Yesterday I borrowed a Canon 5D with a wide-angle lens (and briefly considered faking my own death so I’d never have to give it back) and took the MLS photos for our house. It was a sweaty and near-impossible task, trying to keep surfaces clean and child-free for long enough to snap the photo, and I am officially in a state of anticipatory despair over the idea of keeping the house in show-ready condition with two small kids in the house and a husband who apparently believes all cereal bowls and shoes are continually sucked into another dimension by invisible dimension-sucking fairies and a dog who sheds giant haybales of fur every five minutes and the toys and the dirt and the mess, oh god.

Here’s what the pictures look like:

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(I’m not sure about using this photo. On the one hand, I should show more than one bedroom, right? On the other, it’s nearly impossible to photograph well and is so Kid-Decorated which might be a turnoff.)

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If you have any thoughts on house staging, I’d love to hear them. I’ve de-cluttered the closets and cleaned our windows and we’re about to touch up some trim and remove 90% of our family photos, what else should I be thinking of? Oh and also, hey, just how the shit am I going to manage this whole thing without losing my mind?

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Vanessa
Vanessa
12 years ago

I have the same cedar ceiling and it made me fall in love with my little house when I first saw it three years ago. And it’s one of the first things people comment on when they walk in the door. Don’t paint it!

Your place looks fabulous in the photos. Fingers crossed for you that works out the way you hope!

Erin
Erin
12 years ago

I love your house– we’re looking to relocate (alas, not to the Northwest…) and I’ve been doing a LOT of research on buying and what to do to sell. My $0.02…

For the photos, remove all small area rugs. The rugs in the garage/man land, the tan one by your bed and the colorful ones in the bathroom break up the lines of the floor and cut up the surface area visually. Also, your bedroom looks like an afterthought in what is a beautiful house- as if “this is our house, and this is the place we collapse into at night…”. I’d keep that white duvet, but pull it down at the foot of the bed to cover the mattress/boxsprings. Buy a cheapo woven throw and fold it lengthwise over the bottom of the bed, put 4 huge white pillows propped up, and 2 or 3 solid accent pillows with the color of the throw at the head of the bed. Also, could you change the angle of that photo so you are looking down on the bedroom- like you did in the bathroom?

Other posters have mentioned your patio– I say power washer. I rented a 3000 psi one last month for $40 for 24 hours. I powerwashed crap for 6.5 straight hours– my concrete looks brand new, my siding looks sparkling, and my deck was prepped for staining. I even powerwashed the freaking mailbox.

Only thing for showings- set the table like you’re expecting the prospective buyers to join you for supper. If people want to entertain in that amazing room, that’ll do the trick!

Awesome house, though. I love it all, and think you guys did an amazing job with the placements and scope of the renovations. Good luck!

Jennifer
12 years ago

No advice on the staging. I think your place looks great and will appeal to buyers.

My only house selling advice is to be honest with yourself about market conditions and what your house will realistically sell for. Pricing makes a huge difference. We sold our house in Des Moines in early 2009 just after the bottom fell out of the market in just three days at our asking price with multiple offers. The comparables were about 260K and we priced it at 249K to be more competitive and sell quickly. Being the crazy people we are, we had already purchased our new house and were making 2 mortgages. Our next door neighbors there put their house on the market in January of this year for the same price with one less bathroom, one less bedroom and no garage/workshop. It has not sold, they have dropped the price to 215K and still the best offer has been 185K. Now rather than being competitive potential buyers wonder why it has been on the market so long.

Good luck!!!

Marie Green
12 years ago

I think I’m only the gazillionth person to say this, but if I saw photos of that house during an online house-searching session, I’d fall in love. AND it’s not even “my style” as I tend to fall for 100+ year old, 2 story homes. So, well done. It looks awesome: warm, inviting, clean, tasteful.

I also disagree with painting over the red. Not that you were going to. But I think that older people (and old realtors) like 6 tones of beige, but OUR generation(like, anyone under age 55) wants some color. Those are sweeping generalizations, yes.

velocibadgergirl
12 years ago

This is probably not helpful since I am not buying a house in your market (or at all), but I LOVE your place. It is gorgeous, and ohmyhell I want your bathroom, right now.

kami
kami
12 years ago

I love your home, you have done a wonderful job with it. It will sell and fast, trust me. Really would be worth your while to purchase a scentsy burner (instead of all the baking suggestions) great scents for it would be sugar cookie, african mahogany…oh the list goes on it’s addicting! No I do not sell scentsy I just LOVE it though!
Good luck! :)

ElizabethZ
ElizabethZ
12 years ago

I normally read all the comments, but short on time. Just wanted to say, the house looks fabulous and I wish you every bit of luck possible selling it quickly, close to your price.

And Riley’s room looks great, believe me, in this market, you want to make an emotional connection with whoever might be interested. That is what will sell your house. Don’t underestimate people, they can see beyond the kid’s stuff, to the nicely painted walls, and can imagine the space for whatever they might want it for.

And the fact, the real humans owned and loved the house, that can just help seal the deal right?

I saw your post about the ceiling. I will tell the zombies to stand down now.

ElizabethZ
ElizabethZ
12 years ago

that, not the – hate typos. :(

Kristi
12 years ago

Fan-fucking-tastic photos!

You’ll lose your shit for a while, but don’t worry – you’ll get it back! :-D

Baking Mad Mama
12 years ago

I read this post at 11pm last night, then I went to bed and dreamed I lived in your house. It’s absolutely gorgeous – I LOVE the ceiling. And the tidiness puts my place to shame.

Ha ha at the cereal bowl thing – mine does the same. WHY, when the dishwasher is RIGHT THERE?

Antropologa
12 years ago

Looks great.

We had two cats, two dogs, and a preschooler so we just went ahead and MOVED OUT before we put the house on the market. Much easier to keep clean that way. :)

deanna
deanna
12 years ago

The only things that popped out at me – they are not dealbreakers only staging issues, though, were:
1. In Riley’s room’s photo my eyes went straight to that pirate skull thing and I spent more time wondering/trying to figure out what it was (because I like kid toys) that actually looking at the room.
2. The picture above the tub looks like filler.
3. Doghair: Do you have a Furminator? If not, get one! (ebay is cheaper than petstore). They really really work super well – I can not tell you how fab they are! You will have enough hair to frankenstein a clone dog!

kylydia
12 years ago

The pictures all look great. I’d leave the bedroom picture but consider removing the backyard picture taken away from the house. The first thing I thought was, “Oh, so all the water runs directly downhill to the house.”

Farrell
Farrell
12 years ago

Your house is beautiful but I don’t think you ever said why you are selling?

Jessie
Jessie
12 years ago

My but you’ve gotten a lot of contrasting opinions about smells. I’d have to agree with the commenter that said that a BAD smell would be far more memorable than a (subjectively) GOOD smell.

Your house is stunning – good luck!

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Your house looks fantastic and makes me want to move to Seattle (except for the soul-sucking traffic you often refer to). My only suggestion is to change the orientation of your bed in the master bedroom and/or the perspective of the picture. The bed looks smushed up in the corner. Even though you have a nightstand/lamp on the side against the wall, that side of the bed doesn’t look very accessible and it looks like you’d have to shimmy against the wall to get into bed. I would see if you can move it and make the room look more open, maybe move/remove the dresser and place the head of the bed underneath the windows (if it fits). Just a suggestion… Also agree with the removal of the small/mismatched area rugs. Visually clutters the room and obscures the great floors.

Best of luck! I’m totally jealous of your home (and life and general)!

Ann
Ann
12 years ago

If I am looking at a house that is deodorized, I wonder what odor the seller is trying to “cover up”.

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

Your house is beautiful and the photos are wonderful. I peruse MLS often (you know, dreaming of that day when I can finally stop renting…) and it always amazes me how crappy some of the photos are lol. These are beautiful and show your home wonderfully. I would buy it in a second… if I didn’t live in another country :) Good luck, I know someone will fall in love with your home, how could they not?

Anonymous
Anonymous
12 years ago

Great pictures! Your home is beautiful. I heard this tid-bit on some HGTV show the other day… take down family photos (which you said you’re going to do) and put cool shots of your house/property in the frames instead. I thought that was a cool idea. But the pictures look great and I wish I could buy your house!

Jennifer
Jennifer
12 years ago

OK, I think people go overboard on staging a house. (Too much HGTV?) A painting on a wall or a small rug by a bed: a serious buyer would be noting the floor plan and house inspection, not pillows on your bed or laptops on a table.

Melanie
12 years ago

I got nothing, except that your house is freaking gorgeous and I would buy it in a second if I could a) afford it and b) move to wherever the hell it is you live. I think it looks really good, actually, but I’m not a stager by any means, just an amateur HGTV watcher.

Laura
12 years ago

What great pictures!!

The “kid” room is not nearly as bad as it could be. I think it’s a fine picture (kind of love the pirate flag!). I CANNOT believe how clean your garage is! And you kitchen looks wonderful.

kristin
kristin
12 years ago

Why the CRAP would you sell this house? It’s gorgeous!

Cara
Cara
12 years ago

I wouldn’t worry about Riley’s room being too kid decorated at all. You’ve got a nice, neutral color on the walls.

As a formal Realtor, I agree with some of the PP’s who’ve said that open houses are for the realtor to get clients, not for you. Mostly, it’s nosey neighbors that show up to get a peek inside your house.

The photos are great and if you can make sure they’re posted everywhere (especially Realtor.com), that will help. You’ve done a beautiful job on all your remodeling and I would kill to have your house.

Lisa
Lisa
12 years ago

I sold our home is Southern Calif. one year ago (it was a short-sale situation)…I also have a 1 year old and a 3 year old and I was completely stressed out about having to show the house with the kid clutter and everything that goes along with having small children and schedules and strangers traipsing through my home on very short notice. I’m here to say it wasn’t that bad. We definitely de-cluttered as much as possible (we knew we were moving one way or another, so we started packing and stacking boxes in the garage) I kept all of the favorite toys easily available in one toy box and in bins in the kids’ rooms. It’s amazing what you can live without when you have to. Once it’s packed away, it’s basically forgotten. If you know for a fact you’re going to move in the near future – start packing. It feels like good energy spent on the positive thought that “YES! We’re really doing this!”

BB
BB
12 years ago

Your photos came out great, really nice job. The photo of the back yard showing the close up of your outdoor dining area gives the appearance of some standing water along the retaining wall in the background. This may be only a shadow but I can tell you that even the appearance of drainage issues can be a major red flag to people. Might want to think about re shooting that one in different light if that is only a shadow, or if it is standing water, leaving that photo out or cropping that part out. Good luck, I hope your place sells quickly!

Marci
Marci
12 years ago

I’ll just add, when we put our house on the market, we bought an ottoman with storage inside, so we could stuff his toys inside it in a hurry if we got a showing. Also, I bought some of those Lysol wipes to quickly clean the bathrooms and kitchen, even though I don’t use them normally.

Your house is lovely!

Carrie (in MN)
Carrie (in MN)
12 years ago

I want to second the suggestion made earlier to get a storage unit if you can. It gave me great peace of mind to know I didn’t have to hide/discard things just to declutter my house. Boxes of extra clothes/toys and small pieces of furniture went in there. Good luck – your house is gorgeous and the pics look great!

Dominique
Dominique
12 years ago

For what it’s worth if I had the money and lived in your area I would so buy your home right now! I’ve loved it since I started reading your blog.

Jenn
Jenn
12 years ago

your house is my dream house right now… too bad I live a kajillion miles away.

Shawna
Shawna
12 years ago

I’ve bought and sold a few houses and FWIW, here are my two (or more) cents:

I’ve heard that people decide if they want to buy a house in the first 30 seconds of walking through the door. The rest of the time is spent justifying their decision.

DO NOT burn scented candles or put out fake potpourri. There are lots of people with allergies and even those without often have aversions to strong fake scents. I would have trouble even staying in a house with this stuff in it long enough to look at all the rooms. Instead, air your house out by opening the windows for as long as you can before showings (weather permitting of course). There is nothing better than fresh air to get rid of family and pet smells without looking like you’re covering stuff up. And like others have suggested, natural smells from baking cookies or bread in the morning is great, but the cheats are to warm a squirt of real vanilla up, then hide the evidence. You can also get pre-made cookie dough or rolls that are frozen but oven-ready and just pop a few of those suckers in the oven instead of bread from scratch. (Who would possibly have time for that with 2 kids in the house?)

The pic of the office shows me the desk, but not the room. If you can manage 3 corners of the room in one shot it gives a better idea of size. Same with the shot of the carpeted room with the lighter couch, though it does show the window trim nicely. Other than that I think the pics are absolutely fantastic!

I cannot believe you think Riley’s room looks too kid-like when I’ve seen so many pics of kids rooms with the walls covered in decals and wallpaper borders. The pirate flag is the only real giveaway. And that shot shows the lovely sloped ceiling. I’d keep it for sure.

Don’t forget, you’re selling a home, yes, but also a lifestyle. It sounds like you live in a place where lots of people looking to buy will have kids. Your pics showcase a house with rooms for those kids (plus the “spa” and a “manly” workshop space as retreats from the kids to boot!), as well as good outdoor spaces. Actually, I might not use the one taken from the far corner of the yard towards your picnic table: it makes that corner of the yard look very sloped, so less suitable for playing in. The one with your table in the foreground already shows the same space and I think it looks more flattering.

Yes, start packing now. It declutters, shows you’re ready to move on and disengage from this house, and puts positive karma out there.

K
K
12 years ago

Hi. I don’t usually read your blog, but I am a fan of your Bodies site. I decided I probably should read your blog because I admire you a lot. Anyway, all that to say, I came by to say hello and then saw these photos of your gorgeous house. It’s probably nowhere near me and way out of my price range, but it looks amazing and could only dream of a house like that. I also think you should include the “kid” decorated room because it shows that it’s a substantial sized bedroom.

wm
wm
12 years ago

The photos look beautiful. I think the kid bedroom photo would be fine without the skull hanging in the corner.

Therese
Therese
12 years ago

Love your house and you did a great job of staging. My suggestion is to buy some of the renuzit (or whatever brand) gel “odor remover” thingies and hide them in all the closets. When we bought our most recent house we kept coming back to one that had such a clean and fresh smell. It really was that extra touch that put us over the edge. Note, they did NOT use one with a strong flower/fruit smell, but the ones that “neutralized.” It was interesting to see all of these cute, clean, and pretty similiar houses and then walk into one that had that “fresh” scent. I didn’t realize that even a “clean” house can still smell like the people that live there (even if they smell lovely which I’m sure your family does!).

Oh, and why did you take your own pictures? Did you decide to not use a realtor? If you’re using a realtor and still had to do all of the staging and photo taking yourself…NOT cool!

Lisa
Lisa
12 years ago

You do have a lovely house. You are smart and you guys know what to do to sell it–especially with all the great advice you’ve been handed here (a tub in the garage to place dirty dishes, and other crap, is GENIUS).

A small thing I would change about your master bedroom–it looks small (even though it may not be). Would it be possible to get a better picture or store a piece of furniture elsewhere to make it appear a little larger?

I would put bark out like others said and plant some flowers along the fence on the small hill. Something colorful would look great. And, as some have suggested, powerwash the concrete, put pots of flowers there and make the table really inviting (like you want to sip wine and linger out there after the kids are in bed).

My sister did this back in June of ’08 when she sold her house in a day. She put together a binder of info about the house and the neighborhood. She put together a years worth electric bills, gas bills, water bills, etc., updates on the house (new carpet, bath, etc.,)pictures of parks nearby, school info, any good restaurants nearby, and other info she thought other people would need to know. People from other areas will probably look at the house and they may not know about the area, so that info could be really helpful.

Phoebe
Phoebe
12 years ago

You have a great backyard but it might help people imagine hanging out there if you “stage” it a bit more… Add some bright flowers to those little pots you have by the table, maybe some small colorful pillows to the chairs and something on the table- small potted plants or candles/ lanterns. Sorry I don’t have much to add; it looks great and there are a ton of other great comments above!

Liz
Liz
12 years ago

I have no words of advice but I did want to say that I have looked at these pics a few times and am LOVING this house. LOVING. It looks so cheery and homey. Love it.

And am super jealous of the man cave.

Jules
Jules
12 years ago

I didn’t even know it was called “staging”. The stress factor makes me never want to move though. Good luck:)

Robin
Robin
12 years ago

A suggestion – pressure wash your patio! Makes a huge difference. :)

Lindsey Ward
Lindsey Ward
12 years ago

Several have suggested a nice smell such as cookies or bread. We used mulling spices and simmered them on the stove until right before we left. If you can’t find mulling spices right now, throw some cinnamon sticks, a vanilla bean if you have it, and some just a little bit of whole cloves or nutmeg in a small saute pan and simmer it for awhile.

Also, lots of fresh flowers, lights on and drapes/ blinds open.

Andrea
Andrea
12 years ago

I have been reading your site for ages now. But how did I miss the fact that you guys are selling?

I remember the post about the leap of faith, but you guys are going to do it? Move to Oregon?

taerna
taerna
12 years ago

linda, your house is beautiful. i hope it sells lightning fast (if that’s what you want).

we bought a house in january and holy SHIT, the staging those guys did (sellers were a gay couple) is absolutely what sold us. they had music playing throughout the entire house – it was coming through the satellite TV, but all the TVs were off, so i don’t quite know how they did it, but it was awesome. it was 80s music, which was a risky choice, but i love 80s pop, so it was an absolute charmer for me. these dudes also loved dimmers. every frickin’ light fixture in our house is on a dimmer and they totally used lighting to their advantage during showings. (i can attest to the things dim lights can hide based on the grody carpet we now live with. i want to rip it out with my own hands.) they also always had those battery-operated candles going everywhere. it smelled marvelous in the house from either something they had baked or those battery-operated candles were scented. their closets were IMMACULATE and the carpets, though grody, had vacuum lines every single time. they also had very nice color copies of their MLS photos laid out on the kitchen island and a note pad for us to use to take notes. the whole experience felt very comfortable and it honestly helped us make the decision. we were happy to buy from them.

taerna
taerna
12 years ago

forgot to mention that we sold our house last october in 9 days. at that point, my staging tricks were – remove knick-knacky shit (which you don’t really even have – yay for you!), fresh flowers, oust/febreeze every morning, vacuum every morning AND every night (frickin’ DOG), hide the litter box, mulch, plant larger new shrubs, refresh the flower boxes, try to keep up with the dropping leaves.

all fingers crossed for you!

Jen
Jen
12 years ago

I don’t know if anyone else has suggested this because yeah, that’s a lot of comments, but use your son’s room photo if you can photoshop the pirate/skull flag out :). Nothing against skulls but that’s the center of the photo. I giggled – but I’m not a buyer.

Your master bedroom looks limited in space as far as where furniture would be positioned (some of us are nazis about that) so maybe try a different angle or move the bed and dresser to different positions to make it look bigger.

Your house is greatness!

Also – I am in shock that your garage is so organized and clean. I’m showing this to my father, brother and boyfriend to prove it’s possible. Good luck!

Thursday
12 years ago

Please, please, please tell me, where, where, where did you get that stripey bed cover? I love, love, love it.

Kelsey
Kelsey
12 years ago

Looks wonderful to me. A couple things:

Potted plants (color!) on the front and back porch.
Pressure wash the back patio.
Remove the nightstands in your bedroom (they make it look cramped) and center the picture on the left of the bed above the headboard.
Add pictures of Dylan’s room. Makes me suspicious when listings don’t show all of the bedrooms.
Center the couch that’s against the brown wall beneath the windows.
Hang some curtains (wide and high to make the window look bigger) in the office.
Remove the picture above the soaker tub.

Other than that (as a PNW resident) this is a killer house. I think you’ll have great luck selling it.

kakaty
kakaty
12 years ago

I did’t read all the comments but we sold our house about 2 years ago and some of the tricks that helped were – removing furniture, fruit, 100 watt bulbs and laundry baskets.

removing furniture: we moved everything that wasn’t necessary to the basement. End tables, extra chairs at the dining room table (we went from 6 to 4), bookshelves, etc. Makes the rooms looked used/lived in but more spacious.

Fruit – big bowls of bright fruit (think granny smith apples) are cheaper and last longer then flowers as a centerpiece.

100 watt bulbs: put the brightest bulbs you can find in every single light/lamp then turn them on when you leave the house for a showing. Even during the day. Don’t count on your realtor to do this. Even with all the natural light you have you want every single room to be bright and cheery. It’s a bit of an energy suck but your house will show better.

Laundry Baskets: I kept 3 scattered around the house and when the realtor said we had a showing I would do a quick once-through of each room and throw random, out of place items in to a basket. The baskets went in the car along with the dog as we vacated the house.

As for the dog hair, well, we just bucked up and swiffer’d and vacuumed every damn day.

Your house is beautiful – that big green backyard and all the light are great selling points. Do you have a photo of the fireplace for the listing? Detail photos help draw a buyer in.

Donna
Donna
12 years ago

If all else fails, get a St. Joesph statue and bury it upside down in your yard. (They actually sell a kit at catholic stores.) Works like a charm, never known it to fail. Swear. Don’t know why cause I don’t believe in that shit, but it does.

Meggish
Meggish
12 years ago

I’d live there based on the living room photo alone. But I’d certainly go check it out if I were a house-shopper! Which I’m not. Sadly.