How To Ensure A House Looks Great . . .

Home Stager with Great Impressions Home Staging/Interiors


  1. Make sure it presents well. Is it de-cluttered? Are personal items such as family photos, plaques, trophies, collections, toiletries removed? Are your closets overflowing? Are shoes or worse, laundry, spilling all over the floor? Is there too much furniture in each room, and does furniture block focal points like bay windows, fireplaces, doorways? Are the carpets clean? Is the house repaired and does it look well-maintained? 
  2. Are the rooms painted in neutral colors that follow current trends -- gray, beige, sage green, off-whites, blue-gray?
  3. Is every room set up to ideally show off one purpose only -- i.e., guest room OR home office OR dining room OR family room? IF a room has two functions, buyers will either think the house doesn't have even rooms, or they will be unsure of what they would use the room for. 
  4. Are the beds dressed up to look luxurious, with at least two layers of pillows and up-to-date bedding? Nothing sells a bedroom like light and luxury . . . it should look like a haven for relaxation. In line with that, the bathrooms need to look like a place buyers would enjoy spending time in, luxuriating in a long hot shower and bath. Fluffy white towels are always the safest bet, along with totally cleaned off counters and vanities, no plungers or toilet brushes in site (stow under sinks), and dirty clothes or used towels in a lidded hamper preferably tucked away in a neatly organized linen closet. Make sure the shower and bath are clear of all clutter, like razors, shampoos, soap, etc.  A nice touch is a small plant or simple faux flowers like a white orchid or small bouquet of hydrangeas in a clear vase partially filled with stones. 
  5. Is the lawn mowed and free of garden debris and toys, hoses, garbage cans, etc.? Garbage cans should be stowed out of sight, behind a privacy fence near the garage or in the garage in a corner. Are bushes trimmed below windows to let in more light? 
  6. Is the front door, doormat, doorknob, and mailbox in good condition and updated? Is the front walkway clear and well-maintained with no cracks or loose cement, pavers, etc.? When you're selling, add a large pot of flowers (or two, if there's room) on either side of the front door, and on a back patio is well. Shots of color and seasonal flowers -- or an evergreen in a pot in winter -- make your home look more inviting to buyers. 
  7. Is there any unpleasant odor? Ask a good, honest family member who doesn't live with you or a friend or a real estate agent to tell you the honest truth. If you can't keep the windows open and the odor(s) are persistent, like from smoking, an air purifier is a good investment. An open bag of charcoal set out for a few days works wonders at absorbing temporary odors, like mustiness or a pet accident. 
  8. Are the MLS photos showing off the house in its best light? Since various statistics report between 82% to 90% of buyers start their home search on-line and only contact an agent once they've narrowed down their search to attractive properties in their price range, it is crucial the photos look great. If the house or fence is peeling or dirty, this is the time to power-wash it or paint it. No cars in the driveway, no overgrown bushes, no toilet seats should be up, no clutter should be visible, including kitchen dishtowels, food, sponges, soap bottles, etc. Curtains, drapes and shower curtains should be pushed to the side or tied back to show off light, views, and that sparkling clean tub! 
Posted by

Home Staging Bergen County -- Amy Bly

Great Impressions Home Staging 201-390-4649  

 "Great Impressions Get Offers"

Presentation and price are critical to selling houses quickly. You and your agent figure out the best price; I make your home stand out from the competition to appeal to the most buyers, whether they are first-time buyers, move-up buyers, or down-sizing buyers. As an accredited, experienced staging professional, I know how to make your home grab buyers' attention -- on the MLS and in person. A beautifully presented house makes a great impression, stands out from the competition, and generates offers faster than a non-staged house!

For a free home staging estimate, call me at 201-390-4649. 

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Geri Sonkin
Douglas Elliman Real Estate 516-457-7103 - Merrick, NY
Long Island Real Estate & Staging Expert

There is no question that homes staged before they go on the market have the best chance of selling for the highest price the market will bear.  It sounds as if the agent didn't help the cause by neglecting to put up the updated photos.

Sep 16, 2010 04:38 PM #1
Matt Grohe
RE/MAX Concepts - Des Moines, IA
Serving the metro since 2003

Amy: I always find it curious when people that hire me don't give their full cooperation to ensure their own sucess as well.

Sep 16, 2010 04:41 PM #2
Jenny Kotulak
RE/MAX Real Estate Centre Inc., Brokerage - Oakville, ON
Broker - Oakville Ontario Real Estate

That's too bad your hard work and suggestions didn't pay off.  Some people get so stuck on "what they want" to get out of the house moneywise that you are often up against a brick wall right off the bat.

As we all know what they want and what they will actually get from a buyer are not always the same.

Sep 16, 2010 04:52 PM #3
Ted J. Macy
Top Agents Atlanta Metro - Milton, GA

Amy, your staging efforts were not wasted, your blog will be the incentive to some agent(s) to use your service at the beginning, or better yet, a homeowner will find it and do it right the first time.

Thanks for all of the advice

Sep 16, 2010 05:02 PM #4
Amy Bly
Great Impressions Home Staging/Interiors - Montville, NJ
Styling Homes for Selling and Staying

Thanks for your responses! Nice to know others hear me "vent"!

Geri, the agent wasn't at all supportive of the owners hiring a stager -- and this house needed some major de-cluttering; I think if the agent had suggested it off the bat, the house would have presented a lot better right from the beginning.

Matt -- Exactly! Why pay us if you don't believe us or aren't going to follow our recommendations?

Jenny -- Yes, many people can't accept the fact that it's the market that sets the price, not them!


Sep 16, 2010 05:06 PM #5
Amy Bly

Thanks, Ted, I sure hope you are right! I truly believe sellers appreciate the help us stagers can offer, but agents need to be on board to make it really effective. 

Sep 16, 2010 05:43 PM #6
Don Spera
CR Property Group, LLC - East York, PA
Serving York and Adams County, PA

Amy, the Sellers don't realize that you have an investment in their property as well.  So Stager's need to rely on the Realtor for justification of committing their services and time that the price is where it needs to be.  Staging is not going to change the value, it will just enhance the saleability.

Sep 17, 2010 02:18 AM #7
Amy Bly

Hi, Don -- I know the price isn't where it needs to be, and it's already been dropped almost $60,000 (was dropped by $20,000 just one week after it was first put on the market back in May). I did have one staging in April sell for $10,000 more than the "top" agent wanted to list at, so I believe staging CAN motivate buyers to pay more for a property IF it is fairly priced to begin with.  Otherwise, stagings I've done in the last 8 months have always helped sell homes within a two month period, even in this market. 

Sep 17, 2010 02:46 AM #8
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Amy Bly

Styling Homes for Selling and Staying
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