A buyer decides within 15 seconds of walking into a home if they will write an offer.

There are a few essential items the seller should complete prior to listing their home.

This quick initial impression is the reason that we focus on staging the main living spaces. These include the entryway, kitchen, dining room, family room, primary bedroom and primary bathroom and often the office.

Read on for a professional stager’s advice on the top 10 things you can do before showing your home that will make those first 15 seconds the best they can be!

1. Hire a professional cleaning service to deep clean the property before pictures, staging and the brokers open. A cleaning service will help a potential seller get to the finish line when putting their home on the market. They will clean baseboards, vents, the kitchen, bathrooms and everything in between.

2. Trashcans and toiletries should be stored for pictures. For showings, be sure trashcans are empty. Place all toiletries in a shower caddy or container.

3. Mail/Remotes: Purchase a wicker basket with a lid. Place keys, mail, and remotes in the basket during showings and open houses. HomeGoods and Target are great places to find these.

4. Valuables: Store all valuables like jewelry, medicine, collectibles or anything of value (monetary or sentimental).

5. Closets and pantries: These should be one-third full. This open space allows potential buyers to see the size of closets and pantries. Remove items from the floor.

6. If there are smells in the home that need to be aired out, open windows to let fresh air in. Consider purchasing fresh wave deodorizer and use whole coffee beans to put in vases. Essential oils in a diffuser can also clean air.

7. Personal items and accolades: Store all personal pictures, trophies/awards and diplomas. Potential buyers are getting to know the house and the home’s architectural details, not the seller’s collegiate career.

8. Toys: Store all toys and items like bottles, formula and highchairs. Toys can be tough to manage. Purchase a large wicker chest from Target or Ikea for toy storage. We recommend you “pre-pack” and box up toys that aren’t favorites. The kids can open the box once they get moved to their new home to find a surprise!

9. Pets: The guidance for pets is the same as for children’s toys. Store all pet items including dog beds, cat litter boxes, toys, water and food bowls. A potential buyer shouldn’t walk into your home and immediately know you have pets.

10. Lighting: Be sure the blinds are pulled all the way up to let in as much light in as possible. Curtains should be pulled all the way to the side. Update light bulbs and be sure bulbs are working and are the same wattage. We recommend a daylight or soft white bulb depending on the lighting in your home.


A central theme for most of these recommendations is to pre-pack and box items that you want to bring to your new home. You can consider moving items into storage to clear some space without moving items to a garage.

Contact Nested Spaces for a Market Prep Consultation or to have us stage your listing to ensure your home is “yes!” worthy in the first 15 seconds.