Most buyers are not willing to buy their next home sight unseen. They want to see it IRL. And they want to smell it and feel it and even hear what it sounds like.

So, when you prepare your home for sale, use your own senses to knock your home staging out of the ballpark!  

How do you look?

The first input people will receive about your house is visual. And we tend to think that home staging begins and ends with how a home looks to buyers.

Well, that's just the beginning! But it is the visual impression that is the initial hook to reel in a buyer. 

It starts at the curb and today's curb is online. Make sure your photos flatter your home without being deceiving. Your Realtor should be dealing with a professional photographer. Do not accept ordinary cell phone photos for your listing. If you have to pay for pro photos yourself, do it, because it could be the best investment you ever make.

All the usual pieces of advice apply when we're talking about a home's appearance. Make the interior of your home sparkle, declutter ruthlessly, clean like crazy, and then stage beautifully with your best pieces of furniture. Store the extra things that don't contribute to the look of luxury. Arrange your furnishings so your rooms look inviting. 

My home staging eBooks tell you everything you need to know and all the right steps to take, and in what order. I make it easy for you. 

Do the nose test

The influence of scent cannot be overestimated. In earlier times, the suggestions for home staging included advice like baking cookies and lighting scented candles. Today, buyers expect a clean, fresh air scent. I've blogged about how artificial fragrances are bad for your health, and I've suggested ways to use products like essential oils as alternatives to chemical sprays and plug-ins.


Why stage with fresh flowers when you can make arrangments 
that are this convincing from faux flowers?
With real flowers come maintenance, expense, and
fragrance that is bothersome to people with chemical
sensitivities and allergies. Photo: MonicaWantsIt 

Of course, you'll need to remove any offending or "off" smells. The worse offenders are the lingering scent of nicotine, evidence of mildew or mold anywhere, and any unpleasant pet aromas. Deal with the source of these problems instead of trying to mask them. 

Scent-wise, basements and crawl spaces, baths, and kitchens are the important ones to get right. Good air circulation and dry air solve most problems. Do you need a dehumidifier under the house? Do you want to add some naturally scented soaps in the bath that will make buyers subliminally feel confident of the cleanliness? How about a DIY citrus pomander in the kitchen that will delight the olfactory senses of people on a home tour? 

This is the diffuser I use. I keep one in our bedroom and one in the living room, and use them daily, alternating different essential oils for differing fragrances. This model and others are handsome enough to be part of any staging decor. 

My diffuser can be set to send up a fine scent at intervals, or to 
run until the water and essential oil mixture is used --
a few hours. Sweet orange oil is my favorite now.
Do not confuse beneficial essential oils with 
chemically produced fragrance oils.

Create a feel-good home

Buyers are not as objective in their thinking as they like to believe. We're all influenced by the subjective messages of the senses, including what our skin tells us. 

One of the most important things to test is your HVAC system. Before you open your home to prospective buyers, make sure the temperature is always going to be comfortable. Is it too hot? Too cold? Check your heating and cooling systems to guarantee they are in good shape and reliable. Furnaces are made to function well for 15 to 20 years, so if your system is older, buyers will take note. 

Todays's buyers won't be content with air conditioning that doesn't meet their demand. Typically, AC units need about 20 BTU per square foot of space, but it's best to talk with a professional to figure out your exact requirements. 

Anyone entering this bath is going to want to run
her hand over this cool, pristine marble vanity top.
Photo: Brianna Michelle Interior Design 

There's another way buyers use their skin to "get a feel" for a home. They will use their hands. They will run their palms over a countertop to feel if it is nice, cool granite, marble, or quartz. They will feel the edges of doors and the fronts of cabinets to see if they are smooth. They will feel under sinks to see if there is evidence of moisture from leakage.  

What about the sounds? 

I know I'm not the only one who factors in the physical sound of a house when I'm considering a purchase. Is the house near a busy highway? Do the neighbors host raucous weekend parties? Do floors squeak? Does plumbing make noise when faucets are turned on or toilets flushed? Dogs barking next door? Heavy construction in the neighborhood? 

A bookcase, even one that's not built in, but filled with books,
offers soundproofing benefits. Photo: Annette Tatum 

Good wall insulation and newer style windows help keep outside noises to a minimum. Solid wood interior doors are better noise insulators than hollow core doors. Quality carpeting muffles indoor sounds. A floor plan that places different bedrooms at opposite ends of the house gives parents a bedroom or a  home office that's a quiet retreat. If your home has these features, be sure your Realtor is aware enough to promote their advantages. 

You can also educate your Realtor about situations that might seem problematic, but are not, such as the fact that the noisy neighbors are moving, or the dog barks only at strangers, or the construction is almost complete.

Sometimes white noise like that from the rotating blades of a ceiling fan can be a distraction from the steady hum of traffic outside.  

Homes that are staged always sound better than homes that are vacant, which create echoes and tend to sound creepily hollow. Draperies, rugs, and furniture like beds, couches, and upholstered chairs absorb sounds instead of reflecting them -- just one more reason staged homes sell faster and for more money than unstaged homes. has researched how music can be used to help sell a home. I think there's a strong case for using the right kind of music to be part of your background sounds. 

Get the look, get the book

Don't leave without downloading my eBook, DIY Home Staging Tips to Sell Your Home Fast and For Top Dollar. You may also want to check out my ebooks on no-sew window treatments perfect for home staging, and on arranging furniture in your staged home. I've done the homework for you to make your home selling go smoothly and profitably.