How to Stage Your Home for a Quick Sale

Keep Your Options Open

It’s not at all unusual for today’s home sellers to field multiple offers, days or even hours after putting their home on the market. This is an enviable problem for sellers who are left with the job of sifting through offers. It might be tempting to go with the highest bidder right away, especially if they’re willing to go substantially above your asking price.

However, this can be a big mistake, says Glenn Phillips, CEO and lead economic analyst at Lake Homes Realty, headquartered in Birmingham. Phillips recommends allowing the home to stay on the market for at least two weekends, which will give a larger number of buyers a chance to see the house. The more buyers you can choose from, the better your odds are of not ending up with a high-risk buyer.

A high-risk buyer is someone who:

  • Can potentially back out of the deal if there are certain problems with the property.
  • Doesn’t have enough cash to cover the difference between the mortgage amount and the home price if the appraisal falls short.
  • Needs to sell their home before they can buy.

Since most areas are experiencing a housing shortage, sellers likely won’t be in jeopardy of missing out on a great offer by keeping their options open for a couple of weeks.

“Selling a home in one day or one weekend sounds exciting but often induces risks and less money to the seller than allowing a few more days,” Phillips says. “In today’s hot real estate market, sellers may lose out when buyers make high offers but build in contingencies to get out of the transaction later.”

Finally, keep in mind that many buyers are making offers on multiple properties to up their odds of getting a deal in this super-competitive landscape. This can be dicey if another seller also chooses the buyer you choose.

An experienced real estate agent or attorney can help you suss out the best offers while guiding you through the terms and conditions that work in your favor.

“There are a lot of stunts these days, so you need to be legally protected. Not only are sellers receiving multiple bids, but buyers are making multiple bids,” says Minette Schwartz, senior director of luxury sales at The Schwartz Team with Compass in Miami.

Day 21: Get the Carpets Cleaned 

Unless your carpets are brand new, you’ll want to have them steam cleaned (or do it yourself). You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.


Day 3: Get Boxes and Duct Tape

A big part of the adventure you’re about to embark on involves reducing clutter, and while Costco and the LCBO might be cheap options for boxes, it sure isn’t convenient. An investment under $100 will get you proper packing supplies and reduce your stress. Better yet, consider Frogbox – re-useable boxes that won’t fall apart (bonus: they’re good for the environment too). If you’re going to be moving a lot of stuff out of your house for the sale, consider renting a POD storage locker – you fill up at your house, it gets carted away, stored and delivered to your new home when you move in!

Yes, Cash Is Still King—But Terms Matter, Too

In the hierarchy of home offers, the cash offer is at the top. Cash simplifies the buying process. Without lenders in the mix, you’ll save time and reduce the risk of the deal not going through.

Cash offers offer several benefits, including:

  • Sellers don’t have to depend on lender financing for the sale to happen.
  • Cash buyers can remove appraisal and financing contingencies.
  • The closing is usually smoother and faster.

“With a cash offer, a closing can be done in as little as 14 days compared to the normal 30 to 60 days. It also removes the mountain of paperwork that comes with a loan, which removes stress,” Shah says.

The downside of cash buyers is that they might try to negotiate more than someone who is financing the purchase.

Beyond how the buyer is paying for the house and even how much they offer, experts agree that sellers should pay close attention to the terms of the sales contract. If a buyer builds in terms (commonly referred to as contingencies) that allow them to back out of the deal when specific criteria are not met, then the seller could end up empty-handed.

“The best price is not always the best offer. Evaluating the terms is more important now than ever. It is a make-or-break for offers,” says Bret Weinstein, CEO of BSW Real Estate in Denver. “We are looking for both the highest and best offer, and that is what the terms show.”

How much does it cost to sell a house?

Aside from the money it will cost to make repairs, spruce things up, and store excess furniture and personal items, there are other costs you'll incur to sell a home. Paying a realtor will likely be your largest cost. You'll typically pay between 4% to 6% total, with the funds to be split between your agent and the buyer's agent.

2. Purge, Donate or Sell

Showing your home on the traditional market means you need to get rid of a few things. Potential buyers like to see homes that are neutral and open. If you have too many furnishings, clothes, and toys obstructing buyers from viewing your home it’s time to do some purging.

Start by going through your house and thinking about what you’d like to donate, throw away, recycle, or sell. Divide everything into piles and go through your stuff. The more you can get rid of the less you’ll have to pack and move later.

Selling some of your big-ticket items will also give you a little extra money you can use for your move. Anything that’s in good condition can be donated to a charity.

Related Resources

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What Are The Costs Of Selling A House? Home Buying – 7-minute read Victoria Araj – June 09, 2022 Wondering how much it’ll cost to sell your house? Learn the price tag of speeding up the process in order to get the full value of your home when you sell. Read More

What Are Seller Concessions? Home Buying – 7-Minute Read Victoria Araj – June 21, 2022 Seller concessions can help reduce your closing costs, but is it a reasonable request? Learn when it’s a good idea to ask the seller to pay up. Read More

How To Prepare A Real Estate Counter Offer Home Buying – 6-minute read Melissa Brock – June 25, 2022 Preparing to submit a counter offer on a house, but not sure what to include? Read on to learn how to create a real estate counter offer, and when to walk away. Read More

Organize Bedroom Closets and Storage Cabinets

Buyers will be curious about storage space and will want to check closets and cabinets. It's important to ensure these are organized, as it sends a negative message if your storage spaces are cluttered with items falling out.

When a buyer sees everything organized down to the last detail, it shows that you take care of your possessions and likely took good care of the house. In kitchen cabinets, alphabetize spice jars, neatly stack dishes, and turn the coffee cup handles so they're facing the same way. In closets, shirts should be buttoned and hung together, and shoes should be lined up neatly.

7. Takeaway

When you live in a home, especially for a long time, it’s easy to overlook the things that can make or break an offer. Selling your home is about taking an objective look from a buyer’s point of view. Remove yourself and your memories from the equation, and imagine that you are seeing your home for the first time.

Consider asking friends or family for their honest feedback so you can be sure you’ve done everything possible to make your home look its best before you put it on the market. You’ll impress buyers who, in turn, will impress you with good offers.

By Stephanie Vozza

This article is meant for informational purposes only and is not intended to be construed as financial, tax, legal, real estate, insurance, or investment advice. Opendoor always encourages you to reach out to an advisor regarding your own situation.

Why Home Staging Is Important

When dealing with such a significant financial transaction as selling a home, you don't want to settle for a lower selling price or a longer marketing period than you have to.

Relative to the amount of time and money involved, staging may be one of the most lucrative projects you ever undertake. Potential buyers aren't just looking for a structure to inhabit—they're also looking for a way to fulfill their dreams and improve their lifestyle. Staging can create a more emotional purchase for the buyer, which ultimately can generate more money for the seller.

Home staging is also beneficial because potential buyers don’t want to see work that needs to be done upon moving into the home. For every problem they see, they’ll deduct its cost from their offering price. If they see too many problems, they may pass completely on buying the home.

4. Paint where it needs it most

A fresh coat of paint can make a home feel new. In fact, painting is one of the most common recommendations real estate agents make to sellers before they list. Paint can help small rooms appear larger and highlight architectural details, such as crown molding and trim. Be mindful of your color choice, however. Experts recommend warm neutral colors, such as beige, tan, gold, gray, and “greige,” a blend of gray and beige. Because these shades go with anything, they can help buyers to picture their belongings in your home.

If you don’t have time to paint your entire home, recommends painting the kitchen, bathrooms, entryway and foyer. If you’ve had your house painted in the past few years, you can likely just touch up scuff marks or stains on walls or baseboards.

Homeowners often tackle painting projects themselves. For best results, prep the rooms by cleaning the dust and dirt from walls, repairing any damage or holes, applying painter’s tape to trim, and covering furniture and floors with a drop cloth. While painting isn’t difficult, it can be time-consuming. The average bedroom will take 30 minutes to two hours to prepare, and one to two hours per coat to paint, according to the paint company Glidden. Hiring a professional painter runs from $380 to $790 per room, not including ceilings, trim or paint costs, while doing the project yourself can cost between $200 and $300 per room, according to

What are the benefits of home staging?

A well-staged home will sell for more than one that's not been gussied up. Home shoppers, when they enter a nicely staged home, can imagine themselves living there. A home that's not staged will force a buyer to look past all of the seller's possessions to imagine the home as theirs. Photos of a properly staged home look better in online listings, which help sell the property.

Finishing Touches to Prepare Your Home for Sale

Your house is almost ready for market. Take a walk through of your home as a potential buyer to make sure you didn’t miss anything. Look out for scuffs on baseboards, loose doorknobs, furniture blocking a hallway or anything else that might cause someone to leave your home less than satisfied. Then, make the final touches and you’re ready to sell.

Is now the best time to sell your home? Find out when to put your house on the market and use our ultimate moving checklist once it’s sold.

Step 2: Make small repairs

Take care of these problems before you take listing photos or get ready to do showings, either through in-person or video tours. These are all fixes that you can do yourself.

  • Fix any leaking faucets and running toilets.
  • Replace caulking around tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Freshen up or repair grout as needed.
  • Repair walls and repaint them in a neutral, generally pleasing color that complements your home.
  • Fix cracked or broken windows.
  • Replace or repair damaged window screens.
  • Replace burned-out lightbulbs.

How to Prepare Your House for Sale 101

Understanding how to prepare your house for sale could be the difference between it sitting on the market and it being sold. The simplest way to get your home ready to sell is to skip the hassle altogether. With iBuyer, you’re connected with companies and investors who are qualified and ready to buy your home as-is.

If you’re ready to kick-off the process, submit your address to get connected with iBuyer professionals. You’ll be one step closer to selling your home and moving on.


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