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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

How to Stage Your House for a Quick Sale in Chicago

Written by Posted On Monday, 23 January 2017 16:37

Plenty of houses sell without being staged but in today’s market, the decision to showcase a home’s best features and demonstrate its full potential could mean the difference between “For Sale” and “Sold.”

From the basics to the logistics, here’s an overview of why and how you should stage your home for a quick and profitable sale.

Why Stage?

Especially for a quick sale, home staging is advantageous. Consider your unfinished basement or upstairs bathroom you never got around to renovating. Potential buyers don’t want to see work that needs to get done. You’re more likely to lose them if they’re already adding up costs for repairs (or deducting repairs from the offering price) before moving in.

Buyers buy on emotion. Intelligent staging captures interest as soon as buyers walk through the door and ensures they view a home for its big-picture appeal.

Curb Appeal

The exterior of your home is the first glimpse a potential buyer will see. They might circle the block before deciding whether to request a showing or attend open house. Make sure they fall in love with your home from across the street by tidying the walkway and porch. Trim the hedges, mow the lawn and mulch the flower beds.

In addition to landscaping, ensure the windows, doors and siding get some fresh paint. Do the gutters, roof or chimney need cleaning? Great outdoor staging is the only thing between your home and a great first impression. Note that all these improvements might break a sweat but they won’t break the bank.

Nooks, Corners and Crannies

Emphasize the potential of every little space. This includes that awkward spot under the stairs or hard to reach storage cupboards. Getting rid of clutter shouldn’t be limited to common areas; curious buyers will be exploring every nook and cranny and they don’t want to see your junk as they imagine their fresh new start.

Think of it less as a cleaning job and more an opportunity to show off the spaciousness of your closets or kitchen cabinets. Turn your storage room into a simple small office space. Clear your garage to emphasize that, yes, it fits two cars!

Invite Light

Smart lighting can say, "Welcome." Free your windows from heavy drapes and curtains to let more natural light. Remember, you want big-picture appeal and the little things go a long way. Maximize illumination by updating the wattage in every fixture. Dust and polish the bulbs. Anything glass should sparkle clean.

Lighting isn’t fixed. It’s an arrangement. A wall to wall piece of furniture can shrink and darken a room. The key is to reveal more wall and floor space. Don’t let a couch take up the width of a room and never let anything block a window. Chicago-area home stager Lisa Vaisvila would advise that you “move that sofa away from the window, placing it on a bigger wall. Then, angle a chair by the window. The result: your eyes are immediately drawn to the window and the homey, cheery light streaming in.”

Work with Professionals

Nobody wants to purchase a home for your style.  Even if you have a talent for interior design, there’s a strong case against doing it yourself. The décor that you find tasteful could offend a potential buyer.  Home staging is about creating a welcoming, fresh ambience that isn’t specific to any one taste.

But depersonalizing your home is challenging, especially if you’ve lived there for a long time. Professional stagers won’t share your emotional attachment to things and can objectively advise you get the job done quickly and correctly.

Successful home stagers understand the market and its generation of buyers. Most importantly, they recognize the trends of buyers online. As important as staging for open house, professionals ensure your property is camera ready for internet viewing.


There’s no shortage of options and decisions to be made when it comes the sale of your house. Ultimately, what sells the home and what makes it practical for the buyer are different things. Overall, you want your home to appeal to as many different buyers as possible Home staging may increase the selling price by 15 – 20%.  However, if you don’t have the money or time for staging and you need to sell house fast Chicago, consider selling to a real estate investor that will buy your home quickly and with cash.


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