Staging for a DIY Open House


The country has enjoyed a healthy housing market over the last few years.  Interest rates are low, and the economy is strong, which results in more buyers looking for houses. For some people, the strong housing market might make hiring a real estate broker seem unnecessary.


For those who choose the for sale by owner route, there are many time-honored tips that real estate brokers have regarding marketing and preparing for an open house. With some planning and research, however, a homeowner can pull off a successful open house.


Selling a home requires thoughtful planning. To plan, you need information about the market and what your house is worth and who likely buyers might be. In addition to guiding you to the right asking price, market research will let you know the competition. Understanding the market also gives you information on what buyers are looking for so you can plan market-supported renovations and upgrades before making any investment.


The second arm of planning is preparing the house for display. This stage can be as simple as a deep cleaning to a complete neutralization and de-personalization through a staging plan. No matter what plan you follow, you want to show your house in its most favorable light. Ideally, this means not only showing a pristine house but also a home in which buyers can see themselves living. It’s hard for someone to do that if your house is filled with clutter and your items that only reflect your own tastes. It’s often best to hire a professional to deep clean your home. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost nationally to hire a maid service is $167.


For these reasons many professionals advocate the extreme process of cleaning, depersonalizing and decluttering that staging accomplishes. Staging professionals are skilled at making lived-in houses resemble showcase homes. Their work can involve completely clearing the house out and then setting up rented designer furniture, accessories and artwork.


But you don’t necessarily have to commit to an extreme budget to reap staging's benefits. Since you're selling your house and moving anyway, take this opportunity to declutter and depersonalize as a pre-moving preparation for yourself.


Here are some staging tips for the DIY seller:

-       Make any small repairs and fixes that you deem necessary items like nail pops and walls to drywall cracks, which stick out as being pretty ugly to buy a house.

-       Give the whole interior a neutral coat of paint.

-       Minimize your furniture.  A few pieces in each room will bring focus and flow.

-       Add throw pillows. These small and cheap accent pieces bring a room to life with texture and color.

-       Organize closets - especially if you have walk-ins. If they are in disorder, buyers will not view them as assets.

-       Swap out colorful towels for pure white. This further depersonalizes and lends a crisp, clean look to the room. 

-       Open blinds and clean windows. Be sure to highlight any views that that property might have, and let as much sun in as possible.


A final step is to collect and organize all the information that you want to give prospective buyers. People love to have information - the more, the better. This will help buyers make a decision. Prepare a detailed property data sheet including details that may already be online. These physical copies are so you can put the info right in a buyer's hands and have stacks available for whenever someone has a question.


Through a combination of planning, research, preparation and hard work, homeowners can successfully sell their house on their own, pull off a successful open house and save money.




Suzie Wilson is an interior designer with more than 20 years experience. What started as a hobby (and often, a favor to friends) turned into a passion for creating soothing spaces in homes of every size and style. While her goal always includes making homes look beautiful, her true focus is on fashioning them into serene, stress-free environments that inspire tranquility in all who enter. The Ultimate Guide to Prepping Your Home for an Open House is filled with tips, tricks and other advice based on Suzie’s years of experience in interior home design that will set you up for success.