Ask the Expert

Staging for a quick sale

Q: We are planning to put our home on the market and are hoping for a quick sell. What are your top staging tips for appealing to the greatest possible pool of prospective buyers?

Congratulations on being proactive and considering how to best invest your time and money to assure a fast sale and, of course, the highest sales price!

First, get an “objective” idea of how buyers may view your house. We all have problem areas that we no longer “see” because we live with them every day. Also, consider who your likely “buyer” is and what they want. A consultation with a home stager and advice from your realtor can help you determine and appeal to your “target market.”

In addition, doing the following things will help attract the greatest number of buyers:

Make it spotless.

Paint neutral colors to make everything look fresh and new. Neutral colors will go with most buyers’ belongings.

Declutter so you only have about half the items that you normally live with. Cluttered rooms or too much furniture will make your space look smaller than it is.

Remove personal photos for your own security and to help buyers visualize their family living there.

Repair needed items. Most buyers want a property that is move-in ready.

Don’t leave it vacant. Buyers will focus on the flaws since they have nothing else to look at! When buyers make an emotional connection and can see themselves living there, the house will sell. It is hard for buyers to visualize how their belongings will fit, or to make that emotional connection with a vacant property.

Upgrade outdated lighting or old carpeting. Your stager or realtor can advise you on which upgrades will provide a good return on your investment in the final sales price.

Clean and maintain your yard and make the front door area look welcoming. Great curb appeal will assure buyers make it inside to see your beautiful house.

Get professional photos! Most buyers shop online and will decide about viewing your house in a few seconds. Great photos are critical.

Finally, when showing your house, make sure all lights are on, curtains are open, toilet seats are closed, and personal items are out of view in the bathrooms – and remove all evidence of pets. Best of luck on a fast sale!

Mary Ann Benoit is the President of Northern Lights Home Staging and Design at