Next week our new blogger Steph is back with a post about staging in winter, but I realized I wanted to start with the staging basics I always mention to my clients, no matter what time of year. It comes down to three simple words — big, bright and clean. This may not sound revolutionary — it isn’t — but I want to explain why these three ideas are so important.


Size matters, and chances are you’re not planning to add any actual square footage to your home before you list. So, you should make staging choices that make your home seem bigger — because all else being equal, more space (or the feeling of more space) increases the value of your home in the buyers’ mind. There’s really only one way to do this — take stuff out. Excess furniture, floor coverings, window treatments, tchotchkes — this stuff is what makes your home feel comfortable to you, but makes it feel crowded to a visitor. Only a hallway should feel like a hallway — ideally even your hallways should feel open and airy. If your home doesn’t feel weirdly empty, you can probably keep paring back. Adding mirrors and large scale art back into the staged space can increase the sense of openness — have a look at HomeSense or ask Anne and I what we have in our trove of staging items.


We humans feel better in bright, warm, and inviting spaces. Before listing, change every blown lightbulb in your home, and choose a bright, yellow, natural light. This is not a time to choose cheap blue-tinted LEDs or low-wattage bulbs. Also, when you leave before a showing or open house, make sure all the curtains and blinds are open. Let as much natural light flood into your home as possible. If you’ve got the time, paint dark rooms a fresh tone of white.


I can’t stress enough what a difference having a clean home will make throughout the sales process. I’ll be the first to admit that cleaning isn’t my forte. You know what though? We sold our family home in 2015 and for the 5 weeks we were on market I pulled up my striped business socks and made sure I did my part. Think of it this way, this might be the most lucrative cleaning job you’ll ever have. You want a potential buyer to feel comfortable enough to pull up a chair at the kitchen table in their home-to-be, and I can assure you though this isn’t happening if evidence of yesterday’s lunch is stuck to the table. So, if you’re like me — or how I might be if Anne would allow it — and you leave crumbs on your counter, kitty litter in the laundry room and shoe prints in the front hall, take the time to clean it up, and keep it clean while you’re on the market. But, don’t go too far in the other direction — plastic carpet runners and couch covers are not required.

If you’re selling and short on time, money, or ideas for staging, these are the three keys I always come back to. Whatever crazy things I might ask you to consider when preparing to list, chances are it comes back to one of these three principles. Making your home feel bigger, brighter and cleaner than the competition will put you miles ahead of many home owners, and you’ll have taken a big step towards getting your home sold faster and for more money.

Next week, Steph is back with winter staging solutions. We’d love to hear how you like the blog posts so far, and let us know if you have any questions or topics you’d like us to cover in the future.

– Jake.

NOTE: This is part of a new blog launched by the Jake and Anne Caldwell Real Estate team. This week’s post is written by Jake Caldwell.