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Staging Diva's:
Top 10 Tips to Turn your House into a Show Home

Sell High. Sell Fast. Sell Smart.

While it's tough to be objective about your own home, here are some tips you can use to start to get your house ready to sell.

A Staging Diva® Graduate Home Stager brings a designer eye to the finishing touches of creating your "show home."

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These 10 low cost tips will get you started on turning your house into a "show home". This is critical because if you want to get the most money for your home and sell more quickly, you need potential buyers (and their agents) to feel it's a "hot property".

Even if you're not moving, you will find these tips also make your home more relaxing and enjoyable to live in.

1. Consider the curb appeal.

Landscaping is nice, but not in everyone's budget. At minimum, lawns should be freshly mowed, leaves raked, or snow shoveled. Consider a hanging or potted plant for the entrance. Sweep the porch, deck and all walk ways and ensure garbage and recycling are tucked neatly away from the front of the house.

Scrub your front door, porch, outside railings and steps. This is cheaper than repainting and makes a world of difference. Once the outside entrance is clean, decide if the paint really needs a touch up.

2. Get rid of clutter!

Pick one closet or area at a time so the task isn't as daunting. Look at every item with a very critical eye and ask yourself why you're keeping it.

cluttered kitchen show home kitchen
Remember that how you live in your home and how you sell your house are two entirely different things. You're going for a "show home" look like the one Debra Gould created here!

Forget about hanging onto items for a garage sale. Pick your favorite charity and donate it. You paid for these things long ago, why not just give them away to others who REALLY need them?

You'll probably have to edit the same closets a number of times to really whittle them down to the "essentials". If rooms and closets still look cramped, rent a storage locker. A Staging Diva Graduate Home Stager can recommend a location for you.

cluttered home office
pristine home office
Removing clutter is an important starting point. A home staging professional will also know how to draw attention to the room's best features and create a focal point, as seen here in a home office staged by Debra Gould for her home staging company Six Elements Inc.

3. Turn excess inventory into cash.

If you have a collection of items for projects you never got around to, return them. This also applies to the two-year supply of light bulbs, canned goods or paper products sitting in your basement.

Without a receipt you won't get cash, but you will have a store credit that you can use once you move. Less clutter and less stuff to pack, move and unpack again!

4. Watch where the eye goes.

There are speedy and low cost solutions to many of the little problems that together make a home seem shabbier than it needs to.

Walk along each corridor and into every room and check where your eye is drawn (better yet, ask a critical friend or family member). If the eye is drawn to the chipped white paint on the door frame, take some "white out" and fill it in. If it's those old nail holes in the wall, see if you can hang a picture to cover them.

Glue any peeling wallpaper. If it's really horrible and you can't afford the time or money to fix it properly, hang pictures and strategically place baskets. You won't cover the problem entirely (which would be wrong anyway), but you will draw your audience's attention away from the problem and onto something more visually pleasing to focus on.

5. Find a fix-it person.

Ensure cupboards open and shut and that no taps are dripping. Look in all rooms for things you never got around to fixing and decide which ones might be distracting to potential buyers. No, it's not OK for door handles to fall off, even if you have learned to ignore it!

A Staging Diva Professional identifies which problems should be fixed and can recommend someone to do the work.

A "Show Home"?

Home Staging (also called House Fluffing, House Primping, Real Estate Staging) is the art of decorating a home to sell quickly and for top dollar.

From recommending wall colors, repairs and decluttering, to careful arrangement of furniture, art and accessories; we guide you through the process to do it yourself, or we take care of all the details for you.

You can have a Home Staging consultation without doing anything to your home first, but if you take the 10 steps outlined on this page, you'll keep the focus on the more complicated elements required.

A Staging Diva Professional knows exactly which changes will make the most significant difference in your selling price and will reduce your stress from trying to do everything on top of working and living your life.

Answers to common questions homeowners have when considering home staging to boost the value of their home.

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6. Clean, clean and clean again.

Most mortals can't live in a spotless environment all the time. This can be one of the more stressful aspects of having your home on the market— but it's worth the effort to sell your home for top dollar. You can hire a professional service to come in and deep clean everything; then take 20-30 minutes each day to maintain it.

cluttered hallway clutter free hallway in a staged home
Don't neglect hallways. They lead potential buyers through your home and should be bright and clutter free. Remember you're trying to maximize the feeling of space in your home! Project by Six Elements.

Appliances should sparkle even if you're not including them with the house. After all, you might throw them in later as a negotiating tool. Counter tops, taps, sinks and bathtubs should be shiny and free of water spots.

If you have a pedestal sink, don't forget the dust that collects on top of the plumbing where it attaches to the wall. If the whole sink is spotless and the taps aren't dripping, it will look new!

Dust shelves and vacuum or "Swiffer" the floors. Naturally, all beds should be made. At a recent open house for a home listed over $500,000 (and over 60 days on the market), they hadn't even bothered with these two simple steps! It made you wonder what bigger things had been neglected.

Remember clean windows let in more light and look newer. Hire a service if you have to— it's worth the investment.

Staging Diva Professionals know who to call to get your home in sparkling shape. It's all part of the home staging process.

If all this attention to detail seems over the top, remember that a very clean home leaves the impression that the house is well cared for. This helps put buyers at ease— especially a first time buyer who may be worried about the responsibilities of owning a house.

7. Let in some air.

Open some windows for at least 10 minutes. There is nothing worse than walking into a stuffy house or one that smells of smoke and pet odors.

8. Let in some light.

sparkling stained glass and sculpture in this staged home It might be mood lighting to you, but if you're trying to sell your home, keep it bright! Dimly lit rooms tend to look small and dingy— especially during the day.

If you have a particularly dark room, consider investing in a floor lamp that will bounce light off the ceiling.

If your walls are so dark that they're sucking up all the light, consider repainting. You can even buy a small can of a lighter shade of your wall color, mix it with glaze and rub it onto the wall. It will reflect light and give the room a more open feeling. This approach saves much of the preparation and clean up involved in repainting.

9. Don't forget fresh flowers.

You don't need to spend a fortune to have fresh flowers throughout your home. Even a daisy in a bud vase brightens a bathroom counter. Ask your florist which blooms last a week. You can also use potted flowering plants that are in season for a low-cost solution.

Don't use plastic or obviously fake flowers, especially in an expensive home!

Flowers and other accessories create a show home environment.

10. Carefully consider music.

Soft background music can help create a soothing environment and camouflage neighbor and traffic noise. But make sure the volume is very low. Blaring TVs are definitely a no-no, but you'd be surprised how many people leave them on for showings!

Does your house look like a show home yet?

Step back and look at your home with the eye of a highly critical buyer. One of Debra Gould's clients said it well when he described what he called "the sock on the TV syndrome." In other words, something has been sitting for so long in one place in your house that you don't even see it anymore.

By the way, this client hired Debra after his $949,900 home had sat on the market for 6 weeks without a single offer. His agent wanted to drop the list price by $50,000, so he called Debra instead. After 6 hours of rearranging almost all the contents in his home, he got three offers and sold at 98% of his original asking price.

More home staging success stories.


neglected guest room


guest room staged to sell

Be honest with yourself, if you've left a room looking like the one at left for years, will you really have the energy and the vision to turn it into the room at right before your house goes on the market? This guest room was decorated to sell by home staging expert Debra Gould with rental furnishings and accessories.

If you've completed these 10 steps and you're still in a panic to get your house showing-ready, why not look at how hiring a professional home stager can help you?

Are you reviewing these home staging tips and wanting more information about what it's like being a home stager?

Read Home Staging Business Report

Flowers provided by Debra Gould

Want to learn about how to become a professional home stager?

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Staging Diva Debra Gould attends to everything even the flowers

Debra Gould shares before and after photos and detailed floor plans from actual staging projects to illustrate the design principles she teaches in this complete guide. Boost your confidence in any real estate staging project!

Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide: Home Staging Tips, Tricks and Floor Plans

Need help turning your house into a show home?

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