How To Stage Your Home When You Still Live There

Posted by Maria Kauffman on Thursday, October 24th, 2019 at 11:42am.

Every once in a while, that dream house comes along when we weren’t even looking. Or, you find out you are getting transferred. Whatever it may be, sometimes we get into a situation where we need to sell our home WHILE we are living there. Having just gone through this process again myself, it reminded me how challenging the process can be. Below are some simple tips on how to stage your home while you still live there.

Prep Your Home:

First- Get a POD or storage space and empty 50-70% of your home. 

Here are some things that can go…

  • Clothes not in season

  • Dishes you won’t use

  • Things you regularly use, clothes, books, toys, bathroom, office supplies, kitchen things, only keep what is necessary for a few months use. 

  • Items you already have boxed up, think holiday items, family heirlooms, old baby clothes

  • Pet items

Remove personal photos and items, and anything religious. Be careful here because you do want to create a balance, so the home doesn’t feel too stale. I usually keep any personal photos that aren’t close-ups of faces, especially on adults. 

So, what should you do with all of the frames around your house? Keep em! Just take out the current personal photos and fill them with something more generic but decorative.

  • Decorative wrapping paper can be found on Etsy and stores like World Market

  • Postcards from travels

  • Images from old coffee table books you can find at used book stores

  • Dried leaves and flowers

  • Kids artwork

The idea is to make the home feel loved by it’s current owners, while allowing buyers to see its potential for their own personal use. 

Start Out Front:

Spending some time on your front porch and entry will make a difference. The experience at the beginning of the showing is crucial. I’ve had many buyers that wanted to see a home because of the listing pictures but were turned off during their first few steps. 

Some simple mums or hanging baskets and a new front door mat can make a big difference. Ferns are a great hearty choice for all seasons. A+ credit for a fresh coat of paint on the front door and updates to your outdoor lighting. 

A+ Credit For Clearing the Basement and Garage:

Lastly, let go of the basement and garage. You still want to clear out as much as possible, but if you need a room for some storage use these spaces. Make sure that you don’t block all walls or important areas like electrical boxes. You’ll want the potential buyers to accurately see the possibilities and overall size of the space. 

Day Of (Pictures, Showings, Open House, Inspections):

  • Hide the trash and dirty laundry. I will often just put dirty laundry in my car with me for the day

  • Lights on 

  • Open or crack a few windows, weather permitting

  • One candle burning is OK, don’t overdo it with air fresheners, it can give the appearance that you are trying to mask a smell

  • Fluff up blankets and pillows

  • Do your best to get ALL animals out of the house

  • I LOVE seeing fresh flowers around the home, Trader Joes and local Farmer Markets are great places to search for unique cost-efficient bunches 

Getting your home ready to sell is a big undertaking. Sometimes it helps to have a professional set of eyes on your spaces. I’m happy to walk through your home and go room by room to talk about what can stay and what should go. 

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