As we stage your home, let us keep in mind that your home will be viewed online first. Buyers want to see your house, not your stuff, both in photos and in person. Too much furniture or furniture that is too large for the space will make your home appear smaller, darker and not as desirable.

Let’s go room by room and discuss essential items. Remember the size of the room matters. If any room is on the small side reduce the list of items below accordingly.

  • Front porch: two chairs with side table if the size it appropriate; if not then a decorative item with a welcome mat.
  • Entry: if large enough leave an entry table or hall tree
  • Living room: sofa, love seat, side chair, coffee table, side table, entertainment center
  • Dining room: size appropriate table with chairs, side board
  • Home office: desk, chair, bookshelf, filing cabinet
  • Master bedroom: bed, side table(s), chest of drawers, dresser
  • Secondary bedrooms: size appropriate bed, side table, dresser OR chest of drawers.
  • Back porch: size appropriate patio furniture.

Now that we have addressed the furniture concerns we need to take into consideration the placement of the furniture. The traffic pattern in the rooms matters! Let’s go through the rooms again keeping the placement of furniture in mind.

  • Front porch: do not block the doorway. Remember, the buyers coming to view your home will likely in in groups of at least 2 or 3 people. Allow room for everyone to stand while the buyer’s agent is getting the door open.
  • Entry: Leave plenty of room for a group of people to enter your home.
  • Living Room: A lot of people tend to arrange the living room for every seat to have the best view of the TV. This is not the main focus when preparing to show your home. You want to arrange the living room in a manner that is open and allows the buyer to walk freely into the room and view the space from the main entrance into the room without being blocked by a wall of furniture i.e. the sofa. Arrange a central sitting area with clear traffic patterns. The buyer will walk in and around this space analyzing it from several angles to make sure their own furniture will fit and that the size will accommodate their needs. Make it easy for them to do this.
  • Dining room: Most buyers view the dining area from the entrance, so navigation around this space is less important. You want to give a clear picture of the size of the room. Center the table under the light fixture.
  • Home Office: This is a room that is typically viewed from the door; the buyer is not likely to navigate around this room unless there is a closet they wish to check out the size of. Leave a clear path from the door to the closet.
  • Game room: This needs to be a navigable room; the buyer will likely walk into and all around in this space to see it from every angle and make sure it will accommodate the needs of their family and what they intend to use the space for. Leave clear traffic patterns.
  • Master bedroom: The bed should be across the room from the door. The buyer will likely walk through this room to the master bath and they will also walk to the master closet; make sure there is plenty of space to navigate this room comfortably. Do not block windows or doors with furniture as this is rarely the most appealing furniture placement.
  • Secondary bedroom: The bed should be the right size for the room and placed across the room from the door leaving the space as you walk in the door clear. Leave a clear path between the door and the closet. The buyer will likely walk into these rooms to view the size of the closets.
  • Back porch: Leave a path for the buyer to be able to access the backyard easily.

So that takes care of furniture placement, but what do you do with all that stuff?…..Pack it up! You are planning to move anyhow so go ahead and pack up as much stuff as you can. Put it in storage. If you must keep it on the property put it in the garage or attic. Do not cram the closet full of boxes; you want the closets as empty as possible for showings.

  • Remove all personal photos from the walls and shelves. Remove your children’s names and other personally identifiable items from their rooms. Remember these photos will be online, do you really everyone viewing homes online to know that little Susie sleeps in the pink room at 123 Main Street?

Now, let’s go back through the house and see what is remaining out in the open.

  • Look at the tops of all of your furniture—every single piece. How many items are there? If you are answering more than 5 you very likely have too much stuff out. Try to keep items to a minimum and arrange them in groupings of odd numbers, 1, 3, 5, maybe 7.
  • Be sure you pack away any valuables. Do not leave out and accessible any jewelry, guns, or medicine
  • Wipe down all interior doors and doorknobs. Magic erasers are great for this task especially if you have white interior doors.

Let’s discuss what should be done in each room individually one more time prior to taking photos!

  • Kitchen: clear the counter tops. Put away all small appliances. Typical things to see remaining out adorning the kitchen are canisters, knife blocks, coffee makers, fruit bowl (with colorful fruit). Put the rest away. Freshen it up with bright, friendly dishtowels. Make sure the dishes are done and put away. For photos you will want to hide the dish soap and other utilitarian times that tend to be around the sink and kitchen area. Clean your stove, oven, microwave, and dishwasher. These are items that will remain with the house and the buyer is likely to look inside them while they are viewing your house. Organize the pantry; the buyer will look at the size of the pantry, so clean it out and organize it in a way such as all cans facing forward. Remove all of the magnets, notes, and artwork from the outside of your refrigerator. Wipe down the outside of your cabinets and appliances.
  • Bathrooms: You are trying to create a spa-like feeling in these rooms. Put out decorative color coordinated towels. Clear off the counter tops completely and then add a size appropriate decorative item. If photographs will be taken of the bathroom be sure to remove the bath puffs, shampoo, etc. from the glass shower enclosure and the garden tub; you would be surprised how much the bright pink little shower puff with show up in the photo. Be sure to avoid the photographer being captured in the reflection of the mirror. Close the commode! Tidy up and organize the linen cabinets.
  • Bedrooms: just like your momma always told you, clean your room, and make the bed! Follow the general rule of 1, 3, 5, or maybe 7 items on top of any piece of furniture. Less is usually better! The folded extra blanket at the end of the bed may or may not look great in the photos. Pull out you phone, take a quick picture standing in the doorway, and see what you think.
  • Living Room: The furniture placement is very important in this room; once you feel like you are good with that then just follow the 1, 3, 5, maybe 7 rule and you are pretty close to ready. Lots of families like to have throw blankets lying around in this space. If the blanket does not match the color scheme of the room it is likely going to be just like that bright pink shower puff and be the only thing the online shoppers will notice in the photo. “Honey what did you think of the living room of the house I emailed you today”…. “ It was ok, I wonder where they got that striped afghan on the back of the couch though”……. I think we can all agree, this is not what we are going for, so hide those blankets at least for the photos.
  • Laundry room: tidy it up folks. People are going to be walking in your laundry room, so make it feel as user friendly and large as possible. Tidy up any closet that might be present in the laundry area as well.
  • Garage: if you are using your garage for storage (hopefully you’re not, but if you are) then move all of your boxes to the center so that the buyer can walk all around the walls of the garage. Be sure you leave the water heater, sprinkler system, attic entry, etc., accessible to not only the buyer but the buyer’s inspector as well once we get your home under contract. Wipe down the light switch and the door going into the house; you would be surprised how dirty those get.
  • Hallways: rarely will hallways accommodate anything other than perhaps some artwork on the walls; however if you have a hallway that has a large corner or other area, take advantage of that space with a decorative item or small table (1 or 3 items on top).