Staging begins before the buyer even gets their first glance inside the house. Start by focusing on curb appeal. Imagine yourself as the buyer by taking a look at your house from all angles. Also go across the street and see how the property looks from a further distance. Are there more than two cars in the driveway, do the shrubs need to be trimmed, does the yard look well-kept? Take notes on everything that could use some improvements, especially the things that you can do quickly and easily. Once you have a list, mark off the jobs as you fix them.
Plant a garden.
If your front yard is not very green, or just looks plain, try adding a little garden. It's always a good idea to buy low maintenance plants that can handle longer periods of time without water if necessary, so do some research before making any investments. Some mulch can also add instant beauty to your property and is not going to drain your bank account.
Decorate your front porch.
As potential buyers arrive at your property, they will pass by the front porch before they enter your house. Add some flowering plants with bright colors, large eye-catching plants, or small trees in a pot. This will give people the sense they they are entering in an enclosed garden, which is quite appealing for most people. Getting a nice bird feeder will also improve on the out-door appeal.
If you have a small hallway in your house, you may want to put a little table there and decorate it with a vase filled with flowers, which will create a smooth segue from an outdoor feel to the inside of the house. It's a good idea to use a soft toned paint on the walls to create brightness and a welcoming feeling for buyers.
Open the House Up.
Move all the curtains to the side and let the sun shine in. The brighter a house is, the larger and more welcoming it looks. On a nice day, open all the windows and let a soothing breeze flow through. Don't stop there. Turn on all the lights, even if it's a bright day outside. If you have plain white walls, you may want to consider repainting them a new soft color that will add a warmness to your house. A light yellow may seem to be a tacky color, but if you choose a soft shade, the sunlight will beam off it in the most beautiful way.
Emphasize the most attractive features.
If you have a gorgeous fireplace, show it off. Make sure you don't have too many items on top of it and remove family photos. Buyers want to imagine themselves living in the property and seeing your pictures reminds them that it's your house. Having the fireplace going on a cool day will really catch the buyer's attention. Nothing could be better than warming their hands by the fire in a house that could be their own some day soon. If you have attractive ceiling fans, turn them on so your buyers can feel a cool breeze on a summer day, plus they'll be sure to notice them.
Mask problem features.
If you have a couch, or lazy chairs that look a little worn, but you just never replaced them, think about buying covers. You can find them in linen stores for a nominal cost and they can give your room a much more attractive look. You can also find some beautiful table cloths and covers for kitchen tables, end tables, night stands, etc.
Put a stop to over-crowding.
If your house is cluttered with furniture, leaving only a walk way to get where you're going, you may want to move some of your larger or unnecessary possessions out of the way while selling the house. Imagine what a professionally staged house looks like. Does it have a lot less furniture than yours? You don't have to clean your house out so it's practically bare, but you want to create a look of open space so buyers will feel like they'll have enough room to move after they put in their own furniture.
The size of the furniture should match the size of the room.
Some of us really like having big pieces of furniture because it's comfortable and convenient, but it creates a sense of restraint for some buyers. If you have furniture that doesn't match the size of a room, such as a huge kitchen table in a small dining room, you may want to consider swapping it out for a smaller table that fits well in the room. Look for space hogs such as this and remove them if you can.
Show off your back yard.
If you have a sliding glass door with curtains, move the curtains aside so people can get a clear view of the back yard. Plus they'll also feel more welcomed to go out and take a look. Back porches can be another big selling feature. Putting a nice rocking chair outside and add a little table with a good novel on it to create an instant oasis that buyers will want to mimic when they move in.
Play some soft, elegant instrumental music throughout the house. You can accomplish this best by setting all the radio stations to the same channel and let them play. As buyers wander through the house, they will hear that music playing wherever they go.