10 Home Staging Takeaways from our House Hunting Trips!

March 29, 2021

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Back in February, we spent 2 separate weekends house hunting in Raleigh and it was such an eye-opening experience. Not only were we discovering an area for the very first time and, with that, admiring a new kind of architecture and landscape, but peeking into dozens of homes gave us so many ideas of what we want to do when it comes to staging our home for sale, and some turn offs.

We had an entire evening in Raleigh before actually seeing some homes the next day and we took that opportunity to drive around and check out the location of the homes on our list–you can only see so much on Google Street view!

This is where curb appeal really comes into play. It’s like the pre-first impression. The driveby! I was enamored with the homes that had great landscape lighting, or at very least, the lights on in the house so it looked so glowy and the front porch lit up. Something I took note of–when you’re trying to sell your house, make sure the lights are on and your exterior presents well!

We listened to road noise, we walked around neighborhoods to see how active it was. We mapped how close grocery stores, restaurants, schools, trails, doctors, hospitals, and other activities and necessities were. We did this all before even looking inside the home! Of course, a lot of these things a home owner doesn’t have control over, but we went in so many homes that had a flyer that listed the distance (in miles or minutes, sometimes both!) to amenities and was such a nice thing to see and be aware of.

I think everyone has a different opinion about what makes a home attractive to buyers (we put up a question box on Instagram and the answers were all over the board–we’ll share some some responses on Instagram!), but for me, there were definitely a list of things that I noticed that made a positive impression. I made notes to pass on to you, but also to implement when we have our own showings.

Before we get to the list, I hope it goes without saying–cleanliness is the bare minimum when it comes to prepping for a house showing. Clean, dust, polish every inch of your home! Even hire a cleaning crew if you need extra hands making sure baseboards and windowsills and floors and faucets and sinks are all clean (we might, to be honest!) Dust the surfaces and shelves, for sure, but also ceiling fans and trim work and the top of lighting and art.

Besides cleanliness, these are the ten other things in homes that really stood out to me:


  1. Curb appeal: I talked about this above, but curb appeal is almost the pre-first impression. Trimmed landscaping, fresh mulch, no chipping paint on the front door or trim. A swept walkway and porch. The front porch light on (and cleaned!) all go so far!
  2. Turn on every light and lamp!: Inside, make sure every light and lamp is on! It creates a really cozy and bright ambiance that just sucks you in and makes you feel at home. It also eliminates the frustration and confusion of trying to find a switch. I saw several houses where there was a note asking not to turn off any lights because there were multiple showings that day–smart! There was one house where they had the lights on but the bulb colors in the living room were really cool (like a 5000K) and they had it mixed with warmer bulbs (like a 2500K) in the same room. It was really difficult to see the room for what it was! I made a note to make sure the bulbs in the house all work and are matching in color–I like 2800-3000 Kelvin, personally.
  3. Music playing: I honestly had never thought to have music playing, but it was playing in two of the homes we looked at and woooowwww, what an impression that left! One house we looked at was absolutely an entertaining house and they had a samba-like party music playing and, honestly, it fit the mood of the pool and outdoor entertaining space a game room with pool table. And there was another house that just had calm instrumental music playing and it was a terrific addition. I don’t think it’s necessary, but bonus points for sure!
  4. Clear countertops: I’ll say this–I probably didn’t really notice when the countertops were clear, but I noticed when they were cluttered. You know? When there was clutter on the countertops (or even the side of the fridge!), you start thinking there’s not enough storage here. Cleared surfaces are a mental game. They give the impression of an organized, cleaned, maintained home.
  5. Open the blinds! I actually went in a lot of homes and opened the blinds to see how much natural light the room got (natural light was at the top of our wish list). We weren’t there during a particularly hot time, so I wasn’t sure why the blinds were closed but it really made a difference in my mind. So my recommendation, open the blinds, curtains–whatever! Let as much natural light in as possible and this step might include making sure your windows are clean!
  6. Smell makes a strong impression: A lot of our audience mentioned they preferred a neutral, clean smell over a strong overpowering scent. But no matter what, the smell of pets, mold, smoke, sewage, stale air are NOT a good look. Cleaning and deodorizing will help neutralize smells. If you want something more, candles aren’t exactly safe during showings, but you could try a home fragrance like Pura.(I like it because you can choose your scents!)
  7. Leave notes detailing special features that might not be seen: I was so impressed with this detail that I saw in multiple homes. They varied from typed and taped to hand written post-its and I read every one! One house talked about the mosquito perimeter repellant that was installed, one talked about the fiber internet or heated floors or a new major appliance or even a gas fireplace! It’s a great way to communicate some of the best features in the home without being there.
  8. Declutter and Organize your Closets!: I didn’t even do it consciously, but I opened every closet in every room. I wanted to check out the closet sizes and storage available more than anything, but you are naturally going to see what’s in the closet at the same time, so make sure it’s neat, purged and tidy. (I’ll say I didn’t open any kitchen or bathroom cabinets).
  9. Remove Large Family photos that are a focal point: To be honest, I’m someone that likes seeing family life represented in a home because I have a family and it makes it easier for me to imagine us, as a family, there. But family photos on a sofa table or hung in the hallway are different than a huge portrait hung over the fireplace, imo. The huge portraits can at times feel like we’re intruding on someone else’s house and they. are. watching! It’s uncomfortable!
  10. Touch up paint!: Scuffed, peeling or chipped paint is a part of life, but it’s also one of the easiest things to fix. Fresh, crisp paint makes such a positive impression.


Overall, it was such a positive and motivating experience to see so many other homes before we listed our own. People were so thoughtful! I love the houses that provided booties if they requested no shoes. (We saw this and hand sanitizer in a lot of homes)!

Would love to hear in the comments things that you would add to the list!!


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What do you think?

  1. Donna says:

    I had practically the same list for my home with one added plus…I set up my IPad on the kitchen counter with a slideshow of seasonal outdoor photos. Since my yard had extensive landscaping and a pool with multiple features (fountain, LED multi-color lighting, etc), it helped show the yard in bloom year round and highlight the pool when some of the features weren’t turned on. I also put out small, cold bottles of water and chocolate chip cookies! Wishing you luck and happiness in NC, my ❤️home!

  2. Erin Bassett says:

    We kept every owners manual for our appliances & HVAC, etc. in a binder. We left it out when we had showings so people could see what we bought, when, & appliance maintenance records. We leave it with the keys when we move.

  3. Jessica Anderson-Jameson says:

    Clean rugs!!! Nothing worse than a dirty entry rug or bathroom rug. And PUT DOWN THE TOILET SEAT please.

  4. LESLIE says:

    Call an Accredited DESIGNER with Degree!!!!

  5. Margaret E Brady says:

    I think fresh flowers and plants add a nice organic touch to the home. A bowl of fruit in the kitchen is good, too.

  6. Cici Haus says:

    I keep a “home maintenance report card” for myself, but then I also leave it out for showing so the buyers know it’s been well maintained. I also create a well-designed packet with all the major improvements, paint colors (+ sheens and brand!), service providers we’ve used, any warranty info (just that it exists, not the details until they buy!) and any special features they may not see. The realtor who sold my last house loved it so much that he hired me to do his marketing!

  7. Colleen says:

    When you showed the videos from your walk through I loved that they had the fireplace going. I think that would be so inviting in the fall/winter. It’s one of the questions we always ask when we see a place – I wonder if the fireplace actually works.

  8. Kim Gheesling says:

    I live in South Carolina, and before that we lived in Georgia, and was told to NOT have any sort of scent inside the house at all! The reason being is that a perspective buyer would think that the homeowner is trying to conceal an odor within their home, and it is best for allergic reasons to have it completely negated from an experience with a walk through.

    • Jen says:

      I was going to say the same thing! Whenever we went into a home w a scent I always was uncomfortable that it was covering up something I’d hate/be allergic to (like smoke or pets).

    • M-A Russell says:

      I agree about the scent. Many people (including myself) are scent sensitive. Headaches and nausea, sometimes migraines, can ruin a visit for me.

    • Julia says:

      Yes!! My thought exactly. It should be clean and it’s nice if the house has been aired out. But no added scents.

  9. Shellry says:

    I’m a home stager and agree with all of your tips! I would add; no decor or anything else on top of kitchen cabinets. Tuck all trash cans away in cupboards or garage for showings and professional photos( including bath and bedrooms) Pack up half of your bookshelves and nick knacks- negative space is a good thing! No personal affects on bathroom counters, ie toothbrush, contact cases etc. If you leave any personal photos out, limit to small framed ones and only black and whites- these can serve as art. A color spot by the front door is always a good idea! If you have over-sized furniture, it’s usually best to remove at least one piece. That is the most common issue I see in peoples homes; their furniture is too large for their spaces.

  10. RC says:

    Scents are a turn off for me. I think scents are pretty individual and I can’t handle almost any scent in any product, even most essential oils are too strong for me. I would suggest that if there is music you should leave people clear instructions to turn it off. Some people (like me) need silence to absorb a space. Love all of the other tips.

  11. Katie says:

    I see the idea of using a fresh scent all the time in staging tips. I’m allergic to fragrances, very common ones; cinnamon, lavender, chamomile and citronella to name a few.
    If I walked in to a house with some of these fragrances (either in fresh flowers, candles or air spray) I might be able to tolerate it for a few minutes but more than likely would need to leave. So I wouldn’t see the entire house.
    In my opinion you really can’t cover up smoke or pet odors anyway so better to do thorough cleanings (with fragrance free cleaner) and maybe run an odor machine at night while there are no showings.
    I think baking scents can cause problems with people too. Just something to think about from someone highly allergic to pets and fragrances.
    Good luck in Raleigh. My daughter lives in Charlotte.

  12. Shelley says:

    I work for a broker in Virginia. We highly suggest removing window screens (at least on the front of the home). It really impacts the look of the home and also allows for more natural light to come into the home. Needless to say, cleaning the windows goes hand-in-hand with this tip!

    • Sara says:

      Interesting; I’ve never heard this one. As a parent of young kids, this would definitely turn me off! Natural light doesn’t outweigh safety for me or the annoyance of thinking I have to replace window screens.

  13. Karyn says:

    When we were house hunting 30 years ago in San Francisco, staging wasn’t really a thing yet. My husband and I still laugh about the penguin house … penguin paintings, penguin figurines on the mantel, penguins on each stair of the stairway, penguin kitchen towels! Nope. We didn’t buy it!

  14. Eliza says:

    I used to bake slice & bake cookies right before an open house, or boil some apples & cinnamon sticks on the stove for a bit. It makes the house smell so inviting and homey when you walk in! (Bonus: you can set the cookies on a table for people to enjoy if you want.)

  15. Rebecca says:

    Love all these tips! We lived in the Raleigh area twice. The last time we lived there and sold a home, we put fresh camellias from our yard in each room. For a subtle scent, we boiled some of our rosemary, lemon and vanilla while we tidied up for the showings. It was hard to leave that beautiful home!

  16. Rosemary says:

    I would open cabinets in bath and kitchen. I want to feel the quality of the finishes. Are the doors solid or hollow? I’d also say to remove some furniture. Let someone look at a living room and see, gee, I could add a nice reading nook in that empty corner. I replaced linens to be all white, fresh and clean. So my previous fabric choices that might have seen dated would not be a distraction.

  17. yasmara says:

    Beware! Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) are not necessarily logical – the closest school to a house may NOT be the school the address is districted for. Use the WCPSS address lookup tool to validate the school. We also have school choice with magnets and year round schedules.

    • Rosemary says:

      Great point. Real Estate listings can be wrong. Before you commit to a home, if the school is important, I’d verify with Board of Education, no matter where you live.

  18. Carol says:

    We just sold our home (14 offers after 35 individual showings, all way above asking) and these tips are spot on, especially cleaning, natural light, and uncluttering. Not only your counters, but your bookshelves, even if you’re taking them with you. You want to make your home feel as spacious and serene as possible! We packed up most of our books and styled the shelves, and it made a huge difference in the feel of the room.

  19. Great tips! I feel like the game is upped with a high end home like yours too!

  20. Jena says:

    Hi! I agree with most of these but I would say “no thank you” to the music and the scent! The house I ended up buying had both of these things, and it was super distracting. They even turned on the music when I came for a follow up walk-through after the inspection and we were under contract. I felt like I couldn’t think clearly with the music playing, and I was having trouble talking through all the things you need to talk through when you are purchasing a home! It was so distracting and we couldn’t figure out where it was coming from to turn it down.

    And the scent thing is good in moderation – maybe I am just sensitive, but I felt like the scent was overwhelming. Most of it went away before I moved in due to removing the popcorn ceiling and a fresh coat of paint on everything. But 2 years later, I every once in a while get a whiff of that smell between the storm door and the front door (it was powerful!) and it takes me right back to that period when I was house shopping!

    I would second the cleaning the windows and opening all of the blinds. Love houses that are bright

  21. Cassie says:

    When we purchased our current home, the homeowners had a handout on the table that gave the average cost of utilities over the last year of the house, which was SO helpful to see what those monthly costs were like to imagine yourself living there. Just a little touch that really stood out!

  22. Meredith says:

    I’m scent sensitive and I would beg folks NOT to use fragrance in “public” settings like homes for sale and small businesses. To me, when folks use fragrance, it’s like they’re choosing a “nice have” over my health.

    Certain fragrances can give me multi-day migraine attacks that impact my vision, cause severe nausea and basically leave me unable to do anything besides curl up in a ball in a dark room. As I’ve learned the hard way, it has very little to do with whether something smells “nice” and a lot more to do with the chemical make-up of the scent. The chemical make up bit is really tricky to nail down too. It’s not as simple as “avoid rose scent” or “essential oils only”, so I really have to avoid anything with any kind of fragrance.

    Some ways to deal with scent that will be more friendly to scent-sensitive folks:
    – if you’re putting out hand sanitizer or soap, opt for fragrance free
    – thoroughly clean using fragrance free cleaning products (but run vents and leave time for any chemicals to dissipate before a showing)
    – air out the house before showings
    – run an air purifier with a carbon filter before showings (hide during the actual showing)
    – use charcoal bags to soak up bad scented things
    – hide/remove smelly things during showings (take the cat box with you)
    – fix any leaks/moldy/mildewy spots in your house.
    – if you are really stuck on the idea of adding a scent, opt for edible things (like baking cookies before or simmering spiced cider in crock pot) over lighting candles, using air fresheners or essential oil diffusers.

    • Nawana says:

      Meredith, I couldn’t agree with you more!! I too am quite scent sensitive and it’s sometimes quite strange to me what others consider a ‘nice’ scent. What one person finds inviting and lovely to others is incredibly cloying and headache inducing. Please lay off the scents!

    • Melanie says:

      When we were house hunting a few years ago, I walked out of one house after only seeing the entryway because the overpowering scent of whatever air freshener or candle they used immediately made me nauseated. Totally agree with this! Smelling like nothing is the most appealing :)

    • Chelsey says:

      Yes! We baked chocolate chip cookies right before we sold our condo, that paired with fresh flowers and a clean house got it sold right away :)

    • Steph says:

      Yes, agree. I break out in hives when I’m in contact with some scents and because I’m not used to using scents in my life I find most overpowering and eye-watering. Completely avoidable allergic reactions shouldn’t be part of the house hunting experience, ideally :)

    • Maggie S says:

      As a home stager I tell my clients…NO SCENTS!! Not only because people are sensitive to the chemicals -but it make people question if there are other odors you are covering up (pet urine is a big one).
      The “smell of clean” (i.e. no odor ) is the best thing when selling your home

  23. Kalani says:

    Curb appeal is critical. When I was house hunting, my husband and daughter were still in another state. My husband came out on a couple of weekends to look at houses that I had already driven by and looked at online. Every night After work I would drive by houses that were for sale. If the curb appeal was bad I would not even schedule an appt to see the house. Later I read that it’s not just me that did this. Many people drive by day and night to get a feel for the neighborhood or how safe the neighborhood feels, etc. The outside of the house needs the lights on, yard clean and to be show-ready 24/7. “Showings” happen every time someone drives by, not just when a realtor schedules a walk-through.

    • Colleen says:

      We did evening drivebys when moving to Texas – street parking is big here, and our realtor mentioned we should figure out our comfort level. I realized that if I’m in a suburban area, I don’t enjoy cars parked on both sides of the road. It’s tricky to navigate! I also like nightly drivebys to see how many people are out and about. We ultimately bought a house on a trail that tons of people and families were walking on in the evening.

  24. Karly says:

    We just sold our home two months ago and everyone from our realtor to the people who offered on it to just random commenters on the listing all said the same thing…..what a clean house! Clean your house thoroughly and declutter. It lets buyers know that you care for your home, meaning it’s in good shape. A dirty house means you aren’t taking care of it, imo.

  25. Chelsey L. says:

    I’ve never heard of Pura, but now I’m intrigued. Do you have a favorite go-to scent from them?

  26. patricia says:

    We sold our house four years ago for $130,000 over asking. Granted, asking price was set low to stir up bidding wars, but still that shocked the heck out of us.
    The house was empty. We’d moved out. Had the house interior painted by a pro. House cleaners (but I still had to go back and clean the hardwood floors). Yard had been weeded and planters refilled with spring flowers. It showed well from the street (heck, that’s why WE bought the house 32 years earlier). Very light staging, shower curtains and towels and flower arrangements in bathrooms. A few cute toys in the playroom/ bedroom. A bowl of apples in the kitchen. Everything swept and tidy out back. Fountain bubbling.
    This was in February, not exactly what I’d pictured as the ideal time to go on the market. Except there wasn’t much else out there. It was like throwing chum into a shark feeding frenzy.
    Good luck. Your home is beautiful. I hope you get everything you deserve for your dream house.

  27. Jen says:

    I live in Los Angeles and in higher end homes I have seen that they clear out the master bedroom closet for the showings so you don’t need to see someone’ s clothes but instead see a closet system with lots of storage and potential. Not sure if this is something that people do here or in other parts of the country too.

  28. kim says:

    PLEASE put toilet lids down. This goes for photos too!

  29. Sarah says:

    Interestingly enough, we bought our house almost two years ago after it sat for 9+ months in a very hot housing market. Looking at your list, there are a lot of things they just didn’t do that help explain why the house didn’t sell sooner. Ultimately I’m grateful, because it meant we did get the house, but I can absolutely see how the seemingly little things make a big difference!

  30. Barbara Miller says:

    These are great suggestions!
    Here’s one more…trash cans emptied in kitchen and bathrooms .

  31. Kaye says:

    Also, it’s wise to remove family portraits to avoid bias. Research has shown that houses being sold by Black families are often appraised at lower prices than White families’ homes. Potential buyers may also have unconscious racial bias and removing photos makes that a non-issue.

  32. JL says:

    One thing I think is often overlooked when staging a bedroom is that the bedding should be less personal, simplified and styled to appeal to a broad audience with neutral colors, new bed pillows and fresh white sheets. Similar to what you’d find in an upscale hotel.

    Nice touches include fresh flowers and bowls of fruit or veggies (apples, lemons, artichokes) in the kitchen. Keep in mind if the fridge will be included in the sale, make sure it is cleaned, organized and decluttered, with meals tucked away in nice Tupperware. In the bath, new towels and beautifully scented soaps (bars or liquid) on the counter. I would also go with one scent (or the same notes) throughout the house.

  33. Mel says:

    We sold our last house (almost 2 years ago) in 4 hours. When my realtor walked through our house a few months in advance he goes leave it as is (deep clean, freshen, *slightly* declutter) but leave family photos of touches of *you* (he said most people strip their house down way too far – if you’re stuff isn’t “cute”…do it, but otherwise it looks impersonal). My countertops weren’t 100% cleaned off but 90% – In the kitchen I had a cute cutting board with a chemex coffee carafe, a vase of flowers etc. In the bathroom, fancy soap (people go to the bathroom during showings!) and again, flowers. I went to Trader joe’s and spent probably $40 on eucalyptus and flowers and had them everywhere.

  34. Patty says:

    An album/binder with photos of home’s exterior and yard in various seasons is always appreciated, particularly if potential buyers are not from the area.

    • Rosemary says:

      This is a great tip. We’d put in all new landscaping a few years earlier and we were selling in the fall. To be able to see the cherry tree and spring flowers blooming was a great selling point. I also think it looked beautiful covered with snow too.

  35. Danielle - @bergsbungalow says:

    Love the list is savable! Scent can be so challenging since people can be sensitive, but clean and not smelling like food or pets is impt!!!

  36. Karen Baruth says:

    And please, please leave the premises! Have you had anyone stick around? It’s SO uncomfortable. I just want to get out as soon as possible.

    • Cheryl says:


    • Carla says:

      YES! Several years ago the house behind us was on short sale so we thought we’d take a look since it was about 400 square feet larger than ours and priced well below market value. As we were getting ready to leave our house to go to the showing, my husband noticed the owner was chilling in her backyard in a lounge chair. We called the agent and asked if the house would be empty, and she said the owner would be present but in the backyard. Fortunately, she ended up leaving before we arrived but as we were walking home we noticed she was parked in her car just down the street. That was awkward!

    • Katy says:

      YESSSS. Two different homes, half the family was just chilling and watching tv. You can’t talk to your realtor and say how you really feel about anything in the house when the people are still there!

      I will say we ended up purchasing a home where the owners (adult) children were there and it worked out well because they weren’t emotionally attached but also able to give us good info and they wanted us to have the home after meeting us, which was great in a hot market….but that is DEFINITELY the exception and not the rule!

    • Britt says:

      We looked at a lot of foreclosures and short sales, essentially very undervalued homes, when we bought our first home. One of the houses we looked at made our realtor’s top 5 worst houses.

      The exterior was horribly kept, with literal trash on the porch. Inside was a borderline hoarder home, where walking paths were created between piles of stuff. But to top it off the homeowner was there during showing, still in her nightgown, smoking a cigarette in the living room, while watching tv.

      We practically ran through each room of the house, and the lady asked “You’re already done?” Uh yeah. We are.

    • Lisa says:

      When we bought our current house, the 90+ year-old owner had to get out of bed to let us in for the showing. He hadn’t gotten the message we were coming. We toured while he went back to bed. We had to tiptoe around to peek into his room. It was so awkward. But it also explained why the house had been on the market for 5 months.

    • Jen says:

      I had to demand my sellers leave the property on closing day before I would agree to close so I could see it at least ONE TIME without any of the sellers following us around. I was ready to walk away from the purchase if they didn’t get out and leave my realtor and I to see it in peace. They even followed the inspectors. I love the house but the purchase process was not easy because of their odd behavior.

  37. Victoria says:

    My partner and I went house-hunting over the weekend. I thought, going into it, that I wasn’t afraid of a fixer upper. I can put a shine on any space. But homes with a weird smell, traffic noise (even from roads we couldn’t see!), and unfinished spaces were a big turnoff. The house that we put an offer on (over asking) had been moved out of completely. Every room was freshly painted the same warm gray with white trim. The floors looked like they had been redone. The deck had been repainted. I could TELL how much work the homeowners had put into selling their house — and was so grateful they decided to sell it to us!

    • Jessica says:

      Good to hear. We’ll be moving out of our house prior to selling it, so some of the “homey” touches won’t be possible since all our stuff is coming with us. Hopefully we can make up for that with touched up paint and cleanliness!

    • Jen says:

      Pay a reputable company and get an inspection. I looked at so many houses and paid for 4 inspections before I found my home. 3 were renovated and looked great on the surface but inspection turned up shoddy renovations that would have cost me a fortune to correct, and sellers that didn’t want to see the inspection report so they could continue to pretend ignorance to the problems and sell as is to someone else. I bought a home that needed a little work but I knew what it needed because of the inspection and was able to make a good deal based on that. It’s worth the cost of an inspection EVERY TIME. Even new builds can have issues.

  38. Paige says:

    When I worked at Anthropologie in college, I learned how important sensory experiences are to the buying process. It’s crazy, but it’s really true! Anthro always has candles burning, music playing, natural light, etc to engage the senses and make it easier for the customer to buy.

    • Heather says:

      No wonder I’ve always wanted to move into an Anthro store. For real – so warm and inviting and beautiful. Give me all the Capri Blue candles and beautiful home goods!

    • mimi says:

      This is why I can’t shop at Anthropologie or Whole Foods the scent that strikes me as I enter is too much & I have to turn around & exit. I try to come back every year but again, I can’t walk all the way in & shop. Headache inducing scents are not fun. Most of the time, we showed our homes empty. I’d leave a binder behind with a map of front yard & back yard & label the plants & include pictures of flowering trees & plants. I’d leave a map of the sprinkler system & what numbers controlled what areas in the yards. I leave behind the business cards of our plumber, electrician, & directions for the water softener & other may be “new” to them to use appliances. The previous owner did not do this for me, but I’m so glad my neighbor stopped me from digging up my peony bush as I hadn’t seen it bloom yet in the 4 months being there and didn’t know what it was because I came from a different climate previously.

  39. Michelle says:

    Hi Julia! I’m a realtor here in Indiana, your tips are spot on, couldn’t have said it better myself!

  40. Amanda says:

    We moved to Raleigh two years ago and the house we bought had an urn displayed in the entryway- maybe a factor into why it sat on the market for months.

  41. Michelle says:

    Hi Julia! I’m a realtor here in Indiana and your list is spot on, couldn’t have said it better myself :)

  42. Ellen Wilson says:

    Thank for the great article, my husband and I a realtor and we always go through this staging process with our sellers . One addition I also find important especially for men is the garage space .
    We know we get the seller to de clutter but throwing everything into the garage is not the answer unless it done neatly. Space there is important. Getting to vital thing like electrical box, hot water tank or A/C (we are in Florida) is very important to buyers too. I loved the part of you article when you wrote distance to places great addition to selling a home .

    • Rosemary says:

      Agreed, especially in FL where space is a premium. No harm in packing up extras in every room and renting a storage unit for a month or 6 weeks. Make it look spacious.

  43. Celeste says:

    Great article and pointers. Thank you.

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We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

HI! We're Chris + Julia

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What We're                     Right Now

What We're                 Right Now

Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop. 


looking for inspiration? 

A reader recently asked me if I’m starting to fully embrace traditional style and whether we still consider our house to be a “modern Colonial” and why. It was a really great question and so timely — I had really just been thinking about my approach to this home and how my style has changed […]

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Welcome to our online community where we've posted home, DIY, style, renovations, and family since '09. Renovating our #cljmoderncottage in Idaho and headed for new adventures in Raleigh, NC. #cljfam #cljtransformations