Staging Criteria – Details

« Back

Living Room

  • If you go into a model home that is newly constructed you will see that they are usually SPARSELY DECORATED. In a resale home you need to create space for buyers to mentally move in to the room by reducing clutter and the overall number of items.
  • CLEAR OFF all COFFEE TABLES and END TABLES to just 2 or 3 magazines and one nice vase or statuary. REMOVE ALL ASHTRAYS.

Family Room, Den, Bonus Room or Rec Room

  • Same as Living Room

Dining Room

  • CLEAR OFF the Dining Room TABLE except for one nice centerpiece.
  • Remove TABLECLOTH from table.
  • Remove EXTRA LEAVES from the table to make the room LOOK BIGGER.
  • REMOVE EXTRA DINING ROOM CHAIRS if they crowd the table or fill up the corners of the room. Four or six chairs are plenty. It will make the room look bigger and you can put the extra chairs in the garage or a storage unit.
  • See the Living Room section above concerning removing or reducing the number of items, valuable items, and collections. It all applies here too, especially in a buffet.


  • The main question in the kitchen is WHAT CAN YOU LIVE WITHOUT?
  • Clear off counters leaving only a very few items that you have to use on a daily basis.
  • EVERYTHING else should be kept OFF the COUNTERS to create space. Most homes have far too many appliances and other items out that should be stored out of sight. Leave a few large items on the counters like a bowl of fruit or a basket with bread in it.
  • REPAIR any tile or Formica countertops and edges that have been damaged or come unglued.
  • CLEAN TILE GROUT with bleach if it is stained.
  • REMOVE all magnets, photos, children’s drawings etc from the REFRIGERATOR FRONT.
  • If there are a couple of truly necessary items put them on the side of the refrigerator.
  • CLEAN the STOVETOP and OVEN. Replace old burner pans if they are badly stained.
  • Clean all exhaust fans, filters, and hoods.
  • CLEAN the KITCHEN FLOOR and keep it clean for showings.
  • Make sure the kitchen faucet is working smoothly without drips and is clean.
  • Remember to PACK up the COLLECTIONS in the kitchen too. Pack up your antique plate collection or whatever will distract buyers and take up space.
  • Keep all soaps, towels, scouring pads and cleaning supplies out of sight UNDERNEATH the sink.
  • Some kitchens have too many SCATTER RUGS in them. Too many rugs make a room look smaller. If space allows, one large rug in the middle of the kitchen looks great.
  • EMPTY GARBAGE regularly to prevent kitchen odors.
  • MOVE PET DISHES so that they don’t interfere with buyers walking around the room.

Master Bedroom

  • Make the bed every day.
  • INVEST in a new BEDSPREAD if necessary.
  • CLEAR OFF BEDSIDE TABLES and CHEST OF DRAWERS except for a very few necessary items (see Living Room coffee and end tables).
  • STORE EXTRA BOOKS and MAGAZINES underneath the bed.
  • Keep closet doors CLOSED. If you have a walk-in closet keep the floor clean and free of laundry and clutter.
  • If you have a clock radio keep it playing soft music during showings.
  • Reduce the number of photos on tables and chest of drawers to a minimum.


  • Remove plastic runners on carpet or hardwood floors.

Additional Bedrooms

  • See Master Bedroom guidelines.
  • In children’s rooms TAKE DOWN all the POSTERS except for one favorite over the bed, repair nail holes and paint walls.

Laundry Room

  • Put all SOAPS AND CLEANERS in a cupboard or reduce the number and organize neatly on one shelf.
  • Just like the kitchen keep counters and sinks CLEAN AND EMPTY.
  • GET RID OF EXCESS HANGERS and hanging laundry. If you have a drying area replace all those miscellaneous hangers with one style of white plastic hangers.
  • Make sure that LIGHT BULBS ARE WORKING and have adequate wattage. Many laundry rooms are too dark and need to be brighter.


  • CLEAR OFF COUNTERS, REDUCE toiletries down to a decorative few (3-6) and consolidate them on a tray or decorative basket. Put everything else in drawers or cabinets.
  • Replace that ugly dirty HAND SOAP with a NEAT bottle of LIQUID SOAP.
  • Coordinate all towels with ONE OR TWO COLORS. Fold in thirds and hang neatly every day.
  • New towels can be purchased very inexpensively if the ones you have don’t match.
  • CLEAR EVERYTHING OUT of shower and tub except for one soap and one shampoo.
  • CLEAN OR REPLACE the SHOWER CURTAIN. Keep shower curtains drawn at all times.
  • One common problem in a lot of bathrooms is cracking or peeling just above the top of the shower tile or tub enclosure where it meets the dry wall or ceiling. REPAIR using caulking and paint or install wood trim coated in POLYURETHANE.
  • GET RID of MOLD and stains throughout bathroom, especially in the shower and bathtub area.
  • Most TUBS AND SHOWERS need a fresh NEW bead of SILICONE CAULKING around the edges to make them look neat and clean.
  • Take all cloth toilet lid covers & water closet covers off. Keep TOILET LIDS DOWN every day.
  • SCATTER RUGS in from of sink and toilet and shower make the room look small.
  • USE ONE larger rug in the middle of the room or NONE AT ALL.
  • HIDE all CLEANING SUPPLIES and GARBAGE under sink or out of the line of sight.


  • Make sure you can open the door freely without something falling out on a prospective buyer.


  • BE AWARE OF SMELLS, musty odors, and dampness. Do your best to alleviate problems by repairing and cleaning problem areas. Use room deodorants and disinfectant sprays to help with any odors.
  • If you use the basement for storage, condense the piles to ONE CORNER of one area of the basement.
  • REPAIR cracks in ceilings and walls.
  • Clear DRAINS.

Garage or Carport

  • Carports have to be completely CLEANED OUT. Everything!
  • Garage should be SWEPT OUT and organized. If you have to use part or the entire garage for storage that’s fine, just keep it neat.
  • Always keep GARAGE DOORS DOWN while your home is on the market.
  • If you’re not using the garage for storage keep ALL CARS in the garage and NOT IN THE DRIVEWAY.
  • MOVE BOATS AND RV’S to a storage facility or a neighbor’s home several homes away until your home sells.

Where do they store all the stuff they took out?

  • Rent a storage unit
  • Have a garage sale
  • Give it to charity
  • Put it in the attic
  • Store it in the crawl space
  • Use a portion or corner of the basement
  • Use part or all of the garage
  • As a last resort, sacrifice a 3rd or 4th bedroom

Outside of Home

  • The first impression when a buyer drives up to a home is critical. Take your sellers ACROSS THE STREET from the property. Ask them to THINK like a BUYER. What do they see?

Trim & House Paint

  • Take a hard look at the FRONT DOOR AND TRIM. Give special attention to this because this is where buyers will get their first opportunity to make a close inspection of your home. Does it need repainting or staining? Repainting doors and trim to help make the house look crisp and in good condition is one of the least expensive things you can do to dress up a home.

Decks, Porches, and Patios

  • SWEEP all decks, walks, porches and patios and keep them swept.
  • REMOVE any MOSS from all decks, walks and patios.
  • Decks should be PRESSURE WASHED & STAINED OR PAINTED if they are in need of it.
  • REDUCE CLUTTER on decks, porches and patios so that they look bigger. Get rid of old flowerpots, barbeques, charcoal, planters, toys, construction materials and excess furniture.
  • If you have OUTDOOR FURNITURE create one simple “room setting” of clean furniture that will remind buyers of the usefulness of the space.


  • Clean all DEBRIS AND MOSS from roof and gutters.


  • Repair broken fences and paint if necessary.


  • PLANTS ARE LIKE CHILDREN they grow up so fast! First they are LITTLE and cute, then they seem just right, and all of a sudden they’re so BIG we hardly know how to take care of them!
  • You can’t trim the kids, but you can trim your plants. If they need it, do it now.
  • RAKE AND WEED FLOWER BEDS. If possible spread new mulch such as beauty bark, pine needles, gravel, or lava rock to put a finishing touch on the landscaping.
  • REMOVE and if needed REPLACE all DEAD PLANTS.
  • Mow lawn and keep it mowed on a weekly basis during the growing season.
  • TRIM BRANCHES around ROOFLINE to prevent animals, insects & foliage from getting on roof.

Front Yard

  • CURB APPEAL is important. Has your landscaping overgrown the house?
  • Remember ”You can’t sell it if you can’t see it!” Cut back all shrubs to window height that block light or view from windows. (If your sellers are afraid they won’t bloom next year remind them that they won’t be here, so don’t worry!)
  • Move all CHILDRENS TOYS to the BACK YARD.
  • Clean and sweep paved driveways. Rack, weed or re-gravel gravel driveways.

Back Yard

  • REMOVE any extra items from the yard, such as TOOLS, PILES OF LUMBER, OR AUTO PARTS.
  • All CHILDRENS TOYS should go in one area of the back yard.

Blair Taylor | Home Real Estate Prosper TX

Print Friendly, PDF & Email