Sheron Cardin's Input...: Is Your House Ready For Today's Market? 10 Tips to Make Sure!

I have been an interior designer for over 27 years and I have always taught my clients the principles I used while decorating their home so they may enjoy decorating too. The home staging trend in residential real estate is a great way to reach more people every day and what I enjoy the most is they are learning the basics of good design through staging. It is my dream for every person to know the joy and pride of living in a decorated home.

Is Your House Ready For Today's Market? 10 Tips to Make Sure!

handsMost homes are decorated WRONG if decorated at all. Since entering the decorating business in the early 80's, I can count on two hands how many homes I have walked into where the furniture was in the right place, the art was hung the right height, window coverings were flattering and functional, and accessories were exciting and fresh. I can count on one hand how many homes CLOSETS were neat and organized...smelling fresh, and towel bars were lint free and polished, dog dishes coordinated with the decor, and the beds were made properly.

tooth brushAnother bugaboo of mine is seeing liquid soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, toothbrush holders, cleaners, sponges, laundry soaps, and squeegees all out in plain sight. This may sound very anal but when was the last time you walked into a model home and thought about your teeth? All these items on counters and shelves do just that...they take you down the hygiene highway far away from where you are supposed to be heading.

magazinesSo as far fetched as it may seem, if you are going to be showing your home to anyone other than cousin Joe and Aunt Mildrid, then you better get your home shaped up for prospective buyers. There is a good chance they just went through the model homes down by the school and have a slew of decorating magazine's in their kitchens looking for the right kind of place they can call home. So if you want to sell your home to these people, you are going to have to catch up and match up.


Dear Consumer,

Here is a quick list to help you visualize what you must do if you want to compete and win in the house selling game:

  1. Your yard, front and back, needs to look better than everyone else's on your block.
  2. Your exterior lights at night need to be brighter than anyone else's on the block
  3. The paint color of your house needs to be fresh and current.
  4. Your front door and entrance to your front door need to be spotless and colorful.
  5. Your view from the entry in your home needs to be decorated and clearly defined.
  6. Each room needs to reflect the purpose of that room like a page out of a magazine.
  7. Every closet and cabinet needs to be organized and odor free.
  8. All hardware and lighting fixtures need to be fresh and working properly.
  9. All walls and floors must look and feel new.
  10. The lifestyle of your target market needs to be addressed and presented clearly.

I know this is a lot of work but today's market is a NEW MARKET with above average expectations! If you fall short and don't give it your best effort, then your buyers will keep looking for someone who does. shows you how to do it yourself. 




Comment balloon 14 commentsSheron Cardin • October 25 2007 11:50AM


Great list.  I recently had a listing that half of the light bulbs were burned out.  The client was also violating a couple of more items on the list.  I tried to work with her to fix some of the issues.  Her unwillingness to better prepare the home for sale caused her to sell the home for less than I believe she could have got.  It also took longer to sell.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) about 12 years ago

Sharon - #10 pretty much pulls together and sums up the entire post (I think).  I am SO with you on the soap and toothpaste, toothbrushes and oh my goodness...LAUNDRY DETERGENT and dishwashing soap....put them away!


Posted by Jackie Peraza, Home Stager - Framingham, Massachusetts (Perceptions AdverStaging(TM), LLC) about 12 years ago

Hey Sheron

Hope you are well, I have not commented on any posts lately, but I have to tell you that I think this is says it all. I cannot believe what I see in some homes, check out my latest blog, this is for real. I also lost a bid to another stager once and I went back after the house was staged and I could not believe that she actually had toothbrushes and toothpaste on the bathroom counter (this was a vacant home). Everyone loves the "feel" of a model home and we do understand that not everyone can live like that, but ALL MUST STRIVE to come close to that look today in order to compete.

Great post, thanks again, Phyllis Pafumi 

Posted by Phyllis Pafumi, ReStyled to Sell Staging Homes NJ (ReStyled to Sell Home Staging New Jersey) about 12 years ago

Hey Randy - some just don't realize that if they broke down their efforts by the hour, they could be making more money than they ever have before...thousands per hour! I feel your pain.

Jackie - exactly! My sisters and friends receive pretty pumps from me as gifts too :)

Phyllis - it is so nice to see you. I know you are super busy and I appreciate you taking the time to agree with me (don't ya like that). It is very hard work to put that heavy toothbrush away...wait a was a vacant? Is that their way of making it feel homey??? Sadly that is what is sounds like. Thanks for your comment...I will be by and see what you have been up to. 


Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago
 Sellers are learning. Of course it is our jobs as professionals to make sure they understand the challenges of this market.
Posted by Dionne Morgan, Broker REALTOR ,GRI, e-PRO (Realty World Solano Realty) about 12 years ago
Hi Dionne - yes they know what needs to be just getting them to do it and do it right is the challenge.
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago
Sheron -- excellent post!  I think information like this really lends a hand to providing credibility to the value home staging brings.  Thx
Posted by Karen Dembsky, Atlanta Home Staging (Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA) about 12 years ago
Karen - thanks...that was the reason I wrote it...fillin' in the blanks as they say :)
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago
Thanks for the great list.  Now if we can only get our sellers to read it and actually do it. Ha!
Posted by Tyghre Collentine (Coldwell Banker Burnet) about 12 years ago
One ear at a time Tyghre, one ear at a time :)
Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago
Excellent list ... we should take our sellers to model homes to see how the pros do it ... they wouldn't spend the $ if it didn't work
Posted by Nancy Moeller (Seven Gables Real Estate) about 12 years ago

Hi Sheron-

Great points! We can still see internet photos with stuff on the bathroom counters & how about baby toys hanging in the bathtub???

I have a question, though.  Are there tools to help stagers pinpoint the lifestyle of the buyers? Most demographics I have researched are way too vague. Thanks!


Posted by Kathy Riggle, Houston Home Staging (STAGING SMART N SOLD) about 12 years ago
You sure hit a home run with this one! It's all about standing out from the competition - not being average.
Posted by Anthea Click, Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly! (Fresh Perspectives - about 12 years ago

Nancy - how is the market doing in Anaheim?

Kathy - that would be a good question to ask your local real estate professionals and a great way to get your foot in the door!

Anthea - exactly...not being average! 

Posted by Sheron Cardin, ARTIST - A Home Stager/Sellers Best Friend! (California Moods Inc) about 12 years ago