The National Association of Realtors contends that staging your Scottsdale home for sale prior to listing it will help sell it more quickly and for more money. The Real Estate Staging Association indicates that for houses that are staged, it is estimated that they spend 73 percent less time on the market.

10 staging secrets for your scottsdale real estate sale

To get your home ready for sale, you should follow these 10 tips for the best results. These easy and cost-effective ways to make your home look better which will give buyers a clear impression of their new neighborhood and how to decorate their home in a similar style and for less money. So go for it. Do a few of these things, and you can sell your home in Scottsdale quickly and for top dollar.

To get a plan customized for your particular home, call us at 480-906-1500 and set up your free consultation. We’d be happy to share our insider information about your neighborhood (and what buyers prefer about the homes there) … so you’ll know what to look for and what to prioritize when selling your home in Scottsdale.


declutter your scottsdale home for sale to get top dollarDecluttering is typically the first thing we suggest to clients wanting to prepare their homes for sale. According to the National Association of Realtors, 93 percent of realtors agree that decluttering a home is an important feature for potential buyers. I'm actually surprised it isn't 100%.

People who have too many things at home might feel like their houses are crowded, and they are afraid that the buyers will feel claustrophobic when looking inside their homes. To solve this problem, they need to sort their belongings so that they have less-cluttered counter space.

There are some sellers that don't see the problem with their collections or abundance of knick-knacks. They love their personal items and don't understand that it can turn off potential buyers. It doesn't matter if it is an expensive collection of antiques or a specific style of art throughout your home. The more personal it is, the more reason to go through it and store most, if not all, of it.

Keep up to date on the items in your home that you don't use on a regular basis. I'll never forget some of the homes I've gone through with bizarre collections such as creepy dolls, a huge collection of Matchbox cars throughout the house, sports memorabilia, and the list goes on. I could see the pain in some of the sellers' faces when I suggested that they pack it up.

And then we have the hunters who are so proud of the heads of their kills hung on walls over fireplaces and throughout their homes. I even showed a home where the owner was a taxidermist and his finished, half-finished, and unfinished projects were on display in his workshop. My buyers had no intention of buying that house!

Don’t assume that you have enough time or space in an off-site storage unit to pack everything up while you're waiting to sell your Scottsdale home and move to your new place. Start the de-cluttering first and work through every room before the house goes on the market. Make sure your valuable items, furniture, and other items that you will need in the future are stored properly and your storage unit appears to be kept clean.


Whether a home has been thoroughly cleaned or not can become a major influence on a potential owner’s decision as to whether or not to move forward with buying a home. A dirty home can be extremely off-putting, and many buyers can't visualize the home clean and smell-free.

I have had buyers walk away from homes that smelled like dirty wet dog, cat urine, and/or cigarette smoke. Evenwoman with a clothespin on her nose in a stinky scottsdale home for sale though I explain to them that there are much better cleaning and deodorizing products out today, they're afraid it won't be good enough and they'll be stuck in a stinky house.

In fact, I sold a home in Scottsdale once where an adult son with mental issues hid his dirty, urine-soaked underwear in his bedroom. My buyers otherwise loved the house and felt confident the smell could be remediated. Unfortunately, they spent a lot of money, even having the heat vents cleaned out, and it didn't remove the odor 100%. That was many years ago so I'm hoping the house no longer smells, but they ended up selling it within a year of moving in.

You can save money and time by investing in a professional cleaning service. In particular, you may want to invest in a steam cleaner or let a company clean your carpets for you. We had badly dirty carpeting on the stairs and second level of my Scottsdale townhouse that we were going to sell. It was from a friend who stayed at our place with her friends for a week. Her friends mustn't have removed their dusty shoes when they went upstairs, which is something we always did.

In the past, we had rented carpet-cleaning machines from hardware stores and they seemed to do a good job. But this was really bad and we ended up hiring a professional steam cleaner. He made the carpet look new and we were even asked by the selling agent if the carpet was new because it looked so good. 

To prevent buyers from reacting negatively to your home, it is important to keep strong-smelling foods in sealed containers, avoid cooking close to showings, especially foods like fish, keep the windows opened, let in the fresh air, take out your trash regularly, take care of the floors, etc.

If you have a house for sale, you never know when someone will want to set an appointment for a showing, so plan to live a bit differently while your home is on the market. You might want to dine out more often and make sure your Scottsdale home is ready to show at any reasonable time.


a wall of family photos in a scottsdale real estate home for sale

Many Scottsdale home buyers can have a hard time envisioning themselves living in homes if it feels like a house that YOU own. It takes the individual qualities of a home to make it seem more like HOME. If you have family photos, mementos, or a personal touch that makes your place feel like someone's personal museum, you need to pack some things up.

What if I told you that I have shown countless homes where my buyers paid more attention to all of the family photos than the home itself? I've actually had to nicely push them along.

If the goal is to make the most profitable sale, remove the personal items you and your family have accumulated during your life. Anything that has been in your possession for a long period of time might hinder your sale.

The truth is, and this is what I tell my Scottsdale homes sellers, that they're going to have to pack up for the move anyway, so why not start packing some of the more personal items like family photos and the above-mentioned personal collections away now. You'll be able to pack them when you get to your new place and it will be a bit less to pack up when you're ready to move.


If you pick a bold color palette you could lose good buyers. I can't count how many sellers have said that the buyers will want to paint or change the carpet when they move in. That's not true! Moving is difficult enough, even if professional movers are hired. Most buyers don't want to have to paint walls and get new flooring as soon as they move in, unless they're knowingly buying a home that needs work and updating.

You might have newer carpet that is in excellent condition, but if it doesn't appeal to buyers or clashes with their furniture, they might move on to a more neutrally decorated Scottsdale home for sale. You don't have to stick with all sterile whites, and gray is losing its appeal, but try to stay away from bright blues or greens, or dark wall colors.

There are many ways you can spiff up your home without paying a lot of money. One effective way is to paint the walls of your home in newer tints of white or creamy colors. You can buy Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter paint which you will find in any store or home renovation store. This color is neutral with an appearance of white. It is a good color for the walls of your home

If your sofa is old and worn, you should buy a slipcover for it if you can't afford to buy or rent a new one. Be careful with slipcovers though. Cheaply-made furniture covers that fit badly can look just as bad as old, worn furniture.

We had a kitchen table that we loved and the chairs were like new. The top of the table was scratched and worn and ruined the otherwise nice set. I thought it was a wood composite that couldn't be refinished but my husband's friend gave it a try and it looked beautiful! Could I have used a tablecloth? Sure, but I don't like that look and the table set looked much nicer without one after it was redone.


curb appeal is your first impression to sell your scottsdale real estate

You only get one shot to make a positive first impression on someone. This means that if your curb appeal is somewhat poor, people may never cross the threshold. I've had buyers refuse to go inside a home when they didn't like how the exterior looked.

In one case many years ago before we had Google Maps with satellite views, we drove up to a home with a large dry water reservoir right next to the house. My buyers had small children and didn't want to take any chances of that reservoir getting filled up with water so close to their house. I had to knock on the door and tell the seller that we weren't coming in. She wasn't happy about it but it wasn't mentioned in the MLS description and we wouldn't have known until we drove up.

That is something these sellers didn't have any control over with the exception of not buying it in the first place. But you need to see if there are things you can do to make your curb appeal greet buyers with a positive feeling.

Walk around your house and look for any neglected areas that might be seen as "red flags" to potential buyers. Things such as missing roof tiles, rotted or cracked siding, or overgrown shrubbery and lawn may be reasons why the home isn't selling as quickly as you want it to. You should trim trees and shrubs if necessary and make sure your grass and the flowers are kept watered and look healthy.

To keep your siding and driveway clean, pressure washing may be a good way to go. You can also hire a power washer to clean other surfaces. However, if your exterior is stained or dingy, you may want to do a pressure wash to eliminate a serious issue. Be careful with those washers though so they don't cause damage.

To protect homes from the damage that solar radiation can do, people must take care to protect the windows, especially on the side of the house that will receive the most direct light during the day. A homeowner should always clean the panes of windows and screens and remove dark solar screens to brighten things up. This is selling time and will be temporary.

A nice cosmetic touch after making sure the exterior is clean and tidy would be to install new house numbers and maybe change the exterior light fixtures if the current ones are showing their age. Back to flowers, depending on the season you're selling in, plant some annuals to really brighten things up.


clean and bright bathroom in a scottsdale home for sale

Kitchens and bathrooms look better if most, if not all, of the contents of the kitchen counters, the bathroom, and any storage cabinets are removed. These items which cannot easily be stored anywhere else in the house should be packed away during the decluttering process.

You don't have to make those rooms look like a vacant house, but there are probably items you don't use every day. If you make coffee every morning, keep the coffee pot on the counter but make sure it's clean. Do you make toast every day? If not, store it someplace else. If it's rarely used, you might want to pack it up. The same goes for slow cookers, empty cookie jars or bread boxes, and absolutely no boxes, packages, or cans of food need to be displayed in the open.

If your cabinets are dingy or outdated, adding a fresh coat of paint and new hardware is an easy and inexpensive way to make them modern and bright and is becoming more popular vs. installing new cabinets. Be sure your home is spic and span and that trash is empty. Also, make sure your interior trash cans are clean.

If you want to add a welcoming touch, be sure to add a pot of cinnamon sticks and cloves or some lilacs in a pretty vase in the spring. Try to stay away from artificial odors. Many buyers are really turned off by those plug-ins and wondering what you're trying to hide.

In the bathroom, consider staining or painting vanity cabinets if need be and replace the hardware. It might be time to replace fixtures such as lights and cabinet pulls or knobs.

Replace your shower curtains if they look dirty or ratty. I always suggest removing bath mats and to purchase one set of fresh, new towels to be used for decorative purposes only. Teach your family that they are not to be used. You might have to store them nearby and quickly put them up when you know you have a showing. That could be difficult if you're not home when you get the appointment notification though so if you're leaving for work just hang them up before going out for the day.


a staged dining room table to help sell scottsdale real estate

A dining room sets the stage for the vision of a home buyer of having dinner with family. If chairs in your dining room are stained or are in outdated or ugly chairs, consider recovering them or using a slipcover to transform the room. The fact that a stained table can be concealed with a neutral and beautiful tablecloth is no secret.

In my kitchen table story above, that was a kitchen table and I didn't want to put a tablecloth on it. I might have felt different if it was a formal dining table. In small dining rooms, keep the table centermost beneath the chandelier and on the area rug if there is one. It is always best to have six to eight chairs maximum.

I personally have mixed feelings about setting the table with the fine china and silverware as if Thanksgiving dinner will be served or the sellers are having a party after the buyers leave. It could be appealing to some buyers so they visualize entertaining their own friends and family, but some buyers laugh about it.


interior design for scottsdale real estate

This can be one of the quickest and no-cost things you can do that can have surprising results. Start in your living room and think about what are the most important objects: which objects are the focal points? Think about which objects deserve more attention and which are more appropriate to place near the sofa or dining room table. The living room should be symmetrical, with the focal point occupying the center of the room.

If a room is small, try removing some of the contents of the room to make it feel larger. This includes oversized television sets and furniture. One way to create the illusion of a larger room is to remove almost everything from the walls along with some of the excess furniture.

Only the bed, dresser, and maybe one nightstand and/or a small desk should be included in small bedrooms. This is the time to go through bedroom closets and dressers and pack up out-of-season clothing to give the appearance of more space.

Make sure that each area in your house has some purpose. By staging your bedroom and other closets as guest rooms, or by turning that awkward corner into a clean workspace, you can help buyers visualize how this space could be useful. Helping buyers imagine how they can put the space to use could be a benefit to give them an idea of how to use an otherwise awkward area of your house.


Lighting can be a major key in how the appearance of the property feels to a potential customer. Buyers rarely seek out a dark property; most prefer properties that are light and bright. Homebuyers should ensure that windows are kept clean, and open curtains and blinds in order to let in maximum light.

white bright living room in a scottsdale home for sale

I've had several buyers complain that a particular home appears too dark to them. They can feel it almost immediately and those are the homes they quickly run through and eliminate.

Each room should have three lighting types: ambient, task, and accent. The goal should be to illuminate every room no matter how big or small. If your light fixtures are old, simply replace them with new ones that are more modern.

Strategically placed landscape lighting can add a dramatic effect to your home’s exterior. However, such installation does require some knowledge of how to place them. At night, the light bulbs should be switched on, so that they are able to illuminate an area.


When you are designing and decorating your Scottsdale home for sale, you want to stage the house thoroughly and provide the potential buyers with an idea of how they would use the space. This is for both the interior and exterior.

The front yard is the first impression and greeting area. Some sellers go a little further depending on the front set-up of their home by installing a fountain or other water feature and a cute seating arrangement.

young family by the pool in their luxury scottsdale home for sale

The backyard is a private place to play and relax in. Even a small patio can become an appealing spot for dining if the addition of an outdoor dining table and chairs fits it. There are many different-sized table sets available, and even if you can only fit a small two-person table with chairs, it could be a place buyers can envision to drink their morning coffee.

I've shown backyards in all price ranges that were a gardener's or dog lover's paradise. Personally, I wouldn't want a home in Scottsdale without a pool, so if you have one be sure you do any necessary cleaning or repairs. The same goes for an outdoor fireplace or cooking/BBQ area. Make sure potential buyers can see themselves dining, entertaining, and having fun in the backyard.

Before you list with a Scottsdale REALTOR®

stage your scottsdale real estate for a successful sale

If you're in the market to sell your home, these resources will provide you with the best starting point for your preparations. Before you do any work, however, you should consult a professional for advice about your particular property and its value.

Some home improvement companies offer free, no-commitment consultations to help homeowners who are considering spending their money on home improvement projects.

As Scottsdale real estate market experts, we are intimately familiar with local buyer preferences that affect real estate prices and timeframes to sell. I am not a trained stager and before you spend any money, let me give you my opinion on what I feel needs to be done to get your home showing-ready. I might have some great ideas or if necessary, I can direct you to local professional stagers.

Give me a call at 480-906-1500.

Posted by Judy Orr on
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