dining room

How We Sold Our House in Less Than 48 Hours (Above Asking Price)

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Whew, we did it. We sold our house!

Some of you might be thinking, “What? You never even said you were moving!”

That would be correct haha.

I’m not really someone that talks about things as I’m doing them. I’m more someone that will tell you when I’m done!

I’d make a terrible full-time lifestyle blogger haha…

I’ll get into why we sold our home and what’s next for us later, but in this post, I want to dig into a bit of our home selling process, staging tips, + things we did for a quick and profitable sale because that’s everyone’s ideal, right??

A little backstory: We listed on a Wednesday morning and between Wednesday and Thursday we had 23+ showings, as well as ones being scheduled for the weekend. Our realtor said it was one of the best opening days they’ve had all year! Wednesday night we got feedback that a couple of offers were coming in. Thursday we accepted our first & best offer (above asking price). So not bad. Not bad at all!

Oh, and just so we’re clear, I don’t think staging alone can sell a house. I think there’s a lot more at play such as the market, home listing price, God’s timing, and a great realtor (we loved ours- message if you’re local and want a recommendation!).

I’m not saying you can’t have success selling it on your own, but I saw many, many houses FSBO sit for months, eventually being listed by a realtor, and then going so quickly! We never really considered selling it on our own, but I am SO glad we didn’t!

Though listing with a realtor or not, I can say that I think staging is a huge part of it. I’m sure you’ve read all the statistics online, but I’ll share some below:

  • A staged home sells for 17% more than non-staged homes
  • 95% of staged homes sell in 11 days or less
  • Buyers are willing to offer 1-5% above asking price for a staged home

Backstory and super long intro over. If you’re looking to sell soon and you’re working on getting your house ready for market, read on for what we did and to get ideas of things you can do to set yourself apart from the competition and get your house sold QUICKLY!

Staging Your House to Sell Quickly- Things We Did

P.S- I was really bummed because in the midst of all the craziness I accidentally deleted my “before” pics before I got a chance to upload them. Sad day. I have some old pictures and grabbed some random things on my phone and that will just have to do!

We rented a dumpster
staging your house to sell quickly

Before we even got to fluffy white towel arrangements we started by getting rid of stuff. We rented a 30-yard roll off and pretty much filled it completely. Granted, we were throwing out old carpet, icky furniture, bathtubs, vanities, and light fixtures, so it wasn’t all stuff, but we did clear out a lot of things from our garage and basement.

We pre-packed

I went through the house and packed away everything that was just sitting in a closet or not in active use. The more spacious your house feels, the better.

Everything that made the cut went into off-site storage so there weren’t piles of boxes sitting in the house. Piles of anything make people think there is not enough space in your house, which then makes them think there is no space for them! Also, you want your house to feel open and spacious. Piles and piles of boxes don’t do that. Unless it was a decoration, we packed away everything that we didn’t use regularly.

We were ruthless about what stayed and what went

This step is different than renting a dumpster and throwing out obviously bad things. On this step you need to evaluate your things even more and think about your stuff and if you actually need it or not. The less you keep the easier it is to pack and move. After all, a clutter-free home is a clutter-free mind! After the dumpster, we gave stuff away to family and donated the rest. It’s so surprising how much stuff you can accumulate even if you routinely go through your junk! Having less stuff to pack doesn’t necessarily impact the sale of your home, but you’ll thank yourself later.

We did a furniture/decor edit

I’m a DIY person and I don’t claim to be a craftsman, but I created a bench that honestly didn’t look great, though it was functional haha. Well, guess what? Toss. We tossed/donated any decor or furniture that didn’t add to the home, fit in with decor, or make the cut for something I’d want to bring to the next house.

We made a list of everything to do
staging your house to sell quickly

The overwhelm is real. Eventually, you’re just going to have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t do everything and if you wait till every little thing is done you’ll probably never move. We made a list of everything we wanted to do. It was 4 pages long. We worked through the list and whittled it down to one page. This took months. Then we had a list of things that needed to get done and things to do if we had time.

These lists were so so helpful. It kept us from walking aimlessly around the house not knowing what to do, plus it gave some great satisfaction when we got to cross something off!

We deep cleaned everything

I scrubbed the floors on my hands and knees to get in every little crevice, nook, and cranny. We cleaned walls, baseboards, windows, furniture, lightbulbs, you name it. We saw many houses where it looked like people didn’t even clean, but more like they just tidied up. Like moving everything to one corner of the room and vacuuming around it kind of thing. To me, that comes off as sloppy and like you don’t really care.

We thought about hiring a cleaning service, but after spending so much to fix up the house we just decided we’d do it ourselves…and maybe hire movers instead! It’s up to you!

staging your house to sell quickly
even Will got put to work!

Don’t forget that before you even get into the “fun” part, everything needs to working and fixed if there are any issues. Some people just have to paint, but not us, unfortunately. There were rooms that we had been putting off since we moved in that had to be tackled at once! For us this meant replacing bathtubs, patching walls, touching up paint, new vanities, new light fixtures, new floor, new doorbell, new trim…just to name a few.

Your realtor can let you know their thoughts on what they think needs to be done! Staging is not just fluffy white towels, but that does play into it. Read on now for the “fun” part and what we did in each room!

Master Bath

The flooring was not one I particularly thought was pretty, but it was a cheap remnant so we got it. Since it’s just an easy replacement (for the next owners) and nothing wrong with the floor, I got a plush and long rug to cover it up {not pictured}. This room got a new white shower curtain, shower liner, and curtains. New light fixture and vanity. New fan vent. New faucet. I took out my functional eyesore (the over the toilet shelf) and replaced it with a pretty shelf filled with pretty things. Even if you can’t see them all, these changes made the bathroom feel fresh, bright, & clean! I got the listing photos off the internet so they’re not the best quality but I hope you get the idea!

Master Bed

In every part of the house, we repainted trim, baseboards, and touched up walls. This room didn’t need much. We cleaned out the closets and I got new pillows to replace the college dorm room looking ones haha as well as a cute new bed skirt.

Living Room

Our tv isn’t mounted so I got rid of the mess of tv cords behind the tv. Our fireplace is real and I staged wood in it because that’s the next best thing to lighting it (safety concern). I also set up some coffee cups on the bistro table in front of the window so people could imagine reading their newspaper and looking out the window!

staging tips to sell house
listing photo
Dining Room

I took out a small table in front of the window and a coffee cart to create more space around the table. The more things you can get rid of the better! Then I did a nice table arrangement so people could imagine themselves hosting and entertaining in this space!

dining room
listing photo

Taking off the curtains was not totally intentional. We removed the rods because it was my plan to raise them higher to make the windows look bigger. When they were off it left a big hole so we had to patch it. As the paint was drying I realized it looked so bright that I just decided to forget the curtains altogether!

Kitchen

I hid the microwave, knife block, and anything on the countertops that weren’t decoration. I left the decorations I already had because I thought they were cute, but spaced them out to show lots of counter space!

I also cleaned and organized inside the cabinets (because people always look), so nothing was dirty or so jam-packed.

I took away the floor rugs so the space looked bigger and less choppy.

kitchen
Hallway

I had a family gallery wall at the end of the hallway and took out all our family pictures. I replaced it with some cute items found around our house along with a “Home” printable! I’m sending buyers a message. 🙂

Main bathroom

For staging, I just added new white towels everywhere, as well as a succulent and cute bar of soap in the tub to highlight that it’s brand spankin new!

If I had more time I would have framed the mirror, because it’s old and needing some loving, but it’s not a make it or break it thing.

bathroom
listing photo
Will’s room

A kid’s room is a kid’s room and since decor was pretty neutral I didn’t have to do much. I got rid of a play teepee in the corner to open up space and hid the garbage can, because who likes looking at garbage cans? Especially ones full of diapers haha. I also hid his sound machine and other little “gadget” type things that take up space and distract.

staging tips to sell house
listing photo
Guest room

We originally had the guest room downstairs in the non-conforming bedroom and had it switch rooms with the office because on the main floor people want to see a bedroom. All that was needed was a dresser, a bed, some nice pillows, and simple decor. Now people can see they have enough room for overnight guests!

guest room
listing photo
Office/bonus room

This room is down in the basement and we didn’t spend as much time down here as we did on the main level. Though as far as basements go, ours isn’t too bad. Here we did fresh paint and new carpet. We didn’t go fancy with decor or anything, but we gave every room a purpose so people could imagine what they would do with it!

office


I wasn’t trying to eliminate everything in our house, because hey, we still lived in it after all! I thought the decor made the house look lived-in and loved (because it was), but did try to look with an honest eye for any clutter or too many things.

I can’t exactly pin it on the new pillows and say, “Yep! That staging tactic won them over!” haha, but I know it couldn’t have hurt and after already seeing 10+ houses, I know that just by cleaning our home well we were setting ourselves apart from the competition.

For those that are tired of me rambling haha and just want “the good stuff”, I’ll do a quick recap below!
  • Go through your home and make piles to donate, keep, and/or trash. Be ruthless! Rent a dumpster if you have to.
  • Pack up everything that isn’t a necessity or being used daily (decorations excluded).
  • Bring all your packed up boxes to storage to get them out of the way.
  • Fix or replace major (or minor) issues. Scuffed up paint, holes in the wall, lights that don’t turn on, switches that go nowhere, etc.
  • In the bathrooms, hide all personal toiletries but still make sure drawers and vanities are organized if people were to peek inside. Add white everywhere- white towels, white shower curtain, white rug. Make sure everything is new and fluffy. It’s very spa-like to have rolled up towels, so be sure to find a place to do that as well.
  • In the bedrooms, go for nice and fresh bedding. Try to hide the personal wedding photos and go for neutral decor.
  • That goes for all of the house actually, try to take some of the super personal stuff out. I know if I’m looking at a house and see family pictures I’m trying to figure out if I know the family or not. That completely distracts me from the thing I’m there to do- see if I want to buy the house or not!
  • In the living/family room, hide kid toys and arrange furniture for talking. At the same time, take out furniture that doesn’t create a good flow or anything that makes the room feel cramped.
  • Don’t forget the outdoors! Check for any peeling paint or rusty handrails. Sweep, rake, and keep your driveway and stairs clean. Put out fresh mulch and make sure you have some flowers in your flower beds. Add some pots of in-season flowers next to the front door. Consider a wreath or anything that dresses up your house and gives you some curb appeal.
  • In the kitchen, hide/store away things that take up too much counter space and distract, such as your microwave, coffee pot, crockpots, knife blocks, etc.

Related: Homeowners | Our First Home Story

Wow, this is a long post! If you’re in the season of getting staging your house to sell quickly, I hope this was helpful.

I’ll add any more if it comes to me, but leave a comment below if you have any more questions!

No questions? I’d love to hear your own home selling story if you have one!

Oh, and I guess another thing to add to our story-our house is sold, but we have nowhere to go!! We’ve got less than 30 days to find a place. If you’re selling a home in Iowa I’d love to hear from you 😉

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staging tips to sell home quickly
Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.