Southern Maryland Best Buys


Staging Without Spending -- One Key to Home Selling Success!

I am a big proponent of mulch, declutter, paint, and clean carpets. This article shows that less is more. You can keep it simple and get miles of smiles plus an offer. too. A sale is hard work but sometimes the first and most important steps are simple.

Staging Without Spending -- One Key to Home Selling Success!

Rearranged furniture for impactEffective staging is a tremendous benefit when needing or wanting to sell a home. But professional staging can be expensive. Don't get me wrong -- professional stagers do absolutely amazing jobs! But sometimes the money's just not there to hire a stager, buy a bunch of staging materials or rent snazzy furniture. A seller and I often spend less than $250 when preparing a home for sale.

Simple clean-up and rearranging of furniture can do wonders without spending much more than the cost of soap and water, a few boxes to store extra clutter and possessions, and maybe the short-term rental of a storage unit.

Removing worn throw rugs, dingy pillows and bedspreads is a tremendously effective tool. Sometimes merely washing and ironing (yes ... that word) is sufficient. A bottle of bleach and a can of my favorite "Barkeeper's Friend" can make kitchens and bathrooms really shine. Remove all of those refrigerator magnets, canisters, coffee pots, grinders, toasters, etc. as they just look like clutter when photographed.

A visit to the local thrift store can provide a couple of big toys (scrubbed sparkling clean, of course) to add personality to an empty bedroom. A gallon or two of mis-mixed neutral-toned paint and a couple of hours can freshen up a stale entry. Don't forget the discount stores such as Big Lots!, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods when shopping for linens and impact art pieces. Check out the clearance aisles at Home Depot or Lowe's if you need to replace or update light fixtures or cabinet pulls. I've picked up small tables and then spray painted them for entry accents.

And don't forget the front door. My favorite is to paint the door a deep charcoal or black. Then put a couple of pots of live flowers near the front door. Not just greenery (of course it depends on the time of year), but some nice yellows, reds, or purples sitting on the clean front porch near that freshly painted front door -- just does wonders.

I wish I'd have taken more "before" pictures from some of the homes I've sold, but did scrounge up a few before and after photos. Maybe these few photos will give you a few ideas.


Staging Without SpendingBefore (nice kitchen & well kept, but look at the clutter'y fridge and the stuff above the cupboards.)






Staging Without Spending -- AfterHere's the same kitchen after decluttering. Still a few necessary things on the counter ... but look at the difference! Could we have removed the wallpaper border? Yes ... but the owner really pushed back and I wanted to pick my battles.




Staging Without Spending - Before


Another before and after kitchen. Of course it helped tremendously to remove the spent roses from the room ...but even removing the extra microwave cart and adding a little breakfast table to the end made a huge difference!

Staging with Addition of Table -- $100











Here's another before and after. One of those difficult young teen's rooms where stuff gets thrown everywhere. Tied up the curtains, removed the extra dresser and held the threat of extra chores and homework over the young owner's head should the place get cluttered again during the selling process. You can't see the posters on that were on the wall beside the bed and taped to the closet doors. Those were taken down, with the tape residue also scrubbed off.

Preparing for Sale - Teen Bedroom - Before

Preparing for Sale -Teen Bedroom - After














EStaging Without Spending -- Deck beforeven outside, small organizational efforts can be amazing. Check out these before and after deck photos.

It was raining during the "before" photo and sunny during the "after" photo. We trimmed up the overgrown bush in the corner, rearranged the BBQ area, swept the roof overhang and rearranged the deck furniture so it looked tidy. Staging Without Spending -- One Key to Success









In almost every house, rearranging furniture and gathering all of the collectibles into a single "themed" room also goes a long ways. Prior to listing, walk through the house and notice how many things you've gathered that are similar -- little ceramic boats, boat pictures, metal sailboats. We all tend to have things we love, but then we spread them out all over. Gather them together into a single themed bathroom or bedroom.

Owner had all of this stuff except the shower curtain and towels!

Many times you can Stage Without Spending -- One Key to Home Selling Success!

Your Dedicated Realtor, ActiveRain Blogger, Seller, Buyer, and Short Sale agent working the Auburn, Kent, Renton, Maple Valley, Federal Way, Covington, Puyallup, Sumner, Bonney Lake, Lake Tapps, and north/northeast Tacoma areas. Visit my Web site too!






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Comment balloon 5 commentsCheryl Ritchie • January 25 2013 06:41PM


Great illustration of what a talented and caring real estate agent can do for a seller! Your ability to refresh and renew lived in spaces is a real tribute to your profession and any seller is very fortunate to have your expertise and guidance! We do the same and it works!! Great post! Have a successful 2013!
Posted by Jane & Garry Smith, ABR, GRI, Realtors - Portland, ME - (207) 253-3195 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) about 7 years ago

Thanks for sharing Cheryl as I would not have seen it other wise and this is well worth sharing

Posted by Charles Stallions Property Manager, Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services) about 7 years ago
Hi Cheryl, I totally agree with de-cluttering and I buy stuff at our local thrift shop in Redlands and it makes a big difference. When buyers ask if they can have the items, I don't mind passing the items to them. Recycling is a good way to decorate but I do always wash everything first.
Posted by Kristin Hamilton CA Realtor, (909) 557-6966- Specialize 55+ Communties Banning (Sun Lakes Realty) about 7 years ago
Hi Cheryl, This was a good re-blog. Many properties can be sold when cleaned up and cleaned out. Gabrielle, did a nice job illustrating this.
Posted by William Johnson, Retired Real Estate Professional (Retired) about 7 years ago

Hi Cheryl,

The transformation s quite amazing and it definitely makes a difference between whether or not a buyer could see themselves in the home. When people don't remove their personal items it's just too personal and harder to sell. People need to vision themselves in the home and potential buyers spend less time looking at homes that have that lived in look versus the ones that are show room ready to buy.

This is a great re-blog that illustrates the point visually.

Posted by Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) about 7 years ago