How to stage your house like it's a million dollar listing

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April 05, 2019 By Windermere Prestige Properties

Much like people, homes don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

If would-be buyers ponder the origins of those carpet stains or miss the marble countertops in your cluttered kitchen, you can’t change their minds. What you can do is stage your house properly for the next potential buyer.

Windermere Prestige Properties owner Robyn Yates and her team of realtors, professional home stagers and interior designers have decades of experience helping clients buy, sell and rent luxury homes in the Las Vegas area.

The right changes, Yates said, will sell a house faster and, often, for more money regardless of whether it’s a 1,000 square foot starter home or a 10,000 square foot villa.

Decluttering and depersonalizing

The first step every seller should take is to pare down his or her belongings, usually by at least 30 percent.

Buyers want to imagine themselves living in the home, Yates said. And they can’t do that if family photos hang on every wall and kid toys lurk around every corner.  

The same goes for cabinets, closets and drawers. If they are overstuffed and overflowing, it send signals to potential buyers that a home of any size lacks adequate storage.

Decluttering also allows a home’s most impressive assets to shine, Yates said. People spend a lot of money upgrading their kitchen countertops or tiling a bathroom only to hide them underneath appliances and products.

Digital presentation

Yates and her team create interactive websites and professionally shot drone videos to showcase their clients’ homes. Both are a great way to make a listing stand out from the competition, but those perks aren’t within everyone’s budgets.

But hiring a professional photographer for an hour is always money well spent, Yates said. Digital photos are often the only thing a buyer uses to decide whether they like a house.

If a photographer isn’t in the budget, sellers should turn on every light in their home, open all the curtains and photograph each room on a bright, sunny day to capture the best possible light.


Empty homes don’t sell as well as furnished ones, Yates said.

Renting an entire house full of furniture and paying someone to place it for you can get expensive fast. That’s why one of the options Yates’ offers her clients is virtual staging. Tables, sofas and even decorative accessories get added into the photos after they’re taken.

“You’ll be blown away,” Yates said. “It looks absolutely real.”

Sellers can also stage their own furniture. Anything that’s worn out, broken or banged up should be removed or put away in storage. A broke dresser can make a potential buyer wonder whether other maintenance was deferred.

Upgrades and improvements

 “The reason people buy houses no matter what the price range is because of the kitchen and the master bedroom,” Yates said.

But not everyone has the time, money or desire to renovate a major portion of a home they plan to sell. That’s why Yates recommended thinking about these choices as layers.

The first layer is the paint on the walls and the flooring. Bold, bright colors might make your heart happy, but neutral colors sell houses. Not to mention a fresh coat of paint makes a home look well kept.

“When a buyer is looking at a home they might eliminate it from their list if it looks like the minimal maintenance hasn’t been taken care of,” Yates said. 

She also recommended replacing old carpets, or, at the very least, have them professionally cleaned.

The second layer would be to upgrade the fixtures like the bathroom lights, door knobs, faucets and drawer pulls. Swapping out those dated brass fixtures for black or polished nickel ones can update a space without swinging a single hammer.

Replacing the front door is also an effective, simple upgrade Yates regularly recommends.

The third layer is renovations. Yates said, sellers should always consult a professional before renovating a home to sell because designing a space for one family not like designing a home that appeals to the widest range of buyers.

Designers can tell you what’s the next thing,” Yates said. “You want the look to last a while and remain relevant.”

This article was presented and sponsored by Windermere Prestige Properties. For more information, go to

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