Plan Ahead When Getting Your Home Ready for Sale


This guest post is from Patti Stern, one of our friends from PJ & Company Home Styling. Home staging provides you with a competitive advantage, and Patti’s advice here will help you plan out your home staging strategy.


Homeowners thinking of selling will benefit from staging and updating their home BEFORE it goes on the market. This checklist will help you prepare your home for sale to attract potential buyers and can help get your home sold quickly and for top dollar!

Planning Ahead

Tour your home with a critical eye inside and out. Stand in the doorway of each room to see it from the buyer’s perspective. Updates should be completed before your Realtor® takes photos, as buyers will see the property first online.

  • Consider getting a home inspection to resolve any major issues buyers will uncover and leverage to negotiate a lower sales price.
  • Invite an accredited staging professional to provide a professional opinion of your home’s features and make recommendations and updates buyers expect.
  • Make necessary repairs throughout the home.
  • Plan on hiring a professional for home improvement projects. This can save you both time and money.
  • Determine what décor updates are necessary – from flooring to removing wallpaper or giving a room a fresh coat of paint – to offer buyers a neutral palette for their own furnishings.
  • Rooms that were repurposed to work for your lifestyle may need to be staged to their intended purpose. For example, that third bedroom that serves as your home office or gym should be transformed back into a bedroom.
  • If you’ll be moving out before your home is listed, arrange to rent furniture. Vacant homes look smaller to buyers and take longer to sell –  with furnished homes typically spending 78% less time on the market than a vacant home.

Kitchens and Baths Sell Homes

Buyers are looking at the kitchen and baths and these rooms deserve special attention. Homeowners who update these most frequented rooms recouped the most at resale.

  • Upgrade your laminate countertops to granite and replace outdated appliances.
  • Update outdated light fixtures.
  • Consider giving older cabinetry a cost effective facelift. Refinishing or painting cabinets and adding new hardware will create a fresh update.
  • Declutter and organize pantries and linen closets to show off storage space.
  • Remove small appliances and personal items to maximize counter space.
  • Replace old caulking and remove any stains from the sinks or tubs.

Clean, Declutter, and DePersonalize

Buyers will be distracted by clutter or personal belongings. Determine what you can live without – even some of the kid’s toys may have to go – while your home is on the market to help buyers envision themselves living in the home.

  • Clean windows, carpets, and flooring.
  • Begin packing extra decorative items and collectibles.
  • Consider renting a storage unit. You can often get the first month free, which may be all you need if your home is staged.
  • Reduce the number of personal photos and paintings in every room.
  • Clear off your dining table and add a simple centerpiece or candles.
  • Make sure closet doors open smoothly and interiors are neat and organized.
  • Cluttered basements or garages indicate to buyers the home doesn’t have enough storage.
  • Hold a yard sale, consign, or donate items you don’t plan to bring to your new home.

Make A Good First Impression

From the moment a potential buyer pulls up, they’ll establish an opinion about your home.

  • Brighten the exterior of the home with a fresh new coat of paint on the front door.
  • Rent a power washer to clean off siding, decks, and patios.
  • Create an inviting entry with a new mailbox, more visible house numbers, a new welcome mat or fresh planters.
  • Clean up all debris winter storms left behind, including clogged gutters.
  • Prune overgrown shrubs and freshen up flower beds with new mulch or annuals.
  • Don’t forget the backyard including any decks, pool, or patio!

Before An Open House or Showing

Once you’ve made the necessary updates and changes to your home, you’ll need to maintain the home for any open houses or showings.

  • Make sure the kitchen sink is empty – no dirty dishes!
  • Empty all garbage and put in outdoor garbage cans to reduce odors.
  • Make all the beds and clear personal items off the nightstands.
  • Make sure laundry is out of sight.
  • Turn on the lights and open the windows and curtains to let in more natural light.
  • Tuck toiletries in the bathroom out of sight and hang fresh towels. Leave a simple bottle of fresh hand soap on the counter.
  • Maintain the home’s exterior.

Going through your home with this checklist step by step will help you prepare and maintain your home to meet today’s buyer expectations and can help get your property sold quickly and for top dollar.


PJ & Company Home Styling, LLC, is an interior decorating and accredited home staging firm based in Connecticut. Patti Stern, PJ & Company’s principal, and her team work closely with homeowners to redecorate, renovate or simply refresh their home décor. She also offers comprehensive, turnkey staging services to help homeowners sell their home quickly and for top dollar. Clients include homeowners and realtors across Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts. Patti has also been featured in Connecticut Magazine, the Hartford Courant and Danbury News-Times and on NBC Connecticut and FOX TV.

For more information, please contact Patti Stern at 203-640-3762 or  Connect with us on Facebook at or Twitter at


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