Important First Steps for Staging a Home for Sale

Photo by  Jens Kreuter  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash


by Phillip B. Burum, DR Horton,

President, Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter

For homeowners looking to prepare their homes for sale as the spring and summer home shopping season begins, these final weeks of winter offer a terrific opportunity to get a head start on some often-overlooked details that will benefit the sale of the home considerably if addressed early-on in the process. 

     Proper home staging can be the difference needed to set your home apart from the many other choices homebuyers will be viewing this season.  ‘Staging’ describes the process of making a home as attractive as possible to a potential buyer. For most home sellers, it generally involves sprucing up the landscaping along with the home’s exterior and interior.

     The first component of any staging plan will be to unclutter your home, which can be achieved by storing all but the day-to-day essentials in the home – especially if there will be any remodeling going on. One man’s clutter may be another man’s treasure so, while you are making determinations on what can be stored, consider having a garage sale. Garage sales are a great way to earn a few extra bucks for the move, but a successful sale will also save you a small fortune in storage and moving fees.   

     If you opt to have a garage sale, be sure to check with your local authorities to see if your community requires permits and take the necessary steps to obtain one and find out their policy on signage. Many communities have regulations concerning where, how and when signs may be posted and when they need to be removed.

     For unsold items, do not pack them back into a box and prepare them for longer storage. You have already made the decision to let the item go so follow through and consider contacting local charities. They would be happy to take most usable items. Some charities will even send a truck by to pick up donations - particularly large items like furniture and appliances. Remember to get a receipt from the charity so you can deduct the donation on your income taxes.

     The clutter is now gone. You have sold, donated, or stored away any items that are not part of your daily or weekly life. Now it’s time to think about a few minor modifications that will help potential buyers make the right buying decision. 

     First impressions only happen once. If you have lived in your home for a few decades, raising cats, dogs, chickens or even children, it may be worth considering a substantial renovation. Most homes, however, may just need a fresh coat of paint to get the job done. 

     If painting is on your ‘to do’ list, seek the advice of a designer or the paint sales person at your local hardware store before getting started. There are some basic ‘rules’ to follow to get the best results. Many, for example, overlook painting the home’s “fifth wall” as part of their painting project. 

     Height or lack of height will be evaluated by anyone looking at your home, so a proper ceiling makeover will ensure your home is viewed in its best possible light. Designers often caution against using the same color or pattern on both the walls and the ceiling as they tend to make a room feel small and closeted, so consider contrasting ceiling and wall colors. Deeper shades will make a large space seem cozier while softer tones like beige or white will open up a smaller space. 

     When the painting is complete, think about installing new light fixtures or fans. Whether utilizing custom or stock fixtures, designers often showcase lighting as a work of art rather than just a functional element. Recessed lighting, pendant lamps and chandeliers are often paired with other ceiling details to offer new possibilities. Ceiling fans stand out as the one of the most popular decorative items, with 88 percent of buyers rating them essential and desirable according to the latest What Home Buyers Want Survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

     Staging will be a critical part of any home sale. Take the time now to ensure your home provides the best possible first impression to the many prospective buyers that will be walking through your living room this spring.

     The Building Industry Association (BIA) Baldy View Chapter seeks to advance the opportunity to attain the American Dream of homeownership. For more information on buying, selling or just enjoying your home, visit