Preparing Your Home for Sale – Expert Staging Tips

By Jenna Ryan, Realtor
REMAX Dallas Suburbs

plano frisco mckinney allen homesThe most important aspect of selling your home is getting your home ready to sale. The more prepared your home is, the higher price you can garner from buyers. As your agent, I will be meeting with you to go over everything on this list to make sure your home is presented in the best possible way.
Luckily we’re in a really good Sellers Market, so your home will likely sell quickly (if it’s priced right). The inconvenience should be relatively brief. If you cannot maintain the items on this list, then we at least need to do these things for the professional photos.

Showing Process

Please see the information in the Showing Process article to understand the different showing options.

Exterior Home Preparation

Curb appeal is the #1 most important aspect of your home. Buyers make a decision as to whether they will consider your home for purchase within the first 30 seconds! This means your front yard must be immaculate.

  • Remove all knick knacks and doodads from the front yard. Anything other than shrubs, plants and flowers takes attention off your property. We want your home to be the showcase, not your birdhouses, birdbaths, flags and furniture.
  • Sweep the front porch, remove all debris and clutter.
  • Add a wreath on the front door and a welcome mat for dirty feet.
  • Add a potted plant with fresh, seasonal flowers for a pop of color and welcoming front entrance.
  • Remove all cars that don’t run. Park cars you don’t use away from your home.
  • Remove anything in the front yard that distracts from your home or destructs the view.
  • Have your landscapers trim the shrubs, replace missing shrubs and plant seasonal color.
  • Clean out flower beds. Replace missing shrubs.
  • Replace rotted wood.
  • If there is missing mortar, have a handyman fill it in.
  • Replace light bulbs. Remember, buyers will drive by your house at different times, so keep it fresh.
  • Neatly roll-up and hide garden hoses.
  • Rake leaves.
  • Have yard mowed and edged more often during the sales process.
  • Fill in missing areas of grass. Water well to get your yard looking its best.
  • Stain fence if it’s needed. Fix broken fence gates. replace missing boards in fence.
  • Replace damaged gutters. Make sure gutters look clean and neat.
  • Trim trees away from roof. Shape trees for a manicured look.


  • Clean the backyard–it is very important to have a neat, clean backyard as well as side yards.
  • Replace broken and missing boards on fence.
  • Trim trees, mow grass, repair damaged gutters.
  • Replace rotting wood, fix missing mortar, afix loose wires.
  • Remove mixed-matched furniture and broken patio furniture.
  • Think of your patio as an outdoor room.

Interior Home Preparation

We’re likely going to ask you to remove a lot of the items you presently have in your home. We do this because we want to showcase your home and make it look larger than life. We recommend that you do one of the following with your excess stuff:

  1. Put the stuff neatly in the garage in boxes.
  2. Put the stuff in a storage facility.
  3. Start moving out now. 🙂

Might as well start moving! We’re going to sell your house, so start saying goodbye and getting your stuff packed away… Your stuff is awesome and we know it is very sentimental to you… However, we want buyers to focus on your property, not your personal items. We want to see themselves living there, and too much stuff will get in the way, distract the buyer and could cause your home to sell for less money.


Wonderful kitchens sell homes, so we want to make your kitchen look as spacious and beautiful as possible. Even if you don’t have upgrades, following these procedures will help buyers choose your home over those homes that aren’t properly staged.

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Clean the kitchen as well as possible. Buyers are looking closely at your home to see if its been well maintained. Nothing turns buyers off faster than filth, dirt and clutter.


  • Remove ALL ITEMS from countertops. Nothing should be on top of the counters, this includes toaster ovens, coffee makers, cell phone chargers, dishes, decor items, food stuffs, spices, etc…
  • Remove ALL DECORATIONS on top of the countertops including ivy, doo dads and knick knacks.
  • Clean baseboards and use touch-up paint where necessary.


  • Clean out the pantry. Remove food you don’t need–put in box in the garage.
  • Organize the pantry.
  • Make sure the trash is removed daily.
  • Remove clutter in the pantry.

Breakfast Room

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  • Clean table except for one simple plant or arrangement in the center.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Remove all clutter.

Living Room

The secret for creating an appealing Living Room for buyers is to think in terms of space. The illusion of space can be created by removing clutter, small items, doodads and knick knacks.

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  • Remove all personal photos. We want the buyer to feel as if they live there. Too many personal items make it difficult for the buyers and can distract them. We want buyers to see your home, not your personal items.
  • Remove decorations and clutter.
  • Vacuum carpets, vacuum the sofa, add throw pillows if you have some.
  • Clear the coffee table.

Dining Room

  • If your dining room is a dining room and you have china, set the table.
  • Remove 50% of the clutter in the dining room.
  • Remove knick knacks, clutter, excess furniture that you don’t need.
  • If you’re not using the Dining Room as a Dining Room, then remove the furniture, junk & clutter.
  • If you’re using the Dining Room as a living area, make sure the area is set up properly.

Game Room

  • If you have a pool table, set the pool table like you’re going to play a game. This is welcoming.
  • Clear the media room. Organize movies, games, etc.
  • Remove excess furniture. We want the room to appear spacious as possible.

Master Bedroom

Staging your master bedroom can help you sell your home for more money than without staging.

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  • Make the bed. VERY IMPORTANT!
  • Remove personal photos.
  • Clean the room–remove clutter.
  • Remove all laundry, clothing, un-used exercise equipment, books, excess furniture.
  • The bed should be the focal point of the room.
  • Make everything uniform on both sides of the bed. (ie: matching lamps, nightstands).

Master Bathroom

The Master Bath and the Kitchen are the primary spots that interest buyers in your home. Make sure you get this room ready so buyers will be unable to resist paying top dollar for your property.

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  • Remove ALL ITEMS from countertops.
  • Remove rugs.
  • Fix broken faucets, replace old faucets.
  • Touch-up paint where needed.
  • Clean tubs, toilet, showers, walls, floors and countertops.
  • Remove shampoo, soap, cleansers – Place these under cabinet during sales process.
  • Hang new or extremely clean towels on towel bars.
  • Keep toilet clean and lid closed.
  • Clear the closet as much as possible. Stow unused purses, belts, shoes, clothes in box in garage.
  • The buyer only sees the way it is not the way its going to be!


  • Buyers will open all the doors of your home and peer in your closets. It is vital that you declutter your closets by stowing unused items in boxes in the garage.
  • Start moving out of your home! Get all the debris out of the closets. This can cause someone NOT TO BUY your home.
  • Clear out cabinets & closets.


  • Use touch up paint to cover any smudges, scuff marks and nail holes.
  • Repair any cracks from settlement or previous foundation work.
  • Touch up the trim with fresh white paint.
  • You should have few pictures and decor on the walls. The typical limit is one large picture per room,
    with some exceptions.


  • Remove ALL RUGS from the floors. Rugs make your home look smaller. Remove all throw rugs.
  • If the stagers strategically position a rug in your home, it is okay to leave it.
  • If the rug is large and has furniture on it, don’t worry about moving it.
  • Clean all floors until they are sparkling.
  • Get carpets cleaned, but make sure you use a dry-foam system as normal carpet shampooing causes a mildew smell and can highlight latent pet odors.

Kids Stuff

  • If you have a designated playroom for your kids, organize it to a tee.
  • Remove excess kids toys, clothes, strollers, highchairs.
  • Store kids stuff in a hidden place while the home is for sale.
  • As soon as the home is under contract, you can relax and your kids can run wild again. (haha)
  • Clean children’s bathroom. Organize. Remove excess toys, etc…
  • Clean children’s rooms. Remove excess toys–stow in box in garage.

Teen Rooms

We need the teens to bare with us through the sales process! We know teen boys can be messy and girls can be so busy they have no time to stay organized. During the sale of your home, however, we need as much cooperation as we can get… So try. Please try. 🙂

  • Remove all excess items, furniture, clothes, stuffed-animals, high-school mums, trophies, photos, momentos, etc… to the garage in neat boxes.
  • Keep room clean.
  • MAKE THE BED each morning during the sales process.

Junk Rooms

If you’re like 90% of home owners, you likely have a room (or a few rooms) in your home which serve as
a “catch-all” place for all the items that won’t fit anywhere else. Much of the stuff in these areas can be donated… in the event that your junk room has things you want to keep, please pack the stuff away in boxes and stow in the garage. We do not want any unusable rooms in your home. Every room much show to function in a useful way.


  • Please pack away your prized possessions, and collections (if possible). We don’t want anything larger than a hand showing in the photos.
  • Remove all guns, jewelry, valuables from your home during the selling phase.

Other Staging Articles…

8 Shockingly Bad Staging Decisions (And What to Do About Them)



Jenna Ryan is a real estate Broker specializing in Frisco, Plano, McKinney & Allen Real Estate. She is a native Dallasite and lives in Frisco, TX. to arrange a tour of the area or to view the homes & property of your choice.