Staging Your Home for Yourself

Happy New Year to all the Pawling Record readers! I heard from one of my customers that 2020 is going to be the year of “perfect vision.” (The optical companies are having a field day using this in all their commercials!) This phrase can also lead to all kinds of New Year’s resolutions as we look and see realty instead of what we would like to see, and sometimes even things we never saw before. I decided to tap into this extra focused view and began looking around my own home. Whether you are in an apartment, a townhome, condo, co-op or single family house, I invite you to do the same - and see if the advice we give to customers who are selling their home may help you make your home more inviting, livable and enjoyable, even if you don’t have your home on the market to sell.

For me to be successful with a resolution, I start small and break down the goal into attainable tasks. It’s overwhelming and too difficult to tackle the whole house at once. Expert advice in staging suggests that you highlight a key area of your home that you would like to make more appealing. For example, is the kitchen counter so full of appliances that there’s nowhere to prepare food and cook? Is your Living Room a catch all for everything that doesn’t have another place to be used or stored? Are you a paper packrat? (that’s certainly one area I need improvement) Do your clothes end up in the bedroom everywhere except the closets and dressers? OK – I’ll stop – I know you get the picture. Now pick one room – and when you have success with that area you can always move on to another. Notice I’m staying positive and saying when (not if).

Here are the top 3 staging tips given to sellers:

[if !supportLists]1. [endif]De-Clutter!

I read an interesting statistic recently that said this advice is given out by realtors when meeting with sellers on 95% of the appointments. That means that most of us live with lots of “stuff” that we don’t even “see” anymore. We walk in and out and around our home not even noticing the huge pile of outdated catalogues that has accumulated by the living room couch. How did I not pay attention to this sooner? Use that 20/20 vision to notice and then bundle them up for the next recycling pickup. Look around the room – those candles are so low that can’t be lit anymore – time for the garbage. It sounds so easy – but for most of us it also requires making decisions on what to keep and what to get rid of.

[if !supportLists]2. [endif]Lighten Up!

Even on the sunniest of days, a house can seem “dark” due to the weather, shade trees, the direction the house or apartment is facing, etc. Adding lights or brighter light bulbs can lift the mood of a room. That’s why sellers are asked to put all the lights on in a house that’s being shown to a buyer. Lighting a fire in a fireplace or wood stove can have the same effect – especially on these cold January days. Better lighting also helps with that 20/20 vision in all the nooks and crannies of a room.

[if !supportLists]3. [endif]Clean!

I’m always amazed how far a little cleaning goes to brighten my mood and outlook. Even on these blustery days – open a window for just a few minutes to let in the fresh air and let those accumulated odors and germs escape. Then get out your dust cloth and vacuum – you get to count it as a little extra exercise as well.

I would like you to notice that these top 3 staging tips cost little to nothing besides your time and effort. Staging for sellers is important because it improves the time it takes to sell a home. The initial offers and actual sale prices are higher when a buyer sees a clean, neat space. By “staging” now, if you decide to put your home on the market – you’ll be ahead of the crowd. In the meantime, if you follow these simple steps – your home will be welcoming for friends and family any time of the day or night and you can enjoy your nest too! Please feel free to contact me with all your questions, concerns and topics you would like to see covered in future Pawling Record columns.

Judith “Judy” Albert is a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley Properties in Pawling. Licensed in NY & CT, SRES, Relocation Certified. Email your questions to, Call 845-855-8500 Ext. 301 or 845-283-7865, or visit my website at