How to Sell Your House

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how to sell your house

How to Sell Your House

Here are some tips about what we did to stage the last home Tawra and Mike sold and we thought we’d share our thoughts about how to sell your house. We have been doing this for years and have gotten it down to a science now. I hope these tips will help you sell your home more quickly because any realtor will tell you that when you want to sell your house, a clean and well staged home sells much faster.

Here is a description and picture of the house when it was for sale. Notice that we got rid of EVERYTHING in the house to make it show as perfectly as possible. I have been looking at some houses for sale on the Internet and it amazes me how much stuff people leave laying out, making everything look cluttered.

You have to get rid of it all! Pack up all of the non-critical items in the house! Put away the toaster and laundry basket and get EVERYTHING off the walls but one or two neutral pictures. It will make your house show so much better when you’re trying to sell it!!! Notice there is no blow dryer, soap, shampoo, toys, books, cups anything sitting out. It all has to be put away! For the things that we use every day, we throw them in the laundry basket when we leave and then haul it out to the car. When the people are gone, we bring it back it. Yes, it’s a lot of work but that’s how you get close to a full price offer. If you house is immaculate, people will notice and want to buy! Tawra


Also, we have special bedding and towels we use to stage the house. For example, the white sheet and pillows on the boys beds are only for showings. As soon as we show the house, we put the “regular” ones back on and save the “show” linens for the next showing.

We only use the place mats on the table for showing the house and then when the showing is over, we remove  and store them. You may have to do this with throw rugs too. Anything that could get messed up or dirty should be removed and saved for showings only.

This prevents you from having to wash a pillow case or shake a throw rug at the last minute. It may seem hard to clear all of your everyday things but just keep small baskets in each room to scoop things into, especially if you have young children with lots of small toys.

I try to “hide” things close to the area where they normally belong. For example, we would hide the cat bowl in a drawer right below where she eats or the remotes for the TV in a drawer in the entertainment center.

It also helps to have a friend or relative come and look at the house. Ask them to tell you what they think doesn’t look okay. Don’t take offense with this. You just need someone to look at things with a fresh pair of eyes to spot the things you missed. We get so comfortable with our own things that we don’t realize others may not fine them quite as attractive. -Jill



When considering how to sell your house, try to consider it from the buyer’s perspective. Determine how to make it visually appealing and make sure to describe the basic details and anything they might want to know before seeing it.

Here are some pictures of the house staged along with some of the details we listed when we advertised it:

$149,900 3 bedrooms 2 baths

1997 sq. ft.

2 car oversized garage

1 acre lot

Gas Fireplace

Charming well-maintained ranch home in the country but only 5 minutes from the city! Ready to move in.

Quiet location just 2 minutes from schools, grocery stores and new Andover YMCA! New septic system in 2007 including 1500 gal. septic tank. New exterior paint and fence in 2008. Tornado shelter in house.

Raised bed vegetable gardens ready for you!

Large 5 piece master bath with jetted tub, and walk-in closet. All one level handicapped accessible in house. RV parking. Sink in laundry room.     

how to sell your house - living room

house for sale kitchen and dining room


staging a bedroom to sell your house


clean uncluttered bathrooms help you sell your house


how to sell your house


staging a house to sell


selling a house - clean bedroom


how to sell your house - boys bedroom 

For more tips about how to sell your house, take a look at our post Get The Most Money Selling Your House.

Top Photo By: Ian Muttoo


  1. says

    Ok Jill now you can come up north here and make my house look half as good.
    Even with just the 2 of us old folks and a much smaller house I can’t keep it looking that good for long. I am happy when my cleaner leaves and the floors are vacumed and the kitchen looks good.
    two tips for when showing the house.
    boil a 1/4 cup of ginger in a pan on the stove just before anyone comes. Makes the house smell welcoming like baked cookies without the mess.
    The picture of the living room looks dark so turn on lights.
    Good luck on selling it. It looks great.

  2. Bea says

    Tawra, your house is very attractive. You have very good taste and it looks so inviting. I hope God blesses you soon and it sells. Remember He is in charge. Just trust.

  3. rose says

    your house is gorgeous! … if i could, i would buy it… and the fact that it is on 1 acre of land is the best part! …
    your home looks so homey and inviting…

    also, someone once told me that if your house smells like baked cookies or something like that, it gives off a homey, warm fuzzy feeling… that is how she sold her house quickly… and she had the warm inviting colors thru out her home like you do…

    good luck with the sale of the house… you will probably be able to sell it right away… it is such a beautiful home…

    i was telling my daughter that i am definitely looking to buy a house but at a cheaper price but some place near where we live (even tho i would prefer to be by the beach)… and she is currently looking online at the realtors in our area for me… hopefully we can find something…
    we want to be able to garden and grow some of our own foods… and i am not caring if its a big house either… i want a small home… less to clean, and well, if its small i wont want to take and add lots of items to the house… just keep it small and simple…
    my daughter’s house (she rents)i think is perfect … its small but is homey…
    hubby would like a bigger home than what i am thinking but i told him that bc of him being in a wheelchair, he cant be in a bedroom bc the wheelchair wont be able to make those turns very well around the door ways… he is fine here bc he can go in and out and not worry about the doors or corners… so he would be set up in the living room (which is fine bc no one ever comes to visit and whomever does, well we have known them forever and they are all well aware of his condition and have already seen the bedroom with the bed, and other items he needs)… my son and i would have the bedrooms and i told my hubby and son i would even take the smaller bedroom bc well i dont need much space…

    i do hope you sell fast… your house is just beautiful!…
    i love what you did with the day bed… its really nice… kinda reminds me of what my mom has in her apt …
    hope all is well with the family …
    rose 😀

  4. Roxie says

    Your home is beautiful. Really pretty. I sure hope it sells quickly.
    Your home here in Texas would sell for a whole lot more than $149,000.00 here. A home in that condition, with that amount of square footage, on that much land would go for double that.
    I hope you find the home of your dreams when you move. Best of luck to you. Roxie

  5. Courtney says

    Wow, your house is gorgeous! Hopefully, we’ll never have to move because I can’t imagine how much work it would take to get our house looking that pristine.

  6. Autumn Ruhl says

    I might re-do the picture with the dog in it. Your home is clean enough that someone might not even guess you had pets, but might be turned off by the sight of them. Just a thought. Great article – and the house looks lovely! Best wishes!

  7. Paulette says

    Tawra, you guys have done a beautiful job with your home. I can’t believe all the extras you have and you’re debt free! Amazing. Praying it sells soon!

  8. Dineen says

    I cannot tell you how many real estate photos I’ve looked at over the past 3 years while waiting for our dream house to make itself known. So many photos are awful: poorly lit, crooked, and rooms chock-full of furniture and knick-knacks that there is no way I could imagine myself living there or guess the size of the room. Your photos are wonderful and realtors should be ashamed of some of the photos they post on their sites, charging their clients for the service of listing, etc. and NOT having their clients stage for photos.

  9. Amy says

    Wow. My tiny little house here in AZ would sell for that and only on 1/4 as much land. And not nearly as nice of a house. Wow. It amazes me the price differences across the country! I wish I could move there and buy it – I’m sold!

  10. Kimberly says

    I like the picture with the dog- It makes it look like a “real house” but in a showroom way. Looks great!

  11. says

    I love your home! The pictures are tremendous and anyone would love your home! I live not far from you in Blue Springs MO and your house would sell for much more here also. I hope it sells quickly and thanks for sharing.

  12. Amy says

    Your home is beautiful! I would buy it in a heatbeat if it was located here in Pa. One such as yours would sell for 3x what you are asking. I can’t see why it wouldn’t sell fast….it looks great and the price isn’t high at all. Thanks for sharing with us.

  13. says

    Love it! I am always interested in seeing the kitchen when looking at a house. Since I like to cook that is the most important room in a house to me. Very nice! I agree-even here where I live a house like that would sell for more than what you are asking-QUICK! I’m sure you’ll have no trouble at all selling!

  14. Jan says

    Thanks so much for the ideas. I am planning on moving at the beginning of next year to Georgia and it’s going to take a lot of effort to get my house to look like yours, especially since I only have 980 sq ft.

    I’m sure your house will sell fast. It really looks so much better than any of the homes that I look at on the web. Good Luck, my prayers are with you.

  15. Cora says

    We lived in a rental that went up for sale..I never moved anything out of it,just kept it clean and neat all the time,and it sold 5 times in 15 years.And usually the second people that looked at it were the ones who bought it.

  16. rose says

    a note about your listing… even tho people can see the pics (which are wonderful!), you might want to add what kind of carpet is in the house (berber, etc…) and what rooms have carpet… also, mention the kitchen/dining area have wood floors (and if its real wood flooring or if its that kind that is wood but you put together like a puzzle, not sure of the name) and also, if that is real tile (ceramic or otherwise, if there is such a thing) in the other rooms and state which room has the tiled floors too…
    i know it might sound redundant but sometimes even tho people see this pics but if its in writing too (in the description of the house) it might help…
    i personally would have never noticed the dog in the one picture unless someone mentioned him… and personally i like the touch of that … shows your an animal lover and some people look at those things…
    odd thinking? yes but if it helps with selling ur house, so be it…
    and yes i agree, the pics are wonderful… and bc you went out and showed basically what each room looks like, you are “inviting” in as many people as possible to seeing ur home…
    i too hope u sell your home… i definitely would buy it but alas its in kansas and i live in florida …
    the price is perfect too…

  17. Rachel says

    Tawra, your home is beautiful! Your laundry room is even more inviting than our living room! when we sold out house eight years ago, the realtor told me after the first few showings that it was too clean and staged, and suggested that I mess it up a little so that people could imagine actually living there. I guess it worked, we sold in three months.

    We are not too crazy about the house we are in now, but we do love the neighborhood. Anyway, looks like we can pay off the $110,000 we owe in 7-8 years, so I think we are staying put. You can’t beat being debt free!

  18. Cindy Haskell says

    Tawra: Wow…what a beautiful home!! You have done an awesome job on presenting it…I hope it sells quickly for you! Thank you for the helpful hints!

  19. says

    To Jan who is moving to Ga., our son has a beautiful, old historical home in Darien, Ga. very near the beach, immaculate in and out, beautiful corner lot, stainless refrigerator, stove and d.w and everything upgraded. You can find it on and other web sites. A terrific price.

  20. Dani MarieBernadette says

    Hi Tawra,
    I seldom write but I have to say that You, your mom and your husband are amazing. Over the years I have come to feel as if you are all extended family. Love your website, love your home ( I have no doubts that it will sell) and praying you find just the right one in Colorado. My sister lives there and while I would love to move closer to her and I am sure it would be better for my Fibro, it would not be too good for my COPD.

    I am sure that a lot of the interaction between you and Jill on here is already done over the internet which means that we can look forward to the two of you continuing to work together. I enjoy both sides of this equation.

    Your family are awesome stewards of all the God has gifted you with and your blessings have blest us.
    Thank you for everything.. with love and best wishes
    dani MarieBernadette

  21. jill says

    Thanks for those kind words and you are right you guys probably won’t know any difference when Tawra moves. We do most of our business stuff on the phone with each other or over the Internet.

    I was separated from everyone for awhile while I was trying to sell my and Tawra’s house in Idaho and I didn’t notice it too much. We were on the phone (grandkids, kids, in-laws) no less then 15 times or more a day yakking. Thank goodness we had free calling.

    One thing nice is my grandkids have recently discovered speaker phone on their phone so instead of getting 4-5 calls every thirty minutes they just stick me on speaker phone after school and they all pipe in talking and tell me what’s happening while they do their chores, eat their snacks etc.

    Plus making trips to Colorado is no big deal to me. At one point in my life I could easily make 6-8 trips back there in a year plus my folks have a small camping trailer I have parked in the kids back yard and stayed with them for 3-4 months at a time when we have been separated before. Those trips I will plan around when we have large sales like Mother’s Day etc so I can help with the packing and shipping.

    It shouldn’t be too bad.


  22. Diane says

    We sold our home in 3 days in October. We lived in our former home 20 years and had all of the junk to show for it! You are absolutely correct about getting rid of the clutter. Your own life will be simpler and your home will be much more inviting. My “pack rat” husband says he doesn’t miss anything we gave away, donated or threw away. Our motto in our new home is “less is more”. Even though this home is about twice the size of the old, cleaning it is easy without all of the stuff. Get rid of it, folks, you’ll never miss it!!

  23. jill says

    Bren, Tawra hasn’t sold it yet. We think the price is right and it is showing well and most people are impressed with it so I guess it is just a matter of finding the right person.


    PS We sure are getting good a cleaning it quickly though. :):)

  24. Penny says

    I’m just curious as to why you’re selling your house at this time. I guess I missed it? We’re selling ours too and sometimes I think it’s a crazy time to be doing it. We’ve had plenty of showings, but I’m not sure if they are just getting a better deal on the myriad of foreclosures here in Florida? Anyway, just curious. I hope it sells soon as I know how these showings can wear on you – all for a good cause!

  25. says

    I wish you all the luck in selling your house soon & my prayers are with you. I can understand your dilemma of living w/boxes as I am now in the process of having a new kitchen put in my home. We had hardwood floors installed & although they came out beautiful there was & still is dust all over my downstairs. I have boxes, baga, containers, drawers, you name it filled to the brim with stuff. I can’t empty them until the new cabinets are installed & we’ve lived like this for over 2 months. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I plan to get 3 containers & label them keep, give away & throw away, & maybe sell. Hopefully in the end it will be worth the stress & the inconvenience. I’ll keep my fingers double crossed that you sell your house. My, oh my, I live in the North Shore area of Beverly, Mass. & you can’t buy a postage sized lot for such little money as you are asking. Best of luck.

  26. says

    We are trying to move to Colorado. House prices are down there with all the forclousures so we are going to give it a try. It’s been 3 months now so we hope to sell it soon! School starts in 5 weeks so it’s getting down to the wire. Tawra

  27. Linda says

    I’m new to your site. Where is your house? My husband’s wanting to move from Houston, TX, and your house looks great. Thanks for the selling tips – we’ll have to sell ours too.

  28. Jan says

    Thank you for the fabulous advice & good luck selling. It looks great! We,just listed our home and are in the process of packing to move back to Washington State from Boise, Idaho. We still have 4 “junky” rooms to get cleaned out this weekend, and I will really try to pay better attention to what is out. We have 3 inside-only cats, and have a real dilemma w/food, litter boxes (yes we have 3 separate boxes), and water dish. We can’t just pack them into the car when we need to show, so one room will have to be mostly inaccessible when we have to shut them in. Any suggestions? Boise, Idaho MLS #98442668

  29. Jenna says

    Advice on showing the house when you have animals – find a neighbor that will let you leave your animals there while the house is showing. My neighbor’s house is on the market and when she has a showing she puts her pets into a couple of travel crates and brings them over here to stay for an hour or two. She just keeps the litter boxes really clean and doesn’t worry about them.

    Your house looks great! We are going to be putting ours on the market next summer. Hoping to move up in square feet without moving up in monthly payments. We have SO MUCH to get rid of, and lots to pack up. I’m starting to pack now. I’ve gotten a bunch of free moving boxes from Craigslist which has helped a lot.

    Good luck with your sale!

  30. Michele says

    Wow… I would most certainly buy your house if I could live in the USA!!! How beautifully neat, tidy, and decorated!! Come and do MY house?? PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE??? :)

  31. says

    I cannot agree more with you that removing all personal things makes your home appear like it is really up for sale and you are serious about moving. We did this a few years back when the real estate market in California was imploding. Other people could not understand why we were packing up all of our things and storing them neatly in the garage. Anyway, we kept the house really clean (so much easier when it is half empty!)
    I would add one more thing: If at all possible arrange for a gardening service to come to your home and do a real clean-up like trimming bushes, trees, cleaning up planter beds, etc. We put in some new bark where areas were bare and planted some new flowers. It can be an added expense but you may not have the time to do this and do it professionally. BUT your curb appeal will improve dramatically and that is half the battle getting people to come into your home. Cleanliness inside is important but so is the outer perimeter of your property. If your yards look ratty, dull and boring people are going to assume the inside is the same!!

    We burned candles during the time we were showing the property and turned on all the lights to add brightness to the rooms. We got so many compliments from people who said that our home was the cleanest of any they had seen. We sold our home within the 90 day window which would have been normal for good economic times and I am sure this was one reason why.

  32. Mari says

    Thanks Tawra, got that link to your house the other day! Haven’t been able to find your e-mail though, think I must have deleted it by mistake :( Looks a lovely place, and what a wonderfully quiet lane to live in!!! Heavenly xxxxx

    • says

      We do normally have rugs but sometimes not having the rugs on the floor doesn’t break up the space as much and makes the floor and room look bigger. You have to think of all these little things like this because that is what can sell a house faster and at a better price. In the same way in the living room the we did use a rug to make it cozier and to give it a conversational area. If you have some furniture that looks worn or out dated then store or get rid of those items to help at to the neatness of the room. Plus if furniture looks dated sometimes that translates into a buyers mind that maybe the house hasn’t had much up dating in awhile.

  33. Veronica Tidd says

    I know you sold your house and moved last Summer Tawra but for people going through that now the most improtant things to remember are curb appeal and first impressions.
    Buyers make up their minds about a property within the first 15 seconds of arriving, so a shiny painted front door, new hardware and a clean door mat are well worth the effort. Also sparkling windows and crisp clean curtains make a good first impression. Keep the grass cut, bushes trimmed and bright flowers in the yard. It is the little things that matter the most like dealing with a wasp nest by the back door and repairing broken windows. Anything that leads potential buyers to wonder if more major things have been neglected

    • says

      Curb appeal was important too when Tawra sold her house and has always been true. We cover these very things in our moving articles and in our Moving on a Dime e book. It is only $6.95 and with all the things we cover in there most people find it more then worth it in helping to save on moving and getting their house sold easier. I know this may sound like a sales pitch but it really has so much helpful info in it. Between us Tawra and I have moved 16 times in the past 18 years and I had moved about 20 times in the first 20 years of my life on top of that. We have literally moved from one end of the country to the other. From big cities or a town of 400 people and to the country. I just say this because we have really gotten to be experts at this and have tried to put all we learned in this book.

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