Prep & Stage

Buyers look for home they can envision themselves living in, and they will pay more and make offers quicker on homes where this task is made easy for them. 

In this step we’ll discuss how the overall presentation of your home affects your sale and what you can do to get your home show worthy. 

Show, don't tell

When shopping for homes, homebuyers are in the midst of making a large financial and personal decision while also trying to envision whether a home fits their lifestyle and needs. Therefore, the way buyers tend to make decisions and their ability to “see” themselves in your home are important factors to consider when trying to attract buyers for your home.

Therefore, let’s take a look at the science behind American decision making tendencies and conceptual capabilities. 

According to Nobel Prize recipient Dr. Roger Sperry, humans can be classified as predominately 

  1. Left-brained, meaning they gravitate toward linear and logical thinking, or 
  2. Right-brained, meaning they favor artistic and conceptual thoughts when problem solving. 

Sperry’s research concluded that only 10% of Americans are predominately right-brained. 

Why is this important?

Because it means 90% of buyers aren’t inherently conceptual! They can’t see past your clutter and decor to envision the overall space of your home. They will make a logical choice to purchase or not purchase your home based on what they actually see in front of them, and not what could be.

Therefore, it’s up to you to show buyers your home’s potential now!

Here’s what to do:

Approximately 12 weeks before you plan to list your home is a great time to start preparing your house to be marketable. 

Look at your house from the buyer’s perspective and put in the effort to prepare your house to make an amazing first impression.

You can help potential buyers envision what it would be like to live in your home by following 4 simple steps: clean, clear, prep and stage. 

Download our complete Sellers Home Prep Checklist for a list of specific tasks to tackle.


First, clean everything. And we mean everything, both inside and outside. Dust fan blades. Wipe down light switch covers. Trim hedges. Deodorize the dog bed. Make everything you can see, touch, and smell is as clean and new as possible.

These seemingly small changes not only make your space more appealing, but they communicate to potential buyers that you care and have maintained your property well.


Remember in Step 1 when you decided you could emotionally detach from your home and were ready to sell? This is where you prove it. 

It’s time to organize, simplify your spaces and get a jump start on packing now, beginning with excess decor, personal items and furniture.

Not sure what to remove or keep? A good default is to make each space in your home mimics the feel of a generic hotel room. Another trick is to view your home as a buyer. They wouldn’t want a picture of you in their home, would they?

You should also address any real and personal property items that need to stay or go during this clearing stage and make any adjustments now. For example, if you plan to take your drapes or the dining room chandelier, you should remove/replace them. Doing this now will eliminate any potential conflict over real and personal property during future negotiations.

Consider neatly storing your newly packed moving boxes in the garage, or better yet, in a rental storage facility until you’re ready to move them to the next location


Tackle any unfinished projects and repairs. Pay particularly close attention to anything that people touch – like doorknobs and toilets. Tighten loose knobs and replace broken items. 

Depending on how you decided to price your home, this is the stage where you should replace carpeting or paint your walls to update and freshen up your spaces. 

Getting ahead of any projects or repairs now will not only affect the value and pace of the overall sale, but also increase the likelihood of a positive inspection report. A positive inspection goes a long way in building buyer confidence in their choice of home and alleviates any concerns they may have regarding residual home maintenance costs or lack of upkeep.



Every $100 you invest in staging has a potential return of $400?

Staged homes sell for an average of 17% more than non-staged homes?

Staged homes sell 87% faster than non-staged homes?

Forbes. Nov 4, 2015

Staging your home is the act of making your home appealing to the highest number of potential buyers. It is the process of rearranging furnishings and decor to highlight the best features of your house and show buyers how each space is intended to be used. 

Although it may be inconvenient for a short while, or create an environment that doesn’t feel “home-y” to you, you’ll get the greatest return on your home by making sure your dining room is set up as a dining room and your office is set up as an office etc. 

Even if your home in vacant, you can still benefit from staging by hiring a professional stager, renting furniture, or using virtual staging software. 

Need help? There are a number of professional stagers and organizers in NWA ready to assist you. Click here to connect with them. 

Your house is in great shape and ready for buyers. Good work! Now it’s time to market your property to attract the RIGHT buyers.