Hosting An Open House: Tips For Marketing Your Home

Once you’ve listed your home online and posted your yard sign, an open house can be a great way to add marketing exposure to your sale. During their home search, two out of every five buyers attend open houses at some point. In addition to advertising, an open house can help you manage showings and might even lead to a bidding war. Here’s what you need to know to attract more buyers to your showing.

1. Do The Research

Before you stage your home and create your advertising campaign, take a look at homes for sale in your area. Tour open houses if you can, paying attention to the staging and features. How do the real estate agents talk about the home, and how do buyers react? Use this information to help you prepare.

2. Stage For Success

If you haven’t cleaned, decluttered and depersonalized already, then now is the time. Be thoughtful about how you want your home to appear and what it will take to get it there. Start big by evaluating any major upgrades or repairs you’ll need to make and then work your way to cleaning and arranging furniture.

Just before the open house, consider taking your pets to a friend’s house for the day and hiding your valuables, medication and other personal items. Some sellers even set out refreshments for a cozy touch.

3. Set A Date

Open houses are typically held on weekend mornings. As you research other homes for sale in your area, find out when they’re holding open houses. Schedule yours for the same day so you can benefit from the foot traffic.

4. Advertise Your Home

There are a few ways to advertise your open house, and it starts with posting signs in your front yard and around the neighborhood. You can also advertise in your local newspaper, on public bulletin boards and even at apartment complexes. Then, move to your online advertising:

  • Advertise online: As much as 90% of buyers use the internet to find a home, so your online ads will be critical. You can create a home listing at free websites such as Craigslist, Yahoo! Classifieds, and Google Merchant Center. Remember to include your home description, photos and the date and time of your open house.
  • Use social media: Many buyers find their next home through word of mouth, so social media should be your go-to platform. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok can put your advertisement in front of thousands of potential buyers – and best of all, it’s free. A few weeks before the open house, post your home description and photos on the social media accounts you typically use. Include the date and time of the open house, and make the post shareable so your friends can help spread the word. Your social media sales kit can also give you some direction here.

5. Invite Your Friends, Neighbors And Co-workers

You can do this both online and in person. First create an open house event on Facebook and invite your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to help you spread the word. If you’re not connected through social media, then invite them in person or via email. You might even hold a special preview for them to help you prepare and give honest feedback.

6. Create A Property Summary

Make a property flyer – also called a property summary – and leave it at the entry of your home. Make sure it highlights all of the features that make your house unique and helps buyers imagine what it would be like to live in your neighborhood. Here are some ideas of what to include:

  • Property address and at least one photo of the exterior
  • Asking price
  • Your name and email address
  • A brief description of the home
  • Recent upgrades and special features
  • Property taxes
  • Square footage and number of beds/baths
  • Neighborhood amenities and school information

7. Think Outside The Box

Getting attention takes creativity, even in a seller’s market. Setting a theme that matches the style of your home’s architecture can set your open house apart from the others. Some agents have seen success renting drones to advertise for open houses. See if a local store will give you permission to set up shop with your drone and hand out listing flyers to onlookers.

8. Be Professional

Homebuyers know they’ll work directly with you as a FSBO seller, so make yourself available at the open house. But it’s important to emotionally disconnect from the home and treat it as an asset you’re selling. Make your visitors feel comfortable by allowing them to explore the house, ask questions and provide feedback at their leisure.

9. Follow Up

Create a sign-in sheet that visitors will fill out when they arrive. Ask them to leave their name, email address and phone number. Not everyone will leave their information – but those who do are more interested in buying. Follow up with your visitors a few days after the open house, and offer to answer any questions they have.

What tips would you share with other home sellers to make their open house a success?

Blog Video

Keeping Your Staged Home Maintained And Clean

Once you’ve decluttered, depersonalized and arranged your furniture, you’re ready to start showing your home. But how do you maintain a staged home and keep it in show-ready condition for buyers while also living in it?

When it comes to maintaining a staged home, it helps to be proactive. Creating your own checklists and schedules and delegating chores to members of the family who are willing to help is a great way to get started.

Messy homes give buyers the impression that the owners don’t care about the house and don’t take good care of it. Some minor daily maintenance will go a long way to keeping dirt from piling up and small behaviors like returning items to drawers will help you prevent clutter.

Do staged homes sell better?

There are no guarantees when selling a home, but you should always aim to put your home’s best foot forward. Staged homes eliminate clutter and personal items in order to let potential buyers imagine themselves living in the space.

According to Forbes, “a staged home will sell for 17% more on average than a non-staged home, and 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less. That is statistically 87% faster than non-staged homes.” If you want the best shot at selling your house quickly and for top dollar, you should stage the home and keep it clean in between viewings.

Can you live in a staged home?

You can absolutely live in a home once it is staged, but be prepared for a potentially stressful situation. When you first stage your home, you’ll be doing a deep clean and purge of excess and personalized items. This is great if you plan to have a big open house or a full weekend of showings, but after the initial burst, showings usually come in one at a time, and often at the last minute.

You will need to keep your home as clean as possible and clean up as you go. Also, plan to develop a quick cleaning routine so that you’re able to get your home ready for last-minute showings. It might help to establish a staging area – like the attic or garage – to put a couple of big boxes to hold things you want to remove from your house. Just remember, potential buyers could open any closet door or check out the garage or attic, too.

It is equally as important to be realistic with your real estate agent about your availability for showings. A lot of real estate agents use apps to allow buyer’s agents and sellers to coordinate showing requests. Many agents will pressure you to accept any requested showing. However, if you have a strict work schedule, kids on a tight bedtime routine, or any other specific needs, you need to be clear in advance so they can mark those times as unavailable on the schedule. And if something comes up, you don’t have to accept a time, no matter what your agent says.

Cleaning Checklist

Here are some tips and tricks to help you keep your staged home maintained to sell once your home is decluttered and ready to present to potential buyers. Remember – hopefully you won’t have to do this for long.

  1. Plan Your Week

Many areas of your home don’t need to be cleaned daily, so try designating those areas to specific days of the week. Maybe you clean the hardwood floors on Monday, the tile on Tuesday, baseboards on Wednesday and glass surfaces on Thursday.

This is a great system for keeping your home at a certain base level of clean, but also be prepared to do some spot cleaning right before showings.

  1. Stay On Top of Landscaping

The front of your home is the first thing that potential buyers will notice. No matter what season it is, make sure that you have stunning curb appeal and buyers can easily access the front door. Keep the grass mowed and the sidewalk clear of leaves. Keep fresh flowers on your porch and don’t forget to water them. Sweep of the porch and shake off the doormat as needed.

  1. Keep the Entryway Clear of Clutter

Place mail, shoes and jackets in the proper place every time someone enters the home. Get out of the habit of tossing items on the table or ground and leaving them there to build clutter. You never know when you might need to quickly evacuate for a showing, so having this space clean and clear will make that process much easier.

  1. Clear and Wipe Down Surfaces

Every night before bed, take 10 minutes and remove items that don’t belong on your countertops, tabletops and vanities. This keeps the home looking cleaner and when you wake up in the morning there’s nothing to put away. Also take the time to wipe off countertops and the kitchen or dining table so there aren’t crumbs. Crumbs won’t make or break the sale of your house, but you want potential buyers to see a clean slate and not think the house is a mess.

  1. Keep the Floors Clean

Doing some light sweeping and vacuuming on a daily basis is extremely valuable. If you live a busy and active lifestyle it may be a good idea to invest in a robotic vacuum to take care of some of the mess while you’re at work. That way if a buyer calls and wants to see your home that evening, it won’t be a mad dash to get home and clean. Regardless, try to sweep up after any messes immediately to make getting ready for showings easier.

  1. Cover Up Lingering Odors

Avoid cooking smelly food in your home while it’s on the market and dine out for those foods instead. Run your garbage disposal with a little white vinegar or half a lemon to help kill odors. Always take the kitchen trash out with you when you leave for a showing.

If you have pets, don’t forget to manage their needs as well. Make sure you empty litter boxes regularly, scoop the poop in the yard and regularly bathe your furry friends. You can also add aromas that buyers find pleasing but don’t overdo it. Strong air fresheners can bother people’s allergies and make it seem like you are covering up a problem.

  1. Clean Dishes and Remove Garbage

Never leave dishes out when potential buyers are coming. Empty the sink and the drying rack. It’s actually best to put your drying rack away under the sink as they often look kind of gross and take up a lot of counter space. You want your kitchen to look clean and spacious and a drying rack can make it feel cramped and dirty.

You might also want to consider using paper plates while showings are going on if doing dishes becomes a problem for you. Always take out the trash before a showing and get in the habit of dumping any small trash cans, such as in the bathroom, into your larger kitchen trash can regularly. You don’t want your buyers focusing on your used tissues instead of on your beautiful bathrooms.

  1. Pick Up Your Clothes

Keep the laundry constantly moving throughout your home. Wash clothes as soon as you have enough for a load. Clothes should either be stored in a hamper or in your closet or drawers. Don’t leave clothes on the floor left or lying around because it shows buyers that there isn’t enough storage room in the home. Expect that buyers will look in your laundry room, so clean up the bottles or supplies that you have on the shelf and don’t leave dirty or clean clothes laying around.

  1. Make Beds Daily

You can instantly make the bedroom look put together when you make the bed. Make the beds neatly and place pillows each morning, so you don’t have to worry about it if there is a last-minute showing. If your kids have a lot of stuffed animals, arrange them neatly on the bed or place them in a basket in their bedroom.

  1. Keep Bathroom Clean

Make sure to wipe down the shower and surfaces daily so you keep mildew away. Pull shower curtains closed, but be prepared that buyers will likely peek inside. Be sure to use a toilet brush to clean your toilets regularly and put down the seats. Hang or stack towels. Many agents recommend picking up any bathmats so that potential buyers don’t get them dirty with their shoes and so that they can see the floors better.

  1. Store Personal Items

Store personal items out of sight whether it’s shampoo, jewelry or medication. You don’t want to distract the buyer or risk anything going missing from your home. Try to clear off the counters in your bathrooms of all toiletries as well as any dresser tops or vanities that might have a lot of small items on them. Consolidate and minimize for a streamlined, buyable looking home.

  1. Prepare the Living Areas

One of the most important rooms to many buyers is the family room. Take the time to lovingly arrange any blankets or pillows on your sofa. Put remote controls in a basket or drawer and clear off the coffee table. Make this space feel homey and inviting – but not like you just walked into the other room to get a snack – to make potential buyers feel at home.

These crucial tasks could make or break the sale of your home, so have the whole family pitch in to do their part. Consider making a game out of cleaning or have a reward system. Remind them this situation is not permanent, but it could be good practice for when you move into your new home.

Remember that you’re in competition with many other homes for sale and buyers need to be able to visualize themselves in your home despite your occupancy. Focus on these tips to keep your home in good condition and show-ready.


10 Low-Cost Ideas To Help You Sell Your Home

For many homeowners, the inability to afford an expensive remodel or update interferes with listing their home confidently, or even at all. But it’s not always the major renovations which catch buyers’ attention – the finer details can be equally important. Consider this list of affordable tips to sell your home before hanging up your for-sale sign.

1.    Improve Your Curb Appeal

They don’t call it “curb appeal” for nothing. Simply improving the functionality and look of your home’s exterior and landscaping can serve as a great first impression for potential home buyers.

Make sure your gutters are up to snuff by checking for loose parts or clogs. You also want to be sure there are no broken or missing flashing materials, which help prevent leaks behind your gutters. Check that your garage door is in working condition and that none of your home’s window shutters are crooked or dangling. Lastly, mowing the grass and trimming up your hedges are other easy ways to spruce up your yard.

Estimated Costs

Completely replacing your home’s gutters can be expensive, so you’ll want to replace parts if possible. A 10-foot gutter starts at around $6, with downspouts starting closer to $8.

Garage doors can cost as much as $1,000 on the high end, but you can get a decorative garage door hardware kit for as little as $19. And if you or a loved one are particularly handy, much of the mechanics behind fixing a garage door can quickly be DIY’d.

2.    Make That Front Door (And Doorbell) Stand Out

When it comes to life and open houses, we all know that first impressions matter. Although many of us don’t always enter our homes through the front door, prospective buyers will.

“While the REALTOR® is fiddling with the lockbox, trying to get the door open, the buyer is standing there looking around,” says stager and interior designer Deborah Goode of A Goode Start Decorating and Home Staging in Annapolis, Maryland.

So be sure to update your home’s front door and walkway by fixing any cracks or peeling with spackle and a fresh coat of paint. You should also double check that your front door’s locks and doorbell are all in working order so that your home seems move-in ready.

Estimated Costs

Exterior paints typically start at $30 per gallon and doorbells are $10 and up.

3.    Evaluate Every Entrance

As important as your front door is, it’s not the only one that will get the once-over.

“Doors offer a huge bang for the buck visually,” says Chris Neumann, director of operations for Pyramid Builders in Annapolis. Neumann suggests that homeowners consider updating their interior doors, or at the least, replace their door hinges and knobs. “And replace any junky bi-folds with double-swing or heavier solid-core doors,” he adds.

Estimated Costs

Bronze door hinges can cost $3; solid-core, unfinished pine interior doors start at $99.

4.    Look Down

As buyers walk in and remove their shoes or wipe their feet, their eyes will be drawn to your home’s flooring. While blemishes such as stained carpets, raggedy rugs and scratched floors could be enough to put off a potential buyer, they’re easy fixes that you can tackle before an open house.

Estimated Costs

Carpet steamers can be rented starting at just $60, and while the price of area rugs varies greatly, your local hardware or furniture store will most likely carry them starting at around $100.

5.    Select The Right Scent

If you’ve ever wandered around the candle aisle at the grocery store, then you know how compelling or comforting different scents can be. Be sure to eliminate any nose agitators and avoid the dreaded question: “What is that smell?”

If you have any pets, make sure that their necessities are clean – for cats this means clean litter boxes. For any small caged animals, such as hamsters or guinea pigs, this means clean cages. And if you’re living in your home during the selling process, make sure that your pets are bathed before any showings – just to ensure that potential buyers won’t mistakenly associate your home with a wet dog smell or any other unsavory odor.

You should also clean out your refrigerator – people may be nosy! – and banish the kids’ stinky sports equipment to the basement or garage.

Once you’ve gotten rid of any potential for house stink, choose a scent to you love to use throughout your home. Whether you use a candle, room spray or plug-in, just be sure not to go overboard combining different scents or by using too much fragrance.

Estimated Cost

Scented candles can cost $10; plug-in odor eliminators start at $17.

6.   Quick-Clean And Spot Treat

Walls are an excellent canvas, but they also clearly display age, dirt, indifference, even foundation issues. Fix any scuff marks, nail holes and paint cracks. “Remove all peeling wallpaper and repaint in neutrals to maximize the natural light,” says interior designer Jana Abel, president of J. Abel Interiors in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Estimated Cost

Spackling paste starts at $18; interior paint costs $28 a gallon and up.

7.    Have A Place For Everything

When it comes to showings or open houses, potential buyers are there to look at your home and imagine what it’d be like living there – which can be hard with clutter reminding them of the current homeowners. “I always advise my clients to take out at least a third of what they have in closets,” Goode says. Make sure anything that’s not on display — shoes, coats, papers, pots, pans — is tucked away and neatly organized.

Estimated Cost

Attractive bins and baskets cost $20 and up; basic shelving systems start at $200.

8.    Check Your Drawers

The same way you wouldn’t want to get caught with an ill-working doorbell or garage door, you don’t want a potential buyer opening a cabinet or drawer and having it stick or get jammed. So, if you have a lopsided utensil drawer that you’ve learned to live with, just know that it’s something your buyers might not be able to.

Although new cabinetry can be pricey, simply fix any bent drawer tracks and slides, or replace dangling pulls and tighten screws and handles.

Estimated Costs

Basic rail-drawer-track kits start at $3; decorative cabinet knobs start at $4 each.

9.    Make Your Appliances Shine

While it may seem like a no-brainer to clean your home before welcoming people over, the kitchen is a space which oftentimes gets overlooked. Remember to scrub down your refrigerator, microwave, oven, stovetop, sink, and any other appliance included in the sale of your home. Buyers will want shiny new appliances, not evidence of last week’s tuna casserole.

Estimated Cost

Most cleaning products start at $4; elbow grease is free.

10. Finish With Some Finishes

Bathroom gut jobs can be pricey, but replacing finishing elements such as faucets, showerheads, towel racks and toilet paper holders can significantly brighten a room. “If you have polished chrome faucets or shower valves, you can pick up any chrome accessories and they will match, unlike satin nickel or oil-rubbed bronze,” says Abel. New shower curtains, hand towels and bathmats will also help the room look updated and clean, she adds.

Estimated Cost

Showerheads can cost $40 and up; bath towels start at $10; faucets are $70 and up.


How Can I Sell My House Fast?

This day and age, most home buying business occurs online. So, make a good and lasting impression by posting high-quality photos of a clean and depersonalized home.

Also be sure to take photos during the daytime, when lighting is the brightest and most natural, and consider borrowing a friend’s DSLR camera or even hiring a photographer for those sharp and professional looking photos. Check out our article on real estate photography for more tips on how to stand out in the online market.

Should I Stage My House?

While home staging is usually advantageous for selling your home, it’s not always a necessity. Check out our article on home staging to see what works for you.

Blog Video

Holiday Home-Staging Tips To Help Sell Your House

It’s that time of year again when family and friends descend on your home to carve the turkey, light the menorah or trim the tree. If you play your cards right, the holidays can be a great time to sell your home; there’s less competition in the market and home shoppers are highly motivated.

Even with less competition, it is important to stage your home in a way that will appeal to the masses to attract the most potential buyers to your home, even if it means changing your personal decor for a while. If you’re looking to sell your home during this busy time of year, making your home festive while also keeping it show-ready is a delicate balance. Try these tips to keep your home in the holiday spirit while on the market.

1. Be Tasteful At The Curb

Curb appeal is the first thing that potential buyers notice about your home. Keep the tinsel, multicolored lights and those blow-up characters in storage. Remember that neutral decor has mass appeal and, when in doubt, keep it simple.

The entrance to your home should be understated. Try using white lights for elegance. Keep to a simple color scheme to highlight your home’s exterior colors. Use natural elements like pine cones, seasonal flowers and greenery. Don’t forget to hang a seasonal decorative wreath on your door or windows.

Remember that potential buyers will be driving by your home at all hours, even if they don’t have a showing scheduled. Keep your lawn cut and clear of leaves, keep your driveway and sidewalks free of snow, and sweep off your porch more frequently than you might otherwise. You want to be sure that your home looks extremely well-maintained from the street.

2. Light Up Your Home

With the days getting shorter, it’s important to focus on your light sources. You will want to have good lighting on both the inside and outside of your home. Since it gets dark before dinner time, many of your home showings will likely be after dark. Have a bright porch light so potential buyers can clearly see the front door and the key to get in. White twinkle lights add a festive touch and help to provide a little extra lighting.

When buyers or guests approach the house, having all your interior lights on illuminates the home and lures them inside to a warm, inviting atmosphere. If you have a home showing during the day, keep the curtains open to let in natural light. A well-lit home allows potential buyers to see your entire space and appreciate every detail.

3. Holiday Style Should Enhance Home Style

Every home has an architectural style – specific features that characterize a home – and you should include that style in your holiday decor. Before you put up the holiday trimmings, make sure they match the home’s theme and color scheme to avoid any distractions.

If you have a traditional home, classic decorations will accent better than contemporary decorations. Midcentury modern homes should be paired with vintage decorations. Keep holiday decor in line with your home’s style to best accentuate the selling features of your space.

4. Seasonal Vs. Religious Decor

While Thanksgiving is commonly celebrated regardless of religious beliefs, Chanukah and Christmas are connected to their respective religions and excessive religious decoration could be a turn-off for interested buyers.

Keep your religious decor to a minimum and show your spirit with seasonal accents instead. Seasonal decor could be snowflakes, greenery, winter branches, wrapped gifts, ornaments, owls or reindeer.

Try not to use decorations that are too personalized, because buyers will have a hard time picturing themselves in the home. This is not the year to display all of your kid’s pictures with Santa. Keep it simple and remember that you have no idea who your buyer might be or what they might like, so go for things that are universally likeable.

5. Reuse Current Decor

If you plan to put out a bunch of holiday decor, you really should remove some of your everyday decorations to keep the space from getting too cluttered. To keep your holiday decor simple, plan on using items that you normally have lying around your home. Reuse lanterns, candlesticks, vases or bowls, cake stands, picture frames and other accessories, but dress them up with festive trinkets to change the look of the piece. Less is more on house showings.

For example, place ornaments inside the lantern, add pine cones in an apothecary jar or wrap a colorful ribbon around the bottom of a clear vase with seasonal flowers. If you have a lot of framed photos, consider temporarily swapping the photos with holiday wrapping paper for a subtle festive touch. Small accents are really all of the holiday decor that you need when selling your home.

6. Pay Attention To The Color Scheme

When adding holiday decor in your home, you’ll want to think about the current colors you are displaying. While silver and gold go with any color, Christmas bright red can clash with your light blue walls or be too bright for an earth tone color scheme. So, use colors that will complement the palette rather than be an eyesore. Try to have your colors blend in more than you usually would.

When in doubt about what will look best in real estate photos, take some photos yourself. Before the official photographer comes over, snap a few pictures on your phone. Look at them – or better yet, show them to someone who does not live in your home – and note what draws your eye. If the holiday decor is overwhelming, you need to scale it back. You want your home to be the star of your listing photos.

7. Accentuate Your Home’s Positive Features

When staging a home, it’s important to make focal points stand out. To do this, avoid blocking beautiful views, cluttering up the shelves or mantel, or hiding any other unique features in your home.

Don’t display large collections of holiday decor. Rooms filled with decorations can feel smaller and collections distract from features of your home. You want potential buyers to walk away remembering your wonderful home, instead of only remembering your overwhelming Christmas village.

Choose a few specific areas of the home to decorate and key accents to show off those highlighted features. If your house has a high ceiling, accentuate the space with a tall, narrow tree tastefully decorated to showcase the space. If there are arched windows or doors, highlight the shape with garland. Keep holiday decorations simple and let your home really shine.

The Big Picture

Remember – home buyers are not buying your stuff. If your holiday decor is overwhelming or distracting, they may not be able to see or appreciate the home underneath.


Home Staging Tips: The 5 Most Important Rooms In Your House

The key to selling a property is making sure potential buyers are able to envision themselves living in the home. This principle makes sense, but as a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) seller, you’re probably wondering how you can ensure buyers connect with your property.

According to a 2019 survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®, 83% of buyer’s agents believe that staging a home makes it easier for a buyer to imagine owning it. But, if you’re not an interior designer, you may not know where to begin. That’s why we’ve come up with home staging tips to help you through the process.

As important as home staging is, we know the costs can add up. Therefore, we’ve organized our home staging tips around the most important rooms in your house. This way, you can figure out how to make the most of your marketing budget.

What Are The Most Important Rooms In Your House To Stage?

Staging a home can lead FSBO sellers to receive higher offers, but the process isn’t cheap. If your home is vacant, consider staging your entire house. However, if it’s not, you may want to focus your efforts.

The NAR’s report provided insight into the home staging process from two perspectives: listing agents and buyer’s agents. When surveying listing agents, the report found that sellers most commonly stage the living room (93%), kitchen (84%), primary bedroom (78%) and the dining room (72%).

Although those rooms are most commonly staged, they’re not necessarily the most important rooms in your house to stage. According to buyer’s agents, it’s more important to stage the primary bedroom (83%) than the kitchen (62%).

Here are the five rooms buyer’s agents believe are most important for buyers to see staged:

1. Living room

2. Primary bedroom

3. Kitchen

4. Dining room

5. Outdoor space

If you only have the funds to stage two rooms, you may want to go with the living room and primary bedroom, as they are most likely to sway potential buyers. However, as you choose what to stage, you should consider your needs as well.

How To Identify A Room That Needs To Be Staged

Before you begin the staging process, clean and declutter your home from top to bottom. Once you’ve finished, take a tour through your home to determine which rooms need additional attention. As you do so, try to examine each room objectively. Look out for rooms that:

– Feel shabby

– Appear dated

– Possess a bold interior design

– Have bulky furniture

– Are filled with knickknacks, souvenirs and family photos

These rooms will need sprucing. Since the purpose of staging is to enable buyers to visualize themselves living in your home, the goal is to neutralize and depersonalize your rooms.

General Home Staging Tips

There are some home staging tips that should be applied to every room in your house. These tips will help you neutralize and depersonalize your home so that buyers can picture the space as theirs.


– Clutter from surfaces, including mail and trinkets.

– All personal items, including family photos and mementos.

– Items that don’t fit neatly in your storage spaces.

– Anything that you will not be needing before you move.


– Oversized furniture with slimmer pieces that open up the space.

– Bright colored walls with neutral hues, like beige, white and light grey.

– Busy designs with clean lines

– Hefty window treatments with airier options that let natural light in.

“Less is more,” says Matthew Digati, professional real estate photographer and founder of “Think about the basics that you need to fill a room and work to make sure they look presentable and clean. Allow enough open space for the possible buyer to imagine their own belongings.”

Staging A Living Room

There’s a reason that the living room is the most commonly staged room: It’s where everyone tends to congregate. Buyers will be looking to ensure that it’s a space where they’ll want to both relax and entertain.

Your staging efforts should work to open up the space and let in more natural light. Yet, they should also get buyers’ eyes to travel around the room. To do so, you should incorporate some minor props that insert pops of color to an otherwise neutral colored room.

“Depersonalize, but leave some degree of personality and life,” says Michael Shapot, associate real estate broker and head of the Shapot Team at Compass. “Fresh flowers and live plants are good. Books are great props, and quality art pieces providing pops of color create interest.”

Staging with the right props can make your living room feel lived in without the clutter of real life. It can also help you manipulate how the buyer views the space.

“A property should have the warmth of a home,” Shapot adds. “Furthermore, strategic placement of items can draw attention away from the less desirable features of a property.”

Staging A Primary Bedroom

The primary bedroom may not be staged as often, but staging it makes a difference for buyers. Remember, whomever purchases your house will be spending about a third of their day in the room, so it’s important that you make it seem inviting.

When staging the primary, focus on furnishing the room with a luxurious yet cozy vibe. Think soft bedding, fluffy pillows and warm blankets. You want any buyer who enters to have to resist the urge to jump into bed and make themselves at home.

“In primary bedrooms, the most important things to look for are the personal items of the people living there. Make sure to unplug or hide all wires and chargers,” says Digati. “Don’t underestimate how much a properly made bed can help either. Unwrinkled sheets and properly fluffed pillows will have a possible buyer thinking about how comfortable the room feels.”

It’s crucial to create the right atmosphere. However, it’s perhaps even more necessary to ensure that the bedroom – as well as every other room – appears crisp and clean.

“Open the windows for fresh air, even in cold weather,” says Dianne Rechel, REALTOR® with Realty Executives. “Clean your curtains, wash the window blinds and keep them open. Make sure to dust off all surfaces. Empty the dresser tops. Remove half the stuff from your closets. Dirty laundry goes in a closed hamper.”

Staging A Kitchen

As the heart of the home, the kitchen will be scrutinized regardless of whether your potential buyers are avid chefs. You want them to walk away thinking that the kitchen was spotless, spacious and well-organized. Therefore, you must begin with a good scrubbing.

“Go over the kitchen as if you were a health inspector,” says Nora Crosthwaite, REALTOR® and founder of Stagerie, an online staging consultation company. “Clean the oven, range (new drip pans) and the seal of the dishwasher door. Remove all magnets, notes, pictures, etc. from the front and sides of the refrigerator. Stow the trash can in the pantry.”

To make your kitchen feel roomier, Crosthwaite recommends: “Keep all flat surfaces (countertops, appliance tops and furniture) cleared off as much as possible. Kitchen counters should have very little on them to show that there is plenty of available workspace.”

Although you may typically leave some of your appliances on your countertops, you should be sure to remove them before shooting listing photos or showing the house. It may seem strange, but appliances can make your countertops appear cluttered.

Staging A Dining Room

Whether your home has a formal dining room or a casual dining nook, the size of your furniture will make a considerable difference in how buyers view the space. Therefore, if you choose to stage your dining room, you must make sure that the fit of your dining table and chairs is just right.

“Don’t overload the dining room table. Attempt instead to highlight the space itself,” says Digati. “Don’t attempt to squeeze eight chairs at a table that only fits six. It will make the possible buyer feel like the room is cramped. Instead, leave enough room so everything feels open and easy to move around.”

You certainly don’t want the dining room furniture to be so large that it makes the room feel tiny, but you also don’t want it to be too small for the space. If you choose a dining table that’s too small, the dining room will look empty. So, pay attention to dimensions, and add a rug to give the room a bit more personality.

Staging Outdoor Space

Your outdoor space may not technically be a room in your house but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it some attention before you start showing your property. Since it’s the first thing buyers see, the curb appeal of your home will play a significant role in their overall impression of your property.

“Stand at the street and take a hard look at your house,” says Rechel. “Does it look like something you might see in a magazine? Now is the time to paint, power-wash, re-attach that gutter, fix the broken windows, mow, clean up leaves.”

The front of your house should appear neat and inviting, so trim and prune as necessary. To further enhance your curb appeal, consider planting flowers. In the backyard, you should use your staging to highlight how the space can be used.

“If weather permits, set up an outdoor patio set to showcase your yard,” Rechel adds. “Outdoor firepits are trendy these days and easy to create.”

Staging Your Home Maximizes Its Potential

Staging brings out the best in your property and entices buyers to picture themselves living in your home. Whether you choose to hire a stager or do the work yourself, the cost can add up fairly quickly, which is why you may not want to stage your entire house.

That being said, staging is almost always worth it. Homes that are staged typically receive higher offers and sell faster than homes that aren’t. As Shapot explains, “We are selling aspirational living. And buyers are willing to pay a premium for that.”

Once you’ve staged your home, you’ll be ready to market it. For tips on how to enhance your marketing efforts, check out our guide for how to sell a FSBO house.


How To Avoid Craigslist Scams: A Comprehensive Guide

For almost three decades, Craigslist has been the go-to online marketplace for a reason – it works. You can list just about anything for sale and no matter what it is, chances are, someone will be interested. As a buyer, you have the freedom to negotiate the price and you don’t have to pay shipping fees because Craigslist is local.

Most of the time, transactions go smoothly. But like any online marketplace, Craigslist also attracts scammers looking for an easy payday. Whether you’re a regular on the site or just thinking about trying it out, here’s a rundown of Craigslist scams to look for and best practices to use as you shop or sell, especially if you have a big-ticket item like a car or a home for sale in mind.


How Common Are Craigslist Scams? 

Craigslist is sort of a “Wild West” when compared to other sites of similar popularity. There isn’t much moderation or policing in comparison to the scope of the site. The actual number of Craigslist scams is hard to estimate, as many of them go unreported or the listings expire. 

A 2014 study by NYU estimated that 1.5% of real estate listings on Craigslist were fraudulent (29,000 listings out of about 2,000,000 in a 141 day period across 20 cities). This study only examined real estate, so site-wide figures are unknown.  


9 Essential Tips To Avoid Craigslist Scams

Even if you don’t detect anything suspicious (but especially if you do), follow these best practices whenever you buy or sell through Craigslist:

  • Never wire money in advance
  • Only accept cash
  • Evaluate listings carefully before agreeing to meet
  • Reverse-search photos in listings to make sure they weren’t stolen
  • Look for other red flags in the listing to save you time (see “How To Spot A Craigslist Scam” below)
  • Make sure the buyer or seller is willing to meet in person
  • Always examine the goods in person
  • Never give out more information than necessary
  • Trust your gut – if something doesn’t feel right, walk away immediately


Crucial Craigslist Safety Tips

Craigslist safety tips for physical safety and fraud protection

Any time you share information online or meet face-to-face with a stranger from the internet, it’s best to take a few precautions. You should carefully evaluate listings and the other party before agreeing to meet face-to-face. Check out Craigslist’s safety guidelines as a starting point. We go into more detail about these safety tips below. 


Trust Your Gut – Your Safety Is #1

While violent crimes and thefts aren’t a common occurrence for Craigslist dealings, they are a risk – as they are any time you’re meeting face-to-face with a stranger. Your personal safety is the first priority, items are replaceable. If you find yourself in an unsafe situation, get away as fast as you can and notify authorities when it is safe to do so.

      • Always bring your phone and a friend
      • Trust yourself, if you feel unsafe – leave


Meet In A Local Public Place 

At the very least, you should arrange to meet somewhere that’s well-lit and populated, like a coffee shop, diner or mall. Even better are SafeTrade Stations, which are designated areas at police stations or similar law enforcement buildings.

      • “Deal locally and face-to-face” is Craigslist’s number one tip to avoid scams
      • Don’t pursue offers that involve shipping, that’s not Craigslist’s M.O.
      • Meet at your local police station’s parking lot or a “SafeTrade” location.


Bring Backup 

It’s always a good idea to bring someone along like a friend or family member. There’s less likelihood of any shady business, and chances are you’ll feel much more comfortable with a familiar face around.

      • Bring a friend with you to a public meeting place
      • Let a third party know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, or check-in regularly


Deal In Cash – Carefully 

Most people know Craigslist is primarily for cash-only deals, which helps prevent sellers from getting scammed. With that said, you don’t want to bring a duffel bag of hundred-dollar bills somewhere. If you’re buying an expensive item, tell the seller you’ll go to an ATM after checking things out – or you could even meet at a bank.

Craigslist becomes riskier as the price of what you’re buying or selling goes up. Be even more cautious when dealing with high-value or rare items.

      • Never wire funds 
      • Be wary about selling or buying high-value items
      • Don’t accept checks (certified or cashier) or money orders – if you give the bank a fake, you’ll be held responsible. 


Protect Your Identity 

The key to avoiding identity theft is always safeguarding your personal details as much as possible. As a seller on Craigslist, be sure to use the site’s proxy email address feature so you don’t have to give out your personal email. As a buyer, you’ll need to use a disposable email service like Mailinator or Maildrop. 

Whether you’re buying or selling, you can also avoid giving out your phone number by using Google Voice, which lets you use a different phone number to receive calls and texts on your phone. One more thing if you’re a seller: many smartphones will embed data in the photo about where it was taken. Be sure to erase personal data before posting photos of an item for sale.

      • Never give out personal data (address, ZIP code, ID numbers, etc.) 
      • Never give out financial information (bank account, PayPal account, Social Security, etc.)
      • Avoid giving out your primary phone number and email
      • Never undergo “background” or “credit checks” without verifying the validity of the offer
      • Bonus tip: If you do decide to use personal contact info, spell out numbers and characters in your contact info to keep spam bots from picking it up (example: [at] gmail [dot] com)


How To Spot A Craigslist Scam

Signs of a Craigslist scam in a listing

There’s no surefire way to spot every Craigslist con, but knowing the most common red flags will make it a lot easier to avoid getting ripped off.

      • Communications from someone who isn’t in your area
      • Poor spelling or grammar
      • A seller who claims to be out of town or otherwise unavailable
      • Requests for wire transfers, cashier’s checks or money orders
      • Requests for personal details like a Social Security number, PIN code or password
      • A buyer or seller who’s anxious to get a deal done quickly
      • The person receiving the call is referred to as a “pickup agent”


These same red flags apply to communications as well. Often times, scammers will sound “off.” Keep an eye out for red flags throughout the buying and selling process.

Signs of a Craigslist scam in messaging


How To Report A Scammer On Craigslist

If you ever spot a suspicious listing, encounter someone trying to pull a fast one or fall victim to a scam on Craigslist, be sure to file a report with Craigslist, especially if the post is still active. Also notify your local authorities immediately – if it’s an emergency situation, call 911; if the situation isn’t an emergency, call your local police station office so they can direct you to the proper department. 

Craigslist has curated a list of who to reach out to (in addition to their internal team and local authorities), see those contacts below:



Common Craigslist Scam Tactics

common Craigslist scam tactics

Since 1995 when the site launched, con artists have tweaked age-old scams and created new ones to target both buyers and sellers. Here are a few of the most common Craigslist cons to watch out for.


Ticket Scammer

Whether you’re buying plane tickets or concert tickets, you need to be on the lookout for fraud. Even if you see photos of the tickets you think you’re buying, they might have been stolen, counterfeited, expired, canceled or might not even exist at all. And if you’re trying to get into a sold-out event, there isn’t always much time to make sure the tickets you get are legit. 

So, do your best to validate the tickets with the information you have. Ask for seller’s invoices stating the tickets have been paid for. Get the account number and call the ticket rep for confirmation. In every instance, research the tickets you’re buying as much as you can to make sure everything checks out.

      • Scammers posts sold-out tickets, stolen or fake “discounted” tickets
      • If you can’t verify the tickets with the event venue, don’t go through with the deal


How To Avoid This:

Avoid buying resale tickets on Craigslist. Verified resale sites might cost more, but you know they’re real. Facebook Marketplace or Groups are safer bets because you can better vet the seller, but they’re also not foolproof.


The Overpaying Buyer

This involves a scammer posing as a buyer who sends you a check or money order that exceeds the agreed-upon price. The fake buyer will apologize for sending too much and request that you send back the difference. Only trouble is, the check or money order is fake. Oftentimes, sellers won’t realize this until they’ve sent a check of their own to the scammer and it’s too late.

Also, look out for buyers who don’t ask enough questions about the product, don’t try to negotiate or offer to pay for shipping. Scammers will pay you for what you’re selling and pay with a check and then request the item. It’s usually too late after you’ve sent the item when your bank lets you know the check you deposited is fake.

      • Scammers will “buy” your offer and send a fake check for over the asking price then request you send back the extra balance  
      • Scammers will “buy” your offer, pay with a fraudulent check and then request the item


How To Avoid This:

Do business in-person and with cash. Don’t deal with people who want you to ship items, ask them to go through eBay or a different shipping service if they’re truly serious.


Spoof Sites And Social Engineering

As the public has grown wary of phony websites and giving out personal information, con artists have upped their game when it comes to creating phony sites. Crafty web designers can create sites that look almost identical to Craigslist pages, with words like “Certified” and “Official” sprinkled throughout as you’re asked to submit personal information. 

Another common fake-out involves escrow services for big money sales. In escrow scams, a supposedly legitimate third-party company holds on to payment until a buyer gets what they’re paying for. Many of these sites look legit, but as soon as you deposit any money, it’s gone.

Craigslist also warns that they never leave voicemails or request information or payment from users. If “Craigslist” reaches out to you, contact Craigslist on their official site with a screenshot of the request you received. From there, they can verify the validity of the original request. Craigslist doesn’t offer protection or verification fees or services; these are fake, too:

      • Phony pages crafted to look like Craigslist
      • Third-party scam sites that will “hold” your payment
      • Phishing (fake) emails or voicemails from “Craigslist”
      • “Craigslist” purchase protection fees and services


How To Avoid This:

Visit the real Craigslist site for any offers, don’t click links in emails and don’t send money to any third-party sites or people claiming to work for Craigslist. 


Dream Job Offer

There are many legitimate job postings on Craigslist every day, but scammers and identity thieves will use this to their advantage. They’ll post a job that’s too good to resist, with great pay, minimal requirements, and possibly work-from-home benefits. Once you’ve applied, they’ll request personal information for “background checks” so they can steal or sell your identity.

In another example, the scammer will ask you (the job applicant) for application fees or some other dubious payment. Then when it comes time for an interview, the scammer will go silent and get away with your money.

      • The scammer will lure applicants in and then steal their identity when the applicant agrees to a fake “background check”
      • The scammer poses as a company and posts a job that doesn’t exist to convince applicants to pay for fake application fees


How To Avoid This:

If you see a job that piques your interest, go to the company website and check it out. Sites can be faked as well, so look for reviews of the company online, and check out their social media and employee ratings (Glassdoor). Once you’ve determined the position is real, then you can apply.

Real job applications or interviewers will never ask for any type of payment, steer clear of anything that does.


The Real Estate Deal You Can’t Refuse 

A common Craigslist scam in the rental section involves a “homeowner” listing a home for rent, complete with all the details and plenty of photos. After you express interest, the scammer will explain that they’re out of town or dealing with a messy divorce, and as a result, they’re looking to rent the place out fast but unfortunately aren’t available for a showing. 

You’ll be asked to wire a deposit and first month’s rent in advance if you want to take advantage of the bargain, after which you’ll never hear from the fake seller again. In some cases, scammers rent out a place and list it as if it were their own. This allows them to show the place off and collect deposits and down payments before skipping town.

      • The “homeowner” will post a property that they don’t have the right to rent
      • The posting is completely fake, stolen from another site or created using stock images 
      • There are extenuating circumstances as to why they’re rushing to rent the place 
      • They push for payment without you seeing the property first


How To Avoid This:

Never wire money. Never put a payment down for a rental without seeing the place and receiving legitimate legal documents (i.e. the lease). Reverse search listing images and look up the property on other sites.

See more tips relating to real estate in the section below.



Real Estate And Craigslist Scams

Craigslist safety tips for home sellers and home buyers

Sections that feature big-ticket items like cars and homes are immensely popular on Craigslist, but they also attract a significant amount of spam and scams. Most fraudulent postings and inquiries are obvious and easily ignored – though still a pain to sift through. Others are far more sophisticated, which means you always need to stay alert.

When it comes to homes, many real estate agents and for sale by owners use the site primarily before open houses. Because there’s no fee to use it and it reaches so many people quickly, Craigslist is a great way to drum up a lot of interest. See some tips specifically for buyers and sellers below.


Safety Tips For Home Buyers

As a buyer, you can see a lot of homes for sale in one place on Craigslist and use it before setting out to do some FSBO house-hunting. Before visiting a listing as a buyer:

      • Contact the seller for more details
      • Ask for additional photos not shown on Craigslist
      • Cross-reference with other home listing sites – serious sellers will list on other sites
      • Reverse image search the property images
      • Bring someone with you, preferably during a public open house
      • Ask a friend in real estate if the listing looks legitimate
      • Trust your gut and don’t go into a situation that you don’t feel comfortable with

How To List Your Home On Craigslist Safely

The most important aspects of an attention-grabbing listing that drives visibility include your headline, property images, proper pricing and how frequently you give the listing a refresh. But optimizing your listing isn’t the most important part when posting on Craigslist – safety should be priority number one. 



When you write your headline, avoid using your home’s address or the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. In most cases, a blur of numbers won’t stand out and draw a buyer in. Instead, make sure your headline has at least a little appeal and is location-specific – something like “Beautifully Furnished Springfield Home for Sale.” The same goes for your property description, don’t give away any personal information. Keep it just vague enough that it still drums up interest.



It’s always important to protect yourself and your belongings when you show your home to prospective buyers, and even more so when you publicize it to the kind of massive audience Craigslist attracts. It’s best practice to remove photos of your family, valuable decor pieces and jewelry from view in your staged home photos.


Remove Valuables

Be sure to remove all valuables, keys, personal photos and prescription drugs from the property. Ask a neighbor to keep an eye out as people come and go. Also, check with your insurance carrier so you know what your policy covers, just to be safe.


Bottom line: Craigslist is a highly beneficial tool to buy or sell anything, as long as you’re aware of the risks and how to avoid the dangers. This goes double for buying or selling something that can have a major impact on your financial future, like a car or a home. Click the button below to save essential Craigslist tips.


download safety tips button

Craigslist is great for generating and providing visibility if you are selling your own home. But when it comes to big-money deals, it’s typically best used as one marketing tool among many other tools like social media to broaden your buyer audience. It’s also important to house your listing on a more sophisticated for sale by owner platform. Looking to get started? We’re happy to help you optimize your listing and home pricing for a maximum return.


The Top 10 For Sale By Owner States [New Data]

For sale by owner sellers know they may face challenges. Selling a home without the help of an agent comes with its own set of obstacles, but the appeal of saving money and selling on your own makes FSBO worth it for thousands of homeowners every year. 

Not only are families looking for their forever home, but investors are looking for new properties to add to their portfolio as well. Real estate is still one of the top investment areas, as millionaires consistently list it as an essential part of their success.

As we all know, “location, location, location” is everything in real estate. It’s also fairly important, it turns out, when it comes to who sells the most FSBO homes. Selling by-owner is more popular in some areas than others, and depending on what state you live in, you may be joining a large number of other entrepreneurial spirits when you list your FSBO home on the market.

So, where do most of these FSBO sellers reside?

To find out which states are the most popular for FSBO listings, we dug into our state-level data to figure out how many sellers per state are listing their homes on, how those percentages compared to the national total, along with the median prices across those listings. Now, we’re sharing that proprietary data with you. Additional data has been pulled from the US Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and US News and CoreLogic to provide factors that are important to home-buying or investing, like year-over-year (YOY) population growth, YOY job growth, US State Education Rank and YOY average home equity increase.  

Read on to find out which states outperformed the rest.


Hottest States For Investing In FSBO Property 

illustrated map of the the US and which states are the best for for sale by owner

Which states in the U.S. held the highest percentage of properties listed and sold on Let’s take a look at the top ten states for investments in 2019 (through December 28). 


10. Ohio

FSBO Ohio: Median Listing: $205,000 YOY Home Equity Growth: $7k Population Growth: 0.5% US Education Rank: #31 YOY Job Growth: 0.5%

The Buckeye State starts off our top 10 list with 3.8% of FSBO listings. Ohio homes also saw strong year-over-year home equity growth with the average home gaining about $7,000 in value. The average listing price comes in right at $205,000, the most affordable state on our list right behind Illinois.

Mashvisor noted that Ohio is a great place to invest due to its affordability, profitability and appreciation — the top cities to invest in include Columbus, Hudson, Madison and Marion. Some cities have median listings that land below the $100,000 mark, like Dayton at $98,266. The affordable prices and equity growth make Ohio an accessible and worthy market to invest in. 


9. Louisiana

FSBO Louisiana: Median Listing: $230,000 YOY Home Equity Growth: $6k Population Growth: -0.3% US Education Rank: #48 YOY Job Growth: -0.1%

Louisiana comes in at number nine with 3.9% of the listings and a median listing price of $230,000. Homes in this state saw an average equity growth of $6,000. Job and population growth experienced a small decline year-over-year but this slow growth is trending across the US according to the US Census 

The equity returns were strong in Louisiana with an average of $6,000 across homes in the state. If you’re interested in real estate in the Bayou State, Neighborhood Scouts ranked Gibsberry, Hackberry and New Orleans as the top appreciating cities in Louisiana.


8. New Jersey

FSBO New Jersey: Median Listing: $415,000 YOY Home Equity Growth: $5k Population Growth: 0.3% US Education Rank: #2 YOY Job Growth: 1.2%

Coming in at number eight on our list is New Jersey with 4.0% of listings. New Jersey had the most expensive median listing price on our list at $415,000, surprisingly coming in above New York. You could likely score a great property for less than the median listing by knowing the specific city and neighborhood market well and using some tried and true negotiation tactics.

New Jersey is a great option for families looking to settle down – it offers suburban neighborhoods like Cherry Hill and North Caldwell as well as an impressive education system that ranks #2 in the country. So you can rest assured that when you move with your kids, their education will be in good hands.


7. Georgia

FSBO Georgia: Median Listing: $244,900 YOY Home Equity Growth: $7k Population Growth: 2.1% US Education Rank: #30 YOY Job Growth: 1.6%

The Peach State made our list with 4.1% of listings with the median price of $244,900. Growing families can expect to find a lot of great options as 66% of Georgia’s market is comprised of single-family homes. Some of the best suburbs for families are Decatur, Johns Creek and Berkeley Lake. 

Georgia’s average home equity growth was strong at $7,000 year-over-year. Job and population growth were also peachy keen, growing 1.6%  and 2.1% respectively. If you’re looking for the best place to kick off your career, Atlanta is your best bet, the Brookwood Hills neighborhood to be specific.


6. Michigan

FSBO Michigan: Median Listing: $240,000 YOY Home Equity Growth: $7k Population Growth: 0.5% US Education Rank: #37 YOY Job Growth: 0.4%

Michigan comes in at #6 with 4.2% of listings and a median listing price of $240,000. There are plenty of starter-home listings for those looking in the range of $225,000 and lower, as well as options for more established investors too. The average home equity growth was about $7,000 across the state. 

Ann Arbor (#47) and Novi (#23) earned spots in Money Magazine’s “Best Places to Live” report. If you’re looking for something closer to city life, some top suburbs and neighborhoods include Bloomfield Charter Township or Birmingham outside of Detroit, as well as Eastgate or Heritage Hill outside of Grand Rapids.


5. North Carolina

FSBO North Carolina: Median Listing: $221,500 YOY Home Equity Growth: $8k Population Growth: 2.2% US Education Rank: #25 YOY Job Growth: 1.7%

Coming in as the fifth-largest state for FSBO properties listed and sold on, the Tar Heel state held 4.7% of listings. The median listing price for FSBO homes in North Carolina was $221,500.

That North Carolina made this list is no surprise; the real estate market there has seen a lot of growth in recent years and is slated to only keep getting bigger. In fact, North Carolina cities grabbed two spots in the “top five markets to watch in 2020” of PwC’s most recent “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” report, with the Charlotte and the Raleigh-Durham areas both listed for their growing economies and job offerings, especially in the technology sector.


4. New York

FSBO New York: Median Listing: $358,000 YOY Home Equity Growth: $1k Population Growth: -0.5% US Education Rank: #22 YOY Job Growth: 1%

In fourth place is New York state with 5.0% of listings in 2019. For New York FSBO sellers, the median listing price was $358,500, making it the most expensive state in this faction of the market overview. This makes sense, as New York is home to the most expensive real estate market in the country.

In fact, New York is actually home to several expensive real estate markets. If you look at the boroughs of New York City each as its own real estate market, three of those boroughs make the list of the top 10 most expensive real estate markets in the U.S., with Queens at number 10, Brooklyn at number four and Manhattan at number one.

If you’re thinking of listing your FSBO home in one of these pricey markets, be sure to do your research on 2020 predictions for NYC real estate and be prepared for a buyer’s market.


3. Illinois

FSBO Illinois: Median Listing: $214,900 YOY Home Equity Growth: $1k Population Growth: -0.6% US Education Rank: #19 YOY Job Growth: 1%

The third-most-popular state for FSBO listings was the “Land of Lincoln,” Illinois. In 2019, Illinois saw a 5.1% of FSBO listings. Illinois’s median listing price was $214,900.

If you’re planning on listing your FSBO in Illinois, you should know that home sales were lagging as of October 2019, down 2.9% state-wide compared to October 2018. Chicago sales were also down by 2.8%, and were down 3.3% for the overall Chicago metro area, according to Illinois REALTORS®. Homebuyers in this state are looking for affordability, so savvy home sellers should go into the process ready to negotiate.


2. Texas

FSBO Texas: Median Listing: $229,000 YOY Home Equity Growth: $5k Population Growth: 2.7% US Education Rank: #34 Job Growth: 2.6%

Everything is bigger in Texas, including its share of FSBO sellers. In 2019, the Lone Star state had 6.9% of listings. The average home equity growth was $5,000 and the median listing price for FSBOs in Texas was $229,000.

Texas real estate also made it onto PwC’s list of the top five markets to watch in 2020. Austin, the wonderfully weird state capital, earned the number one spot on that list. Home values in Austin are expected to continue rising through 2020 and the real estate and job markets should remain strong.


1. Florida

FSBO Florida: Median Listing: $262,250 YOY Home Equity Growth: $8k Population Growth: 3.3% US Education Rank: #3 Job Growth: 2.6%

Snagging the first-place spot is everyone’s favorite vacation (and retirement) destination, sunny Florida. Florida had an abundance of FSBO sellers in 2019, with a whopping 11.5% of total listings. Florida’s median listing price was $262,250 with average home equity growth of $8,000.

There’s no shortage of people wanting to move to Florida, which means that demand remains high year-round. This is good news for sellers – especially those who are in the most desirable areas. What’s more, home values are projected to rise faster in Florida than the overall U.S.


Important Takeaways

As a FSBO seller, you understand the importance of being educated on the market you’re selling in and doing research on any real estate trends you need to be aware of. By being able to see the median listing prices and the top states, you can get an idea of what other FSBO sellers are doing and what kind of challenges you may face.

While selling solo can be difficult at times, knowing your home’s worth and being aware of the common pitfalls of selling FSBO (and how to avoid them) can greatly improve your chances of success and make the process go much smoother.



This data was pulled from ForSaleByOwner 2019 databases (January through December). States were evaluated for their total listings against the national totals, listing conversions, total properties sold and median listing price. Also included is data pulled from the US Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and US News and CoreLogic to provide year-over-year (YOY) population growth, YOY job growth, US State Education Rank and YOY average home equity increase as supplementary data for investors, sellers and buyers. 

This data is provided solely for educational purposes and is not a guarantee of how your property listing or home offer could perform.



57% Of Americans Say Fixer-Uppers Aren’t Worth It – Are They Right?

Based on the number of reality home improvement shows, fixer-uppers seem to be all the rage. Americans fell in love with “Fixer Upper” couple Chip and Joanna Gaines and other dynamic duos like the Property Brothers. But are they smitten enough to take on a project of their own? For those who may be less familiar with HGTV, a fixer-upper is a home with a lot of potential that is in need of repairs, a diamond in the rough. The appeals of fixer-uppers are potential cost-savings and the chance to customize property.

We surveyed 1,000 Americans to see how deep their interest in fixer-uppers and home improvement goes. Is it surface-level or are people really willing to flex their renovation skills to create their personalized dream home?

The goal of this study is to provide helpful information that can be of use to those selling their own homes and to compare different real estate trends in relation to changes in pop culture. It’s so important to know your target market if you’re selling your home. If you can understand what people value, you’ll be better equipped to create a home listing that’s going to sell fast.


Sorry, Chip and Jo – The American Dream Is Not A Fixer-Upper

57% believe that fixer uppers aren't worth it

The majority of respondents did not think that buying a fixer-upper would be worth it. The most common reasons reported were perceived stress levels and the lack of savings. On the flip side, about 20% of respondents believed that buying a fixer-upper could save them at least $20,000. 

perceived turnkey and fixer-upper savings

With so much buzz around millennials and home buying, there were, surprisingly, no significant differences between age groups and perceived fixer-upper savings. In addition, 18% of respondents ages 18 – 34 think fixer-uppers aren’t worth the stress, versus respondents 35 and older, of which 33% said it wouldn’t be worth the stress. Younger prospective home buyers are slightly more likely to roll up their sleeves and take on a fixer-upper than older homebuyers.


How Much Do Fixer-Uppers Actually Save You?

average fixer-upper savings

Most respondents lowballed their savings estimate. The 20% that chose $20,000+ were right on the mark. The average home cost is $289,000, and the average fixer-upper savings is about 10%, bringing the average savings across the U.S. to about $22,680. While this all depends on the housing market in the area you’re searching in, on average you will usually save 10% of the cost of a comparable turnkey home. 

See the chart below for the average home cost and average fixer-upper savings by state. The prices are pulled from internal data and the National Association of REALTORS®:

fixer-upper savings by state


How Much Are Renovations?

It’s important to note that your savings are also contingent on what types of renovations you plan on implementing. Poor planning or unexpected issues can cause renovations to exceed their budgeted costs. It’s crucial to create a renovation budget with breathing room, a contingency for unexpected costs or delays. 

You can save money by purchasing items secondhand and using less luxurious materials. Also, consider that some rooms may just need a new coat paint while others could require a full remodel. Note that the cost of materials and labor varies by state and city. 

See the average baseline costs for common remodeling projects: 

  • Bathroom remodels average baseline cost is $2,500.
  • Kitchen remodels baseline can be anywhere from $12,000 $20,000 and up.
  • Bedroom remodels average cost is around $7,800 and up.


Which Factors Are Most Important?

Commute times versus what the significant other likes

We asked respondents to select all of the factors and qualities that were most important to them when purchasing a home. Concurrent with the other survey question above, the “fixer-upper” quality came in last with only 11%. Close commutes, great schools nearby and turnkey homes were the top three most valued factors. See the average results from all respondents:

  • Close commute: 33%
  • Great schools: 31%
  • Turnkey: 29%
  • Partner loves it: 22%
  • Entertainment nearby: 16%  
  • Fixer-upper: 11%


How Do Generations’ Preferences Differ?

A frequently debated topic is the differences between different age groups and how they affect the housing market. For example, households without children will comprise nearly 40% of the population by 2025. As the market of buyers evolves and changes, so should your approach to selling your home.

Use the lists below to better understand how to market your property based on your ideal buyer.

home buying priorities by age


Does Gender Play A Role In Home-Buying Priorities? 

men and women's' priorities when buying a home

Back in 2000, 61% of adult women were in the workforce, and by 2016 that percentage had risen to 74.3%. It’s fair to say that women’s increasing participation in the workforce has had an effect on what women value when buying a home. This may be why the most important factor women report is a close commute, followed by great schools and a turnkey, move-in ready home. Male respondents’ overall top priority was ensuring their significant other loved the hours, followed closely by a convenient commute and great schools.

With people’s aversion to the thought of a fixer-upper, it’s no wonder that it was excluded from our list of words that sell. If you’re selling a fixer-upper, try to focus on its best qualities. Be honest and concede where the property needs repairs, just make sure you have professional pricing quotes of the home’s worth and any repairs the place needs. If you don’t, you’re giving the buyer the upper hand and giving them the opportunity to get the home for below what it’s worth.   



This survey was conducted for ForSaleByOwner using Google Surveys. The sample consisted of no less than 1,000 completed responses per question. Post-stratification weighting has been applied to ensure an accurate and reliable representation of the total population. The survey ran during November 2019.


10+ Winter Plants That Survive And Thrive In The Cold

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean your home exterior needs to be, too. Create a warm and inviting look by using winter plants among your other holiday decorations. A quick trip to the nursery will save you staging time and effort, especially if you plan on selling your own home. First impressions mean a lot, so whether you’re looking to sell, renovate or just give your property a quick facelift, winter plants and flowers are a smart way to go.


Use the list below to jump to the topic that interests you the most:


How To Protect Plants In Winter

winter plant care tips

As a rule, it’s crucial that you research the needs of the individual plants and flowers you pick beforehand. The fact of the matter is that not all plants can survive a harsh winter. Depending on the climate you live in and the specific plant type, it’s care requirements will change – use tools like Missouri Botanical Garden’s Plant Finder for care specifics. 

It’s also important to note the classification of your plant. According to, plants can be classified as annual, biennial, or perennial. Annuals live for one growing season, biennials live for two growing seasons, and perennials live for two years. This has a large effect on the care they’ll need. Below you’ll see some basic tactics used to protect plants from chilly weather.

  • Take some indoors: Certain plants are just not built to survive winter and must be taken in for shelter. Some varieties require that their bulbs be dug up and removed for winter.
  • Insulate perennials: Some plants will simply require a couple of inches of mulch to protect their root systems 
  • Adequate watering: Water trees and shrubs generously (about two times as much) before the first frost when the ground freezes over. This ensures they have enough water to get them through the winter, and the frozen ice layer acts as insulation. If you don’t experience a seasonal freeze, plants will require considerably less water once the weather is colder.


10 Colorful Plants That Survive Winter 

Even though most plants and flowers do best in the warmer months, there are many that survive and thrive in freezing temperatures. The best way to tell if a plant can handle winter is by its “hardiness zone” rating, which is based on an area’s climate in its relation to supporting plant growth.

Different zones can support different types of plants depending on if they’re built for colder or warmer climates. If their zone falls within the hardiness zone where you live, you should be good to go as long as you treat the plant with proper care.

Looking for some cold weather garden and front yard inspiration? We’ve got you covered with the visual below. It explores 10 different colorful plants and flowers, their hardiness ratings, when they bloom as well as what makes them special. 

See a condensed visual here and more detail in the copy below:

button to Download winter plant guide


1. Snowdrop (Galanthus Nivalis)

photo of snowdrop flowers in the snow

With a name like “Snowdrop,” it’s no wonder these plants are a great winter garden option. They are able to survive in zones as low as 3, or -40°F (-40°C). Depending on where you live, you can expect to see blooms as early as February. It’s important to note that these plants are poisonous to humans, dogs and cats, so plant with care if you have little ones or critters around.

  • Hardiness Zone: 3 – 7
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Blooms in: Mid-winter
  • Great for: Walking paths 


2. Helleborus (Helleborus Orientalis)

photo of a helleborus

Helleborus flowers are no strangers to some frost and snow – they typically bloom in late winter and are about 1 foot tall. The petals come in a variety of colors from white to pink to purple, contrasted against vibrant yellow stamen. These flowers are not only hardy to inclement weather, they are also pollution- and deer-resistant.

  • Hardiness Zone: 4 – 8
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Sun: Part shade to full shade
  • Blooms in: Late winter/early spring
  • Great for: Ground cover


3. Camellia (Camellia Japonica)

photo of camellias

These colorful beauties bloom on branches that grow to about 7 – 12 feet tall, perfect for hedges. Depending on your region, you can count on blooms anywhere from December to March. They require a little more attention than some other varieties as they are susceptible to some fungal diseases and pests like aphids, mites and mealybugs.

  • Hardiness Zone: 7 – 9
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Sun: Part Shade
  • Blooms in: Winter
  • Great for: Hedges


4. Mountain Fire (Pieris Japonica)

photo of mountain fire

Mountain Fire feels very festive with green and red leaves. when it blooms in late winter/early spring, it produces white flower buds. These deer-resistant plants do best in rich, slightly acidic soil. When mature, they can reach heights up to 12 feet but earlier on they are usually 4 – 8 feet. Also called “Japanese pieris,” they are especially fitting in a predominantly Japanese garden. 

  • Hardiness Zone: 5 – 8
  • Maintenance: High
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Blooms in: Late winter/early spring
  • Great for: Borders and fences


5. Winterberry (Ilex Verticillata)

photo of winterberries

A classic winter plant, the vibrant winterberry is a no-brainer for your cold-climate garden collection. These resilient plants survive well in wet, eroded or clay soil. They grow somewhat slowly and usually fall in the range of 3 – 12 feet tall. As a bonus, these trees attract birds and will surely provide a beautiful bird-watching spot when the weather gets warmer.

  • Hardiness Zone: 3 – 9
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Blooms in: Fall/winter
  • Great for: Rainy climates


6. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana)

photo of witch hazel

Witch hazel is hailed as a skincare solution and medicinal powerhouse, but these plants also make a great winter garden addition. Give your space a vibrant pop as these plants bloom in late fall into early winter. Due to their deer-resistance and tall height, 15 – 20 feet, they make great garden borders. When the weather warms up, witch hazel also attracts birds.

  • Hardiness Zone: 3 – 8
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Blooms in: Fall/winter
  • Great for: Medicinal uses


7. Winter Jasmine (Jasminum Nudiflorum)

photo of winter jasmine

These yellow stunners are native to Northern China and can survive temperatures as low as -10°F (-23.3°C). Throughout the cold months, winter jasmine boasts pretty green vines and in mid- to late-winter, their pretty blooms appear. Their malleable 10 – 15-foot vines are great for sloping ground and to train on wall trellises.

  • Hardiness Zone: 6 – 10
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Blooms in: Mid-winter/early spring
  • Great for: Wall trellises


8. Sester Dwarf (Picea Pungens ‘Glauca Globosa’)

photo of a sester dwarf

Sester dwarfs are extremely similar to the massive evergreen trees you’d expect to find in the Rocky Mountains, only these are only about 3 – 5 feet tall. Their height combined with their thick, sturdy spread of needles make them great for hedges. Also, this spruce variety is deer-, rabbit- and drought-resistant. Try dressing these shrubs up with lights for a festive touch.

  • Hardiness Zone: 2 – 7
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Blooms in: Non-flowering
  • Great for: Shrubs


9. Pansy (Viola × Wittrockiana)

photo of a pansy in the snow

Pansies come in a great variety of colors ranging from blue, purple, pink and red to yellow, coral and white. These deer-resistant blooms can survive in temperatures as low as -10°F (-23.3°C). When the cold weather melts away, they are great for attracting butterflies to your garden. Their smaller size (no taller than 8 inches) makes them ideal for container gardening, bedding and window boxes. 

  • Hardiness Zone: 6 – 10
  • Maintenance: Medium
  • Sun: Full to partial sun
  • Blooms in: Fall
  • Great for: Containers 


10. Algerian Iris (Iris Unguicularis)

photo of an Algerian iris

Algerian Iris are also known as “Winter Iris” and can survive in temperatures as low as 0°F (-17.8°C). The stunning blooms come in a deep purple and are drought-, deer- and rabbit-resistant. They grow to be about 2 feet tall, which makes them ideal for pathways and flowerbed borders. This is another variety that does well in loamy, chalky, or clay-rich soil.

  • Hardiness Zone: 7–9
  • Maintenance: Low
  • Sun: Full sun to part shade
  • Blooms in: Late fall–spring
  • Great for: Bed borders


Winter Plants Perfect For Curb Appeal And Staging

Just because you’re spending more time inside doesn’t mean you should neglect the exterior of your space, especially if you are trying to sell your home. The holidays are a special time of year for most buyers. Help them envision themselves in your home by including elegant and seasonal winter touches. 

Not only is winter curb appeal a great way to tie your home’s interior and exterior together, it’s also a great way to increase offers on your home. First impressions mean a lot, so remember that your front exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see.

10 Additional Winter Plants 

Below is a list of plants that are perfect for winter staging:

    • Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
    • Japanese Yew (Taxus cuspidata)
    • Catmint (Nepeta)
    • Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
    • Kaffir lily (Schizostylis coccinea)
    • American Mountain Ash (Sorbus americana)
    • Coneflower (Echinacea)
    • Siberian Cypress (Microbiota decussata)
    • Sunset Kale (Brassica oleracea)
    • Honeywort (Cerinthe)

Pro Tip: If you don’t have the resources to fully landscape, focus on your front door and porch area. Add potted plants and portable topiaries to increase your curb appeal on a budget.


How to Style Colorful Winter Flowers and Plants

When staging your exterior, it’s important to keep general staging tactics in mind:

      • Mass-appeal: Make sure your space appeals to a wide range of buyers.
      • Show off: Highlight the best features of your property.
      • Color choices: Neutral colors are preferred by most buyers, but don’t forget to add in pops of color and pattern in the decor.
      • Cohesiveness: The whole property should have a unified look that goes along with the architecture of your home and the area you live in.

With these basic staging ideas in mind, here are some tips for styling winter plants and flowers on the exterior of your home:

    1. Frame your entrance: This can be done by using topiaries, garlands or even lights.
    2. Accessorize your door: After giving your door a fresh coat of paint, adorn it with an elegant and seasonal wreath. 
    3. Complement existing decor: Try adding potted plants or window boxes to the setting.
    4. Replace delicate flora: Remove plants that can’t withstand the cold and replace with hardier ones.
    5. Landscaping upkeep: It’s crucial that you tend to your landscaping as well as plowing the pathways to your house. 
    6. Consider snow cover: Some plants will look great year-round and will be especially pretty with snow cover. Keep this in mind when landscaping. The hardy plants you pick must be taller than your average snowfall so they aren’t buried.

Pro Tip: In your online listing, include pictures of your property’s exterior from all different seasons. This makes it easier for buyers to envision their life there year-round.


Tie It All Together: Seasonal Botanical Prints

Photo of two winter plant botanical prints on the wall, namely a spruce print and a winterberry print

A great way to tie your exterior into your interior and give your home a fresh feel is by including touches of plants and flowers indoors. Aside from adding evergreen garland and colorful holiday plants, another fun nod to the outdoors is using a fun and seasonal print. Use this simple and elegant prints below to spruce up your interior this winter.

button to Download botanical prints

It’s easy to shake off the winter blues and increase buyer interest with simple touches of greenery and seasonal flowers. Many people don’t see winter as the ideal time to sell. Turn that idea on its head by leaning on the nostalgia and love that surrounds the holiday season. 

There are many buyers still searching for homes in the colder months, so take advantage of the decreased competition and make your place stand out. You will have great success in selling your home if you are able to create a lively atmosphere that helps buyers imagine hosting their family for years to come.



The Anatomy Of An Inviting Space, According To Science

“There’s no place like home.” It’s more than just a sweet sentiment. Feeling comfort, security and warmth affects peoples’ mindsets, moods and actions. You may not always be able to point out the exact reason something is comforting or welcoming, but you can definitely recognize how it makes you feel. We explain what makes a space welcoming and comforting, and how you can apply it to your own space so that guests, potential home buyers and customers can feel at ease in your domain.

How you make people feel is crucial to their overall experience. The tried-and-true Maya Angelou saying goes, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is exactly what the overall goal is for those who want to improve their hospitality: You want people who come to your space to feel welcomed, comfortable and secure.

The U.S. hotel industry alone broke $80 million in profits in 2018. All of the various lucrative subcategories of the hospitality industry are essentially selling the same thing – an experience. To this end, 74% of Americans prioritize experiences over things. So whether you’re hosting guests, selling your home or trying to market a product or service, keep the experience at the core of your decisions.

Use the list below to jump to the topic that interests you:


The Principles Of A Welcoming Space


Before diving into the different types of spaces and how to make them welcoming, it’s important to understand the elements that make a space feel this way. According to International Association for Applied Psychology, at the core of an inviting, comfortable space is well-being. One recent trend that supports this is the rise of biophilic design based on the idea that “humankind has an innate biological connection with nature.”

To put the concept into use, living spaces are designed with forms, patterns, senses and layouts that evoke well-being and a connection with nature. Another thing that makes people feel at ease are factors that subconsciously access comforting memories and experiences. This is similar to the way weighted blankets calm people down: it evokes sensory feelings and memories of being embraced

Here’s how you can evoke well-being and comfort in your space:


Spaces should be airy and light so that the features of the room are visible. Psychology Today explains that dark and shadowy rooms make people feel uneasy because they can’t see everything going on in the space. To mimic lighting found in nature, diffuse bright light with shades and window dressings.


Your space should have a natural flow whether it’s an open floor plan or not. This includes removing clutter. WebMD tells us that clutter can make a space feel closed off and is bad for your mental and physical health.


When choosing colors, consider the experience or feeling you are trying to evoke. In a piece that appeared in IRMBR Journal, it’s explained that warmer colors evoke feelings of excitement and being welcomed, while cooler colors evoke feelings of relaxation


Textures can bring about feelings and create different emotional responses just as visual senses can. Softer textures are said to be more comforting due to our mammalian roots and instincts, as explained in a study from the Journal of Consumer Research. Using soft textures in your home can evoke feelings of protection and warmth.


Scientific American explains that the effect that scents have is dependent upon experiences associated with that scent. For example, if the scent of apple pie makes you feel comforted and nostalgic, you probably had an experience in your past where the scent of apple pie became associated with good memories.
There are common scents you can use in your space that a lot of people have similar reactions to – like how the scent of pine trees reminds most people of the holidays, nature hikes or camping. Aromatherapy has also been shown to improve sleep and quality of life as well as reduce anxiety (Mayo Clinic).


There have been numerous studies that show music can have a great effect on mood and emotion. Music can help you relieve stress (UNR), help with productivity (Study International) and make people feel more comfortable and at ease in your space. Calm classical music and jazz are a great way to boost moods and focus. Even ambient noise reduces fear and anxiety (International Journal of Research in Marketing).


How To Create An Inviting Home

image of a living room that points out different features

Are you expecting guests this holiday season or have friends and family that like to drop in unannounced? Use these easy tips below to help make hosting a breeze:

  • Light: Let There Be Light – Help guests feel welcome and relaxed by letting your natural light shine, try opening your blinds or using translucent window coverings that still let light in. Use warm bulbs in your indoor fixtures and add whimsical string lights to illuminate and create dazzling outdoor spaces.
  • Layout: Clean Often – Not only is this helpful if someone drops by unannounced, but it also makes your life easier by not allowing cleaning tasks to pile up.
    Color: Show Your Style – While warm colors are the most welcoming, you should still include splashes of color and patterns that represent your style. Use warm colors specifically in areas that you want guests to feel cozy, like on the couch in front of the fireplace or in their guest bedroom.
  • Texture: Seating – Make sure there is enough seating for guests that are free of clutter. Set out some throw pillows and blankets to make seating feel extra cozy.
    • Extra Linens – Keep extra clean blankets and bedding on hand, so you aren’t rushing to finish the laundry before guests arrive.
  • Scent: Aromatherapy – Have candles and scented oil diffusers on hand to give your home a pleasant and welcoming scent.
    • Freeze Food – Keep frozen appetizers and desserts ready to go. They can be popped in the oven for any last-minute arrivals.
    • Cook Or Bake – If you have advanced notice that you’ll have visitors, try to have something simple on hand to offer them.
  • Sound: Play To Your Audience – Music is a must when having people over to your house. Make sure it’s low enough that people can still talk and hear each other. When picking a playlist, think about your guests’ preferences – when in doubt, ask them for song requests.
  • Bonus Tip: Their Favorites – While it’s customary for the guest to bring a little gift for the host, it’s also a nice touch for the host to keep their guest in mind too! Which drinks or snacks do they prefer? Surprise your guests with these personalized touches.


Staging: How To Make A House A Home


If you’re staging your home with buyers in mind, you will have to make some tweaks to ensure that it’s appealing to the wide variety of potential buyers that may come through your property. You’ll want to make sure that you’re showing off the best features of your home, the things that got people interested in your listing in the first place.

It’s important to remember to depersonalize your home so that buyers feel encouraged to imagine themselves in the space, rather than feeling like a visitor. There are a variety of small do-it-yourself projects and upcycling hacks that make staging your home easier.

Light: Show Off Your Natural Light

Frame your windows and glass features with complimentary window treatments, but keep them visible so potential buyers can see the full potential. If your space is lacking in natural light, add lighting fixtures that mimic natural light or have a warmer tone in the bulb rather than cold.

Layout: Clean, Not Sterile

In order to work with what you have and accentuate your layout, make sure to clear out any clutter. Remove furniture pieces that disrupt the flow, especially if you’re limited on space or have a quirky floor plan. To ensure flow, make sure there is at least two to four feet of space in walking paths.

You’ll want to create a feeling of togetherness, like the home is built for entertainment – even if it isn’t. Do this by “setting the scene,” create definite spaces with purpose throughout your home with furniture and a light assortment of staging “props.” These props could be table settings on your dining table, a neat stack of books in a reading nook or a fresh bouquet of flowers on the counter.

Make your space feel clean and clutter-free but comfortable and easy to live in. It will make buyers feel welcome and help them see themselves hosting guests of their own there.

Color: Warm Neutrals

The colors you choose to highlight should be light, neutral and warm. You want your space to be as move-in ready as possible and if potential buyers don’t have to paint, that’s one more todo to check off of their list. Including pops of color in your house is encouraged as it can make your home feel more lively.

Use those pops of color strategically to draw attention to your home’s best features. For example, if you have a stunning fireplace and mantel, hang a colorful print on it to catch the buyer’s eye. When choosing your accent color and patterns, keep a consistent theme to avoid clashing colors and designs.

Texture: Comfy And Polished

Again, make sure that the textures you choose are appealing to a wide variety of buyers. One additional key point is to make seating and beds look and feel comfortable. This can be done with a healthy abundance of pillows and blankets. Don’t overload the space, try to include a maximum of three on each seating area and around five on beds, depending of course on their size.

Scent: Pleasant, Not Overpowering

It’s pleasant for buyers if you not only engage them visually but also through scent as well. Ensure that whichever scent you choose to feature isn’t too overpowering as many people have sensitivities to strong perfumes. The safest scent to go with is the subtly pleasant scent of a freshly cleaned home. To choose a scent, think about your location and the time of year too, i.e. a pumpkin spice candle doesn’t make much sense in the middle of May.

Pro tip: Try baking something fresh in the oven before buyers arrive so your home smells delicious and you have something to offer them and make them feel welcomed.

Sound: Cheerful, Laid-Back Music

It’s a good idea to have light music playing in the background. This is a perfect way to evoke positive emotions and cover the lull of street traffic. Make sure the music you play isn’t loud or too quick. You don’t want buyers feeling rushed by fast tempos. Choose the music based on the type of mood you’re trying to evoke and the person you’re selling to. A young bachelor or bachelorette will surely be drawn to different music than a mature couple looking for peace and quiet.

Which brings up another important point, don’t play music if one of the home’s best features is its environmental location. You don’t want to cover up the sound of the babbling stream outside or the birds chirping. Alternatively, you could have music playing at the entrance of the home but ensure that you can show off your home’s peace and solitude in other rooms of the house.


Hosting Guests: Home Is Where You Make It


In recent years, many people have turned their additional property or space into lucrative bed and breakfast ventures. If you’ve decided to turn hosting guests into a career or side hustle, you know how important positive reviews are. In order to build up your customer base and earn those five-star reviews, it’s crucial to give your guests a great experience. Below are a couple of additional tips to create a five-star visit:

  • Light – If guests are arriving late, make sure they can easily find your place. Solar-powered pathway lights and motion sensor lights are a great way to guide guests without wasting electricity.
  • Layout – Above all else make sure your place is clean, clutter-free and accessible to guests with disabilities who have expressed their accessibility requirements.
  • Color – Guests feel most welcome in homes that feature warm colors. However, if this doesn’t mesh with your personal style make a compromise by including warm colors in the guest bedroom or their bedding to create a cozier vibe.
  • Texture – Make sure you have enough blankets and pillows available, especially when temperatures drop.
  • Scent – Your space should smell clean and pleasant, make sure that any scents aren’t too overpowering. To make guests feel like they’ve truly arrived at their destination, place a scent diffuser with a popular essence from your area.
  • Sound – If possible, have soft music playing for your guest when they arrive. If you won’t be there, consider leaving a small speaker that they can use to play music and feel more at home or CDs of local musicians so they can experience something new. Just remember to include your quiet hours on your house rules to keep your neighbors happy.
  • Bonus Tip: Welcome – Many hosts leave “welcome baskets” for their guests, these little gestures aren’t necessary but can be a great way to ensure your guests have a positive experience. Something as simple as a small treat like a chocolate bar, city maps or other helpful suggestions make guests feel welcome.

In addition to welcoming guests, you’ll also want to ensure that house guidelines are laid out clearly to ensure a safe and pleasant stay for both the host and the guest. Click the button below to download or save our free printables below:



How To Make Any Space Feel Like Home

The principles of comfort and feeling welcomed don’t just apply to homes, they also apply to a variety of public and commercial spaces. While your brand and style will play a big role in the style of your store, there are ways to make the different principles of comfort work in your favor to create a better guest experience.

Click the button below to save a visual guide to making customers feel welcome.


download business tips

Creating an inviting environment is a crucial part of a visitor’s, guest’s or buyer’s experience. And when the time comes to sell your home, you can save a lot of money by using the tips above to stage your own home. Remember that not everyone has the same design taste as you so try to depersonalize and meet somewhere in the middle of neutral and your personal style. Even though neutral design is the most universal, make sure you’re still accentuating the quirks and features that make your home unique and desirable.