Staging: The do’s and don’ts of getting your home sold in Chicago

Spring in Chicago means many things to Chicagoan’s:


-Walks along the lake


-Roof top drinks

-Bike trails

-BBQ’s (even in 60 degree weather)

-Marathon training

-Cubs games

-Outdoor restaurant patios

-Street festivals


That’s right, spring in Chicago has always been and will always be the best time to list your home. With our harsh winters, nobody wants to get out there and trek through zero degree temps and two feet of snow. So, when I get phone calls from October through December, from potential clients, I always suggest that we spend the next couple of months getting the property ready and list it in the spring.

If you fall into the category of wanting to sell your home this spring, here are some tips that will go a long way.


First and foremost, don’t do it alone. Staging a property takes many man hours. I have had clients spend 60+ hours getting their home ready before they called a professional Home Stager. I came in and realized that many of those hours were spent in the wrong areas. Professional Home Stagers know where to spend your time and money to get a better return on your investment. When you are ready to start the process, call in a Stager who will provide you with a detailed Staging Report that has prioritized your property repair and staging list. Make sure your Stager is not just fulfilling their HGTV hobby but actually runs a successful business with great statistics on their staged to sold properties. Don’t be scared to ask how their stats rank.

Now, besides the report that is personalized for each listing, there are the ever so common top three Staging Tips. We read about it everywhere. You know the tips …

1. Curb Appeal

2. De-clutter

3. De-personalize

Yada, yada, yada. Well, there is obviously more tricks to the trade and without giving them all away, consider these more specific tips when staging your property this spring.


I don’t just mean flowers and mowed grass. Look at your window treatments from the outside. There is a listing a few blocks from my own home. The home looks newer BUT there are granny curtains in the window that are hung midway. It doesn’t  always dates the home, but they don’t even look clean. Iif you want to sell a home worth close to a million bucks, you want to make sure that the window treatments (viewable from the street) look like a million bucks!! I have had clients with these window treatment nightmares and we always address the issue. Simple things go a loooong way.

Don’t do this: Granny curtains hung as low valances. Makes a new home feel sad.

Do this: Open up all window treatments and remove all sheers.


Yes, yes, if your home is on the verge of being on an episode of “Hoarders,” then of course de-cluttering will be on your homework list. But don’t go to extremes. We still want it to feel like a home. I always cringe when I walk into a home that has been overly de-cluttered. To the point that you can hear yourself echo as you walk through. You know who have gone too far if that happens. We want the property to still feel like a home, just not your home 🙂 The space needs to have life. I also cringe every time I see a vacant staging with just the bare essentials, sofa, table, chairs. That doesn’t create a feeling of anything but perhaps a realtor who threw a chair in the corner and called it staged.

Don’t do this: completely de-cluttered of warmth.

Do this: Add a neutral rug and stylish accessories like books and white vases.


You have heard it before. You need to de-personalize. Remove family pictures, etc. Well, I am a firm believer in this for multiple reasons. One, the obvious, at open houses and showings the buyers will look at the pictures and get distracted. At a recent open house, I witnessed a potential buyer checking out all the family photos. I asked her, “What do you think of those gorgeous wood beams?” pointing up to the ceiling. Her response, “Oh my gosh, I didn’t notice them.” I wonder why? Maybe because the homeowner didn’t want to listen to me and take down her family photos. Anyhoo, another reason is that you want to protect your family. No need to show the world, via the MLS photos and all your public open houses, what your children look like. Great! So now some creep knows your address, your kids school and what they look like. Remove ALL PHOTOS!!! But besides photos, you want to depersonalize “taste.” There are many local listings that are trying to sell their homes with very taste specific window treatments, wallpaper and color schemes. It might seem costly, but when done with a stager who has the right team, it can be guaranteed that the cost of staging it will be less than your first price reduction.

Don’t do this: Dated sheer window treatments, dark rug, undesirable dining chairs and some orange clown thing in the corner.

Do this:

As you can see, the infamous top three tips to staging are a little more complex than they seem. Remember, you are not just trying to sell a home, but a dream and a lifestyle. A lifestyle that some buyer wants. So you need to cater the aesthetic of the property to them!

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