A Penny Pinchers Guide to Home Staging

Do you want to stage your home for maximum profit, but are limited in time and budget? Welcome to the club.A Penny Pinchers Guide to Home Staging

You know staging makes good sense. You suspect that a home stager is out of your budget, and you don’t have a lot of free time. What is the best use of your time and money?

What is Your Budget?

Most people have no idea what they are willing to invest- they just want to improve their home’s value and sale potential. Coming up with a basic dollar range, however, will focus your efforts where they are most effective.

Under $500

  1. Clean the entry. First impressions are the most important. To the buyer, a shabby entry means a shabby house.
    1. Sweep away the cobwebs
    2. Replace dead plants with fresh ones
    3. Clear away the craft fair tschotskys
    4. Buy a new doormat
    5. Paint the door trim.
  2. Put away. This is absolutely the most important thing you can do, and it is shocking how many don’t do it.
    1. Remove everything possible from kitchen and bath counters
    2. Remove all (yes, ALL) the stuff from the refrigerator door.
    3. Put away all the boxes, baskets and plastic storage units- and everything in them.
  3. Edit. Pare down the decorative items
    1. Have just 3 – 5 objects per surface
    2. If pictures are outsized by the wall they are on, remove them
    3. Remove the awards, posters and momentos from the kids rooms
    4. If you have any storage options, remove some of your furniture.  Oversized items and “after thought” small items are ideal candidates
  4. Give away/Throw away– if you aren’t going to move it, get rid of it NOW.
  5. Lights Put the highest watt bulbs your fixtures can tolerate.  Add freestanding lighting to dark areas of a room.
  6. Smells Ask a friend, or your Realtor, to step inside and take a wiff.  They will notice odors you can not.
    1. Do not mask these smells with candles or air fresheners- remove the odor source
    2. Isolate litter boxes and pet food bowls
    3. Refrain from cooking strong smelling foods like fish
  7. Professionally Clean.  Each of these can be professionally cleaned for under $500.  Take your pick
    1. Windows – this is my top pick!
    2. Carpets
    3. Whole house


  1. All of the above PLUS
  2. plant colorful flowers and shrubs near your front door
  3. Purchase matching towel sets for the bathrooms + an orchid plant
  4. Set up your outdoor areas for entertaining or reading

$1000- $2500

It is time to ice the cake.  The two most profitable home improvement projects are painting and landscape.

Landscape– your order of priority is front to back.

  1. Plant colorful flowers along the edges of your planting beds
  2. Trim back over grown bushes and/or remove plants that hinder walkways and windows
  3. Accent your patios and porches with 3 – 5 pots filled with colorful plants or flowers

Painting– your order of priority is exterior to interior, front entry back and then bedrooms

  1. Paint your exterior trim including garage door
  2. Paint the body if it is a dated color and if the interior does not need painting
  3. Inside, paint any strong colors back to neutral.  My current favorite combo is Antique Linen with Dove White for the trim

$2500 – $5000

A professional stager charges approximately $2500-$3500 for homes in our area.  This will usually include furniture, accessories, a designer’s time and labor.

The question I am most often asked is, “Is it worth it?”


Don’t Be Like the Herd

Most homeowners who read this list will allow themselves to be over whelmed and do nothing.

I can sell a home that way, too- but I can sell it for more if you follow my advice.

When you get right down to it I am advising just two things, clean and pack.  Come on!  This is the only time you are ever going to get paid to clean and pack!

So, what’s your staging budget?

About Kendyl Young

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