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  • Writer's pictureKristina Browning

Staging your Home to Sell: Checklist

Updated: Jan 30, 2022

If you are doing a Google search for " Realtor to sell my Home " and you live in Portland Oregon, you have found the right one. The process of selling takes teamwork between the seller and the realtor which can mean a couple of things: The transaction could be unnecessarily difficult if:

1. they both don't communicate the same way (text? email? phone?) and

2. if the realtor doesn't have a stylist as part of their team or can provide you insight and direction to ensure you get the most out of your investment.

Home styling services is a value-adding option that I include for my clients. Some things can be done gradually yourselves. Other things will require that I walk the property together with you.

Why is curb appeal important? Not all real estate agents near me understand curb appeal. If the curb appeal is not everything it can be, the buyer shopping online at 3 am may not even pause to read anything about your home. They will never know about the greenhouse you added to the back yard. The next 25 images will never get seen. The kitchen remodel with the wine fridge is irrelevant if you can’t get the potential buyer to pause on the first photo long enough to decide to look further into what the interior may have to offer. The first photo in the listing is the exterior front of your home and it counts! Curb appeal counts big time! It’s also the first impression the buyers have when they arrive at your home. If you are thinking of listing in the future, call or text me so that we can discuss your curb appeal and what changes you can make to get the most out of your investment.


Here is a curb appeal list to reference if you're aiming to list in the next few months:

1. Assess your front door. An attractive from door helps in the overall curb appeal of your home. It can also be the focal point of the front of the home so make sure you set the right tone for the first impression. This may mean replacing the door altogether, touch up any scratched paint, repainting it or adding a welcoming wreath.

2. Remove visual clutter. When you stand at the curb, can you see a direct, unobstructed route to walk up to the front door? If a person who's never been to your home before pulled up, would they understand how to get to the door visually? JUST THIS ONE QUESTION is a big deal. What can you clean up, minimize, simplify?

3. Assess your front landscaping. Are there any large trees, bushes or landscaping that are obstructing light coming from coming into the house? The biggest offender I see is when small flowering bushes were planted directly in front of the window and 10 years later, they are now 15 feet tall. Make sure bushes are not blocking light from coming in the windows. Large and tall bushes and trees can be ideal to frame your home, flanking it and creating layers of interest. Also, consider the experience of porch-sitting; a screen of low plants provides a bit of space definition and a lovely view so considering your plantings from every angle.

4. Look at all of the window coverings on the windows that are front-facing. Are they uniform? They don't have to be, but you might like that aesthetic better which is why I am simply posing the question. When we installed plantation shutters on the inside of our home, I only really needed them in the master bedroom but decided to put them in our office as well so when looking at the house from the outside, the windows were dressed symmetrical. Here’s another interesting thought: I have seen light brown curtains in a main front window. At first glance, it literally looked like the window was boarded up from the inside giving it a “meth house vibe” so if the drapery is the color of cardboard or plywood, from the outside it can have an unintentional bad vibe.

5. Do I have a cohesive color scheme for the outside plants in my front yard? Limiting your landscaping color palette and being intentional about it can positively change the curb appeal. The more color you add, the more English garden it can read. Reflect on your taste and what is already planted there. Here’s an example, if you want your curb appeal to be more cohesive, and you've got six different colored flowering plants right now; pink, lavender, dark red, violet, yellow, and white. Could you remove the yellow and white leaving all jewel tones remaining? This would help your curb appeal, especially if your home is of the jewel tone color scheme. Another thing I've seen that was successful is the paint of the house being chosen based on the landscaping (meaning this is calculated the other way around.) There was an especially gorgeous hydrangea planted out front and the door color was chosen based on the hydrangea. Everything else was neutral and it was stunning. Likewise, 5 different white flowering plants of various sizes can look stunning juxtaposed against various greenery. The next time you are out on a walk and you find a home that you think is especially beautiful, observe what you like about the choices in plants. Do you love the hanging baskets of ferns that line the grand porch?

6. Is your garage front-facing? If it is, is it painted in the same color scheme as your home or was it just left white? For some reason, I've seen this more often than I’d like to admit. The garage is a part of your home and it shouldn't look like an afterthought. Unless your garage door is especially ornamental and was intended to be white as a cohesive part of the home color, it shouldn’t be white. I would suggest that you paint it just like the rest of the house - preferably something that does NOT draw the eye if your garage is a standard garage door. There is no need to draw attention to it. If the doors are carriage doors in style, then going with wood (if you are replacing them) or something that suits the design to compliment the luxury can certainly be stunning. Just make sure IF you are drawing attention to them, that they are WORTHY of the attention.

7. Ask yourself "What IS the dominant focal point of my house?" And then ask if it is what you want it to be? Maybe the focal point is unintentionally your sons' bedroom because put a Batman sheet over his window. Then after assessing your curb appeal, you realize the bat signal is been shot out the front window life-size beaconing for the good to come to fight the evil. Was that the vibe you were going for? This is especially important when your home is on the market. It can be a big turn off even if it's subliminal… small things like a sheet hanging in the window can read “frat house.” Weeds filling the flower beds can read “someone who doesn’t care about home maintenance lives here” and that is a bad message to potential home buyers.

8. If you have a front-facing door and/or a front-facing garage, consider putting two identical pots on either side of it. Symmetry is not only pleasing to the eye, it's also the simplest to arrange. Planting lush green foliage in those pots gently draws the eye toward the door. Consider doing the same containers on both sides of your garage with something that requires minimal upkeep. The homes that grab my attention most, have some sort of a uniform planting in an orderly way that invites your eye to what is most delightful about the house. When we do our listing photos and video, this front door shot is VERY IMPORTANT!

9. What does the front porch light look like? Does it work and is it the same or different as any other lights that may be on the front of my home > i.e. lights on the garage if you have a front-facing garage and are THEY working? Could a medic or an emergency vehicle quickly and easily identify your house number from the street? Are your house numbers also attractive? I found a great article on HOUZZ about cool house number ideas to share with you. Low-voltage landscape lighting can also help your curb appeal while improving safety and security. There are many solar options these days if you do not have access to a hard-wired connection.

10. Now let’s talk about the whole area around your door collectively. I would encourage you to treat the front of your home as if you're getting ready to stage it for a magazine. If you have a covered area, could you include an outdoor rug? What does your front door mat look like? If it doesn’t delight you, reconsider it. If making choices like this is simply not your jam, ask me and I can help choose things that will photograph well! Do you have a wall-mounted mailbox? Every single thing that’s going on around your door including lighting adds the most appeal when they function collectively, rather than winging it.


Kristina Browning is a five star rated realtor in Oregon City, serving OC, Portland, and West Linn. If you are buying a home in Portland Oregon, looking for a relocation realtor, or you are researching how to find a realtor that works with investors, you’ve found the right one! Looking for reviews on real estate agents? Reference the list of reviews on the Buy and Sell pages here on my website and then Call, Text or email me to share your timeline and goals. We’ll put a plan of action together and get the ball rolling. Kristina Browning, Realtor & Home Stylist 503-505-3798

Kristina is a Realtor in Oregon City. She is a fan of its entrepreneurial spirit and created OregonCityGuide for those residents and people considering Oregon City to purchase a home. This helps those who are considering moving to SE Portland, Oregon City or West Linn.

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