the doorknob, or replace with a new one. Polish or replace metal kick plate on door.
  • Clean windows on door. Also clean door jambs and the sill plate.
  • Repaint railings, etc. as necessary.
  • Make sure the doorbell works.
  • Clean and polish the street number, or replace with a new one.
  • Buy a new welcome mat.
  • Put a seasonal wreath on the door.
  • Set up inviting outdoor furniture in appropriate areas.
  • Buy some potted plants to place on either side of door.
  • Repair any cracks in the paving on the steps.
  • Keep the entrance swept and clean.
  • Remove oil and other stains from the driveway.
  • Wash/wax any cars that sit in the driveway.
  • Clean out gutters.
  • Wash down siding and eaves.  Reattach any downspouts that have come loose.
  • Dispose of all pet debris.
  • Mow the lawn.  Re-sod as needed.
  • Rake leaves and twigs.
  • Remove any dead plants.
  • Remove any tools and gardening equipment.
  • Recoil water hoses neatly.
  • Clear away bikes, toys, etc.
  • Remove 25-50% of all furniture to create space.

Ask Yourself

  • Are counter tops cleared of miscellaneous items? (The fewer items on the counters the better.)
    Have you removed unnecessary furniture throughout the house?
    Have you removed the art gallery, coupon collection and magnets from the refrigerator?
    Have you removed all family photos and specialized art (i.e. nudes)?



  • Sort through drawers, closets and built-ins. Store whatever you don’t need. 
  • Clean off dresser tops. Remove all knickknacks under 10” tall.
  • Box extra toys.


  • Clear off countertops. 
  • Store small appliances, gadgets, pots, pans and bowls.
  • Sort through, organize and clean cupboards, drawers and cabinets.  Store whatever you don’t need.
  • Face contents leaving a small space on each shelf to show potential storage space.
  • Remove and consolidate items in the refrigerator. Clean all the bottles of drips.  
  • All kitchen appliances should be spotless inside and out: stove, microwave, dishwasher, etc.

Check the bathrooms

  • Are the surfaces clean and clear?
  • Hang shower curtains/doors properly.
  • Flooring should be fresh and clean with no stains.
  • Neatly hang new/extremely clean (i.e. not stained) towels.  The newer and fluffier the better.
  • Please close toilet lids for all showings and remove all magazines from baths.  Make sure all toilets are flushed.
  • Do not leave any laundry out in public view.

Basements and Attics

  • Sort, box and store tools, shop equipment, projects and memorabilia.  Do not block access to or view of storage space.
  • Hang tools and sports and gardening equipment on the walls.
  • Basement floors should be spotless.  Any cracks or leaks should be repaired.
  • Run a dehumidifier if there is any hint of dampness or mustiness.
  • Clean all mechanicals, i.e. furnace, water heater, water softener.  Show maintenance history on all utilities.
  • Vacuum ceilings and corners of unfinished spaces.  No cobwebs or insects please.  Remove any hint of rodents (i.e. mouse traps). The basement and attic shall be as clean as the living area of the home. 


  • Clear closet of extra coats and jackets
  • Hang everything on uniform (i.e. wooden) hangers facing the same way.  Color coordination of closets is not a bad thing when you are selling.

Living Room

  • Remove all papers and magazines from coffee and end tables.  Remove excess books from bookcases.

Check the walls

  • Are paint and wallpaper fresh and clean? (However, if there is wallpaper you may want to consider removing it as most buyers do not like wallpaper.)
  • Make certain all walls are free from holes.
  • Are there any colors or objects on the walls that need to be removed?

Check the floors:

  • Are all carpet and hard surface floors clean and free from stains?
  • If wood floors are scratched you should have the floors buffed to remove scratches and refinished.


Cleaning, in general:

Bathrooms: polish chrome, remove all rust stains, clean all tile grout, any mildew buildup should be removed, clean or replace shower curtain, clean shower doors or remove, remove all soap residue from everywhere, clean toilet bowl.

Kitchen:  Wipe down interiors and exteriors of all cupboards and drawers.  Wipe down any small appliances shown.  Wipe down inside and outside of refrigerator.  Clean stove and oven, and microwave.  Replace oven light bulb if not working.  Clean burner liners or replace. Polish and clean sink, clean tile and grout.  Polish any chrome.  Light fixtures should also be cleaned….especially above the stove.  Clean fan above stove.

All light fixtures and ceiling fans should be cleaned inside and out. Bulbs should all be operating.

Put away bills and paperwork.

Make certain all the windows, coverings and blinds are clean.

Pet check

  • Are there any signs that this is a pet's home? Be fastidiously clean with litter boxes (or remove them), pet toys and bedding.
  • How's the aroma? A home for sale should not have pet aroma of any sort.
  • Try to air out the home prior to showings.
  • If air freshener is necessary, use well before showings as a consideration to those with allergies.
  • Ideally, pets will be removed prior to all showings.

Exterior Maintenance


  • Repair or replace squeaky hinges
  • Repair cracks or any broken steps on walkway, entrance and driveway.
  • Tighten railings on porch and deck.
  • Repair any bad deck boards.
  • Trim back hedges and trees.
  • Replace broken or missing roof shingles.
  • Repair or replace gutters and downspouts.


Set the mood prior to showings

  • Open draperies and blinds.
  • Turn on lights in every room.
  • Play music; set up an iPod for classical music with the volume on low.
  • If you have time, cook a batch of cookies to have the warm, welcoming aroma permeating the home. Otherwise use the most popular scent, cinnamon.
  • Do not set the table, but use a fresh floral centerpiece.
  • Display bouquets of fresh flowers in the living room and master bedroom.
  • Use lighting to create a mood. Update all wattage to the highest safe level.
  • Make the most of views. Direct eyes to a pool, yard or skyline by opening windows or patio doors if the weather is nice.
  • As a rule, AC should be no cooler than 75° and heat should be no warmer than 72°.