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Making the Move: How to Stage a Home

 staging a home when moving to a retirement community

Well, it’s official. You’ve decided to move to a retirement community and are now looking to sell your house. But how do you maximize the selling price?

One excellent option for increasing the selling price is staging your home. This helps buyers see it in the best possible light and may even affect their offering price.

If you’re planning on selling your home soon, here are the top 4 tips on how to stage a house.

4 Easy Tips for Staging a Home

Tip #1:  Declutter and Clean

When you’re looking for advice on how to stage your home, you’ll quickly notice a common thread: decluttering.

Cleaning and decluttering your home are important first steps when it comes to staging it for potential buyers.

Why? As personal finance expert Amy Fontinelle points out, clutter can distract from your home’s best features.

But that’s not the only problem of a cluttered house when it comes time to sell.

“The other [problem] is that it makes it seem like the home doesn't have enough storage space. Put away knickknacks,” she says. “Keep in mind that buyers will be interested in your closet space, so tossing everything into the closet to hide it away may not be the best strategy.”

She makes an excellent point — when decluttering, you can’t simply hide things away. Nothing is truly out of sight during a tour. This is why it’s also important to downsize or sort through your belongings when selling your home.


Learn more about how to downsize here.


Cleaning, too, is very important. Dust off light fixtures, wash the windows, and mop the floors. A clean, fresh-smelling house helps make a positive impression on buyers.

Tip # 2: Make Minor Repairs and Touch Up Paint

You don’t need to undertake a major renovation project, but it helps to make any necessary minor repairs to your house when getting ready to stage it.

Things like adding a fresh coat of paint, getting rid of carpet stains, or fixing any broken appliances are relatively low-cost options that will have a big impact on the overall look of your home.

Tip #3: Pay Attention to the Lighting and Layout of Your Rooms

You want to make sure that each room in your house presents a welcoming, but not overwhelming, view.

To do this, focus first on lighting. If a room does not get a lot of natural light, consider adding additional light features to brighten the setting.

Next, avoid having too much furniture in any given room as this can make it look smaller and — there’s that word again — cluttered. Make sure that it’s arranged in such a way that it’s easy for someone to navigate a room.

HGTV has a helpful list of how to decorate when staging your home. Here are some of their top tips for staging a house:

  • Place furniture in conversational groups.
  • Mix and match pieces. If you’ve always had a certain chair in a certain room, shake things up by moving it to a creative new space.
  • Don’t hang your art on one level only, as this can look stagnant. Vary the position of your wall pieces and try new groupings to make the art — and the room — pop.
  • Use odd numbers when grouping accessories. They suggest imagining a triangle and placing an object at each point.

Tip #4: Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches

First impressions are important. Before you show your home, give the look a final polish.

Place fresh flowers around the house for a fresh look and pleasing aroma. Add some candles to the bathroom to make it look like a relaxing spa setting. Take out your best and most colorful cookbooks and arrange them on the counters of the kitchen to create a cozy atmosphere.

To Stage or Not To Stage: Why Staging a Home is Important

Not everyone stages their home but that can be a big mistake. Changes that don’t take a lot of time or money can have an impact on how much you’re able to sell your home for.

Potential buyers typically don’t want to buy a home that’s going to take a lot of work (unless they’re looking for a low-cost fixer-upper). This is why it’s a good idea to make your home look as good as possible.

Additionally, staging a home has an emotional component to it that can be beneficial to the seller.

“Potential buyers aren't just looking for a structure to inhabit – they're looking to fulfill their dreams and improve their lifestyles,” Fontinelle says. “Staging helps sell those dreams and creates a more emotional purchase that can generate more money for the seller.”

Hiring a Stager

When selling a home, you do have the option of hiring someone to stage it for you.

Your real estate agent may help you with the staging process, but you can also hire a professional staging company. After all, it can be a lot of work and stagers are experts at what they do.

After you’ve finished decluttering and cleaning, a professional stager can help you with the all-important final touches. They can help arrange furniture, dress up rooms, show off outdoor areas to their best advantage, and more.

Professional home staging typically costs about “$500 to $5,000 or more, depending on square footage and the number of rooms staged,” according to The Balance.

To find a reputable stager, ask for references from your real estate agent or friends and family.

Making the Move to a Retirement Community

Staging your home is just one of the steps you’ll need to take when selling your home and moving to a retirement community.

The Esquiline is here to help you manage the moving process. When you move to an independent living apartment in our Life Plan Community, we’ll help make your transition as easy as possible.

We help you with anything you need, such as finding a reputable real estate agent, finding a moving company, or connecting you with resources for estate sales or donation sites.

For more information on how to downsize and move, check out our free resource, Making the Move: Rightsizing Your Lifestyle.

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