Sell for Top Dollar Using 12 Home Staging Tips & Tricks

Selling your home? What you need to know to sell for Top Dollar…


Home staging has created a lot of buzz over the last few years. You’re seeing it pop up more and more in the real estate industry to where it’s almost becoming the norm. Even real estate expert Barbara Corcoran from ABC’s Shark Tank has stated, “Home staging is no longer optional in this real estate market, it is a MUST!”  Why? Because studies show that people who stage their home yield 7-10% more than people that don’t. In addition, homes typically sell in a third amount of the time!

Home staging is not the same as interior decorating. Rather, it is a marketing tool to highlight a home owners #1 asset… their home! Buyers buy homes based on emotion, sometimes not logic, and are willing to pay the price for a beautifully staged home they can see themselves in.

A home stager that has been professionally trained in the art and science of home staging, like myself, will create what I like to call “emotional connection points”. In every home that I stage, I always incorporate either a cozy reading nook, a wine bar cart, a coffee station with all the fixings or a luxurious jacuzzi tub set-up with plush white towels, sea sponges and a bottle of champagne. It’s what makes home buyers go o-o-h and a-h-h.

In this article, I share with you our simple, 12 home staging tips and tricks for preparing your client’s home (or your own home) to sell for top dollar.


Curb Appeal to Sell for Top Dollar

 You never get a second chance to make a lasting first impression. In fact, potential home buyers decide within 30 seconds of entering a home whether or not it’s the home for them. But first, in order to get buyers through the front door, you need beautiful landscaping to lure them in. Many listing photos have a picture of the home’s exterior as the first photo, so you want to make sure it’s in tip-top shape to help sell your home for top dollar.
 This means the bushes are trimmed, the grass is cut, the windows are clean and sparkling, window shutters and the front door have a fresh coat of paint, leaves are picked up, new clean doormat, cars are parked down the street and there are blooming planted flowers and greenery, especially on the front step.
HOT TIP! Window boxes filled with flowers is fairly cheap and will give the outside of your home a polished, updated look.


If you are serious about selling your home, all clutter must go, no excuses! It’s not an easy task, especially when a home has been lived in for many years and has accumulated a bunch of stuff. But since the home sellers are moving anyways, now is the perfect time to de-clutter. I always tell my clients it’s less for them to unpack later!


Here we take it a step further. De-personalizing is all about taking down and packing away all of your personal items to take with you to your new home. This can be tough to explain to home owners because they are attached to the things they love.

Here is where I say “Home staging is not a lived in home, but rather a home that you see in an HGTV magazine. Home buyers want to picture themselves living there, not you, so it’s important to pack away all your personal photos, political or religious figures that may steer away a potential home buyer. When you move into your new home you can do whatever you please with those items.”

When you use gentle wording and explain the importance of these tasks, they usually have an ah-ha! moment where they understand and see the bigger picture.


Stacked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Attempting to sell a dirty or pet-smelling home is like showing up to a job interview unshowered – unpleasant and quite ineffective. An odor creates an unsanitary feeling about a home no matter what it is. Whether it is pet odors, musty smelling odors or rotten food odors, this is a BIG one that needs to be addressed.

If you smell any unwanted odors in a home, here are a few things you can do:

  • Place a bowl or two of baking soda or white vinegar near the origin of the odor
  • Use essential oils (avoid air fresheners and plug-ins) by dabbing a little on a light bulb or placing a small amount in a warmer to gently scent a room
  • Open the windows for a couple hours to air it out
  • Put a citrus peel down the garbage disposal to de-stink your drain
  • Run a dehumidifier to absorb moisture from the air

HOT TIP! Realtors, one thing you can do to eliminate odors right before an Open House is bake chocolate chip cookies or an apple pie 15-30 minutes before showing. This will give the home a mouth-watering aroma right when people walk through the front door. It will also make potential home buyers feel right at home. And I’m sure you’ll get brownie points for the little snack 🙂


A clean house tells a home buyer that the house has been well taken care of. You want every surface of your house to sparkle. Don’t skimp on this step – this is key!

Dive into a deep clean or hire a cleaning company to do the following:

  • Vacuum and steam floors
  • Wipe down walls, ceilings, and corners
  • Dust ledges and shelves
  • Polish furniture
  • Sanitize appliances
  • Scrub showers, tubs, toilets and sinks


Neutral Paint Colors to Sell for Top Dollar

When selling your home you want to stay neutral. Now would not be the best time to experiment and paint that red accent wall you’ve always wanted. Not to say that you need to go all white either. A nice beige, gray, or “greige” like Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige (SW 7036) or Repose Gray (SW 7015) are great choices to create a sophisticated look and will most definitely help to sell your home for top dollar.



From illuminating the entrance with solar lights to updating your foyer chandelier, new lighting is a nice extra touch.  This is especially the case if you are showing a house in the evening. I always say that lighting is the “icing on the cake” because who would eat the cake without the icing?! Same with selling a home.

Updated light fixtures can make all the difference in getting top dollar. Make sure your outdoor wall lights are up to date, shades are pulled up, curtains are wide open, windows are sparkly clean, and all the lights are turned on for photos and showings.


The least you can do is give your flooring a thorough cleaning with the Swiffer. If your wood floors are in rough shape, you may want to consider having them refinished. But if that’s not an option, then the strategic placement of a large area rug goes a long way.

As for carpet, a good shampooing may do the trick to eliminate all the dirt, brighten it up and feel plush under your feet. However, if it’s over 10 years old and has bare patches or untreatable stains, consider replacing it.


Spectacular outdoor seating area

People love outdoor areas and entertainment! It’s just as important to have your patio, porch, deck or balcony looking just as good as the inside if you want to sell your home for top dollar. Even if it’s a small space, having a little table with two chairs and some fresh flowers is better than nothing. It will evoke an emotion in buyers, and they wont be thinking “small” anymore, but rather, “what a cute space!”


professional staging, professional home staging, home staging, Minneapolis home staging, St Paul home staging

Staged Living Room

In living rooms, it typically works best to have a symmetrical living arrangement. I especially like to use symmetrical design when the fireplace is the focal point. The goal in this space is to create an inviting conversational area. So pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (chairs, sofas, end tables, lamps) to transform the space.

Make sure the furniture is not too far apart to where you feel like you’re shouting at someone from across the room. Then again, not too close to where if feels crammed and uncomfortable.


If there’s a formal dining room, be sure to style it so it’s appealing to home buyers. Avoid oversized arrangements and place settings if you want a more laid back approach. All you really need is a vase of flowers or an oblong bowl filled with fruit to create a simple, yet elegant look. In this case, less is more!


Kids Toys in Living Room

Yes there will be families with children looking at your home. However, that doesn’t mean toys scattered throughout the house will sell them on your place. When buyers are house hunting, they are looking for new beginnings. A fresh start. Show them that in your home, it is possible to have an organized, dedicated area for kids toys and they might be swayed.

Was this article helpful? For help preparing your home to sell for top dollar, Contact Us! Or for more design inspiration, view our Portfolio.

Table of Contents

Share This Article!