10 Staging Secrets for a

Quick Home Sale at Top Dollar

Contact John Foster, Realtor with Keller Williams 770 722-7010

The Real Estate Staging Association estimates that professionally staged properties spend 73 percent less time on the market, receive more foot traffic, and typically sell for more money.2  According to the National Association of Realtors (i.e. "NAR), staging a home prior to listing it can result in a faster and more profitable sale.

Here are the top 10 tips you can use to get your home “show ready” prior to hitting the market. These easy and cost-effective ideas will help your house look its best—and help buyers visualize themselves living there. Even if you’re not currently in the market to sell, you can use these tactics to breathe new life into your existing home decor.

If you want a professional Realtor with 20+ years to answer specific questions, do not hesitate to call or text me at 770 722-7010.  It is a free consultation. I'm be happy to share my insider knowledge of the buyer preferences in your neighborhood … so you’ll know where to focus your time, money and energy to maximize your results.


Decluttering is typically the first thing we tell clients to do to prepare their home for sale. And according to the National Association of Realtors, a whopping 93 percent of agents agree.1 Decluttering is the act of removing excess “stuff” from your home to make it appear clean and spacious.  

Overflowing closets and cluttered countertops can make your house feel small and cramped. In contrast, sparsely-filled closets and clear countertops will make your home appear larger and assure buyers that there will be plenty of room to store their belongings.

Don’t neglect drawers, cupboards and even your refrigerator in your decluttering efforts. Serious buyers will check out every nook and cranny of your home, so pack up anything you don’t use on a daily basis and store it off site. The same goes for jewelry, sensitive documents, prescription medication, firearms and other items of value. Store them in a locked safe or storage unit before opening your property to buyers.


From carpets to bathrooms to appliances, having a clean home is a MUST. If you’ve ever checked into a dirty hotel room, you can imagine how buyers can be turned off by a home that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned.

 If you have a large home, or are short on time, you may want to invest in a professional cleaning service. And if you have carpet, we generally recommend you rent a steam cleaner or hire a company to clean your carpets for you.

In addition to cleaning, it’s equally important to neutralize odors in your home that can be off-putting to buyers, especially pet smells and cigarette smoke. If the weather allows, open your windows and let in fresh air. Empty the trash frequently, and especially before a showing. Avoid cooking any strong-smelling food such as fish or heavy spices. You may need to clean (or remove) drapes and upholstery if odors are particularly strong.

One last item - do NOT forget to check your basement for smells.  If it has a moldy or mildew smell that is a major turn off to buyers.  Running a dehumidified helps a lot.  If you need advice - do not hesitate to call or text me (John Foster) at 770 722-7010. 

Try to keep your home in clean, show-ready condition while it’s on the market. You never know when a potential buyer will want to drop by for a viewing.


Your family photos and personal mementos are often your most treasured possessions. For many of us, they are what make a house a home. However, buyers will have a hard time envisioning themselves living in a place if it feels like YOUR home.

 Pack up any items that are personal to you and your family, such as photos, books, children’s artwork, travel souvenirs and religious items. Collectibles and excessive knickknacks can be distracting to buyers. Instead, keep your decor items minimal and generic to appeal to the largest number of buyers.


Along those same lines, bold color choices may not appeal to all buyers. By incorporating a neutral color palette throughout your home, buyers can better visualize the addition of their own furniture and decor, which may contrast with your current color scheme.  We want your home to appeal to as many people as possible.

But don’t limit yourself to white and beige. Incorporating earth tones and midtone neutrals—like mocha and “greige” (grey-beige)—can add a touch of modern sophistication to your decor.3


You only get one chance to make a first impression. According to a 2017 report by the National Association of Realtors, 44 percent of home buyers drove by a property after viewing it online but did NOT go inside for a walkthrough.5 That means if your curb appeal is lacking, buyers may never make it through the door.

Walk around your home and look for any neglected areas that might seem like “red flags” to buyers, such as missing roof shingles or rotted siding. Trim trees and shrubs if needed, and make sure your lawn and flower beds are well maintained. Add some colorful flowers to your front beds and/or flower boxes to brighten up your landscaping.

Make sure the exterior of your home is as clean as the interior. This can often be accomplished with a simple garden hose. But if your siding, walkway, or driveway are stained or dingy, you may want to rent a pressure washer.

Thoroughly wash windows and screens, and remove and store dark solar screens if you have them. Open shutters, curtains and blinds, which will not only make your house look more inviting from the outside, it will brighten the inside.  One obvious item it to keep the yard cut and edged.

Consider a fresh coat of paint on your front door, trim and shutters. And small, cosmetic improvements like new house numbers, a colorful wreath and a clean front doormat can have a big impact.6


Buyers often imagine hosting family gatherings in their new home, and the dining room plays a large role in that vision. If your dining room chairs are stained or outdated, you may want to recover them or use slipcovers. In most cases, an imperfect table can be camouflaged with a neutral and stylish tablecloth. 

Kitchens and bathrooms will show better and appear larger if all items are cleared from the countertops, except for one or two decorative pieces.7 You should have already packed up non-essentials during your decluttering process, and the remaining items should be neatly stored in pantries and cupboards. 

Be sure the table is centered underneath the chandelier and on the area rug if you’re using one. If your dining room is small, remove all other furniture and leave only four chairs.8  Dress up the table using nice tableware and cloth napkins or a table runner and centerpiece. For a long table, try lining up a series of small vessels down the middle.

If your cabinets are dingy or outdated, adding a fresh coat of paint and new hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to make them modern and bright. Consider purchasing new shower curtains, bath mats and towels for the bathrooms and new dish towels for the kitchen.

Before each showing, make sure kitchens and baths are spotless and trash cans are empty and out of sight. To add a comforting aroma, try baking cookies, or in the fall, simmer some cinnamon sticks and cloves in a pot of water before you leave the house. In the spring, try a vase of fresh cut lilacs.7

One Final Word about the importance of Kitchens.  The kitchen is one of the two rooms I consider most important in selling a home.  Homebuying decisions are often made in the kitchen so it is very important not to overlook the kitchen.


Start in your living room and think about what you want to emphasize (and de-emphasize) about the space. For example, do you have a beautiful fireplace or a stunning view? If so, arrange the furniture with that focal point in mind. Use a symmetrical seating arrangement to create a cozy conversation area adjacent to the focal point.

If the room is small, consider removing some of the furniture to make it feel larger, especially oversized pieces. That includes oversized television sets, unless it’s a designated media room. Pulling furniture away from the wall can make the room feel more spacious, and placing your largest furniture piece in the far-left corner (as opposed to near the entry) can create the illusion of a larger space.9 

For small bedrooms, remove all the furniture except the bed, bedside tables and a dresser. If it’s a large room, add one or two chairs and a table to create a seating area. Place lamps on the bedside tables and seating area if you have one.10

Make sure each space in your home has a clearly defined purpose. For example, if you’ve been using an extra bedroom as a catch-all storage space, stage it as a guest room or office instead. Turn an awkward alcove into a workstation or a reading corner. Help buyers imagine how they could use the space themselves.3


Lighting can have a drastic impact on the look and feel of a home. Few buyers seek out a dark house; most prefer one that’s light and bright. Make sure windows are clean, and open curtains and blinds to let in the maximum amount of daylight.

Each room should have three types of lighting: ambient (general or overhead), task (such as a reading lamp or under-cabinet light), and accent (such as a floor or table lamp). Aim for a goal of 100 total watts per 50 square feet.11 If your mounted light fixtures are dated, replacing them with something more modern is an easy and inexpensive upgrade that can have a big impact.

Strategically placed landscape lighting can add a dramatic effect to your home’s exterior. Welcome evening visitors with a lighted walkway, or use a spotlight to accentuate trees or other landscaping features. Solar lights require no wiring; simply place them in a sunny spot and they will turn on automatically at dusk.


While your home’s interior often takes center stage, don’t forget about staging your home’s outdoor areas to help buyers imagine how they could utilize the space. 

Even a small patio can become a selling feature with the addition of a cafe table and chairs. Add a tray of plates and coffee cups to help buyers envision a peaceful breakfast on the back porch. Place chairs and wine glasses around an outdoor firepit or hang a hammock with a book in your favorite shady spot.3 These small, simple additions can help buyers visualize the possibilities your backyard has to offer.


Think first impressions, does the doorbell work, is there a kickplate on the door, are the steps to the front door separating from the landing.  When a buyer looks at a home that home has made the first cut which means the location, price and size are acceptable to the buyer.  Now what sells a home if the "feel of the home".  If a buyer walks through a home if the notice too many items that need repairing I often see their mind flip into looking for additional items that are wrong with the home instead of envisioning it becoming their home.

Simple items include making sure all the lights work, that the smoke alarm is not beeping because of a dead battery, the heater/air conditioner is working, no broken windows, doors open and close correctly, sliding glass doors work, the deck is safe to walk on and no trees have fallen on the home.  Common sense goes a long way in selling homes.  The best advice I can give you to is think about when you bought the home and why you selected that home compared to others.

If you look at flooring and paint and ask yourself should I replace this or let the buyer do it?  It is very common.  What I see often is a buyer often doubles or triples the cost of a project or repair in their heads.  Yes the buyer might plan on changes after moving in and that is fine.  What you want to do is have the best home for the price you are selling. 

A home does not have to be in perfect shape to sell it.  It does need to be priced based on the condition of the home.  Some items are simple to correct - a rusted AC grate is a couple of dollars at Home Depot - that is a great return on investment.  Cutting down a tree that has grown up next to the home and removing mold are more difficult and more expensive to handle.  Homes can and do sell with these issues, just realize it impacts the sales price and who the likely buyer will be.  

I recommend doing the items that have the best return on investment and impact the ability to sell a home.  Feel free to contact me if you want to discuss specific items.  


If you’re in the market to sell your home, the top 10 above provides a great starting point for your preparations. But nothing beats the trained eye and expertise of a great Realtor. Before you do any work, we recommend consulting a professional for advice about your particular property.  Call John Foster, Full Time Realtor since 2003 at 770 722-7010 if you live in North Atlanta. 

John Foster is a full time Realtor in Atlanta Ga and offers a free, no-commitment seller consultations and will walk through your home with you to help you assess which projects and upgrades are worth your time and money, and which ones you can skip.

You want a local market expert, who is intimately familiar with buyer preferences in your area. John will run a comparative market analysis to find out how your home compares to others currently on the market, as well as those that have recently sold. Then we’ll tailor a custom plan to suit your particular property, budget and needs.

Download John's FREE HOMESELLER'S GUIDE TODAY by Clicking HERE  If you're in the process of preparing your home for sale, make sure you have my FREE Home Sellers Guide - it will provide you the information to make confident decisions.  Click here to download your Copy now. 


Please call or email John today with questions or to schedule a free consultation!

John Foster, Realtor

770 722-7010



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Real Estate Questions answered in this article include how do I prepare my Suwanee home for sale, how do I stage my home for sale, do I need to stage my Alpharetta Home to sell it?  Do I need to stage my home if I live in Cumming Ga, Best list to prepare my home for sale, #Alpharettarealestate #CummingRealEstate #Suwaneerealestate #ldsrealtorinatlanta #ldstemple














1.     National Association of Realtors –

2.     Real Estate Staging Association –

3.     Houzz –

4.     HGTV –

5.     National Association of Realtors –

6.     The Spruce –

7.     HouseLogic –

8.     StageMyOwnHome.com –

9.     Realtor.com –

10.   SFGATE –

11.   HGTV –