Set The Stage for an Autumn Home Sale

Staging for Success – How to Prep Your Home for an Autumn Sale

Cooler temperatures. Warm flannel shirts. The smell of burning leaves. The taste of steaming apple cider. The sound of leaves rustling in the wind.
Autumn provides the perfect opportunity to showcase your home’s welcoming vibes. These tips will tantalize the senses of potential homebuyers:

SIGHT – Part 1

  • Curb appeal is even more important in fall. The bright sun and cheerful landscaping begin to lose their luster as the days get shorter, making homes look meh.

  • Trim annuals that are done for the year and replace them with fresh fall foliage. Colorful mums are always a great option.

  • Sweep the garage, sidewalk, porch and other outdoor areas. Powerwash if needed.

  • Remove spider’s webs, bugs and other yucky things from around doors, windows and the foundation.

  • Rake leaves and burn them (if allowed in your community) or put them in lawn bags that you tuck away in a corner of the back yard.

  • Put away toys or lawn implements that may have been left out.

  • Use discretion with Halloween decorations. Don’t put out grotesque or scary displays. Seasonal themes appeal to wider audiences. Consider hay bales, pumpkins in varying sizes, gourds in a variety of colors, cheerful scarecrows (An oxymoron, I know!) and cute lanterns.

SIGHT – Part 2

  • As visitors head inside, you’ll want them to immediately feel welcomed. In addition to a seasonal floor mat, a tasteful wreath or door decoration is a great place to start.

  • This goes without saying – but I’ll say it anyway – make sure the home is tidy, dusted, vacuumed and mopped.

  • After removing obvious clutter, pack up an additional 10-25% of remaining items. This is especially important for families who have lived in their home for an extended period of time and accumulated a lot of mementos.

  • Bring the outside in. No, not dirt, crushed leaves and bugs. Elements of nature are a universal and relaxing type of décor. If you’re not an artsy person, stop by your local florist or craft shop with photos of several key rooms and ask them to create some suitable autumn arrangements.

  • Some homeowners like to set their dining room table as if guests are ready to arrive for a comforting Thanksgiving dinner. If you take this approach, don’t display expensive or heirloom pieces and be sure everything is sparkling – cloudy or dusty glasses and tarnished silverware work against you.

  • Another option is to set a bowl of beautiful fruit on the table or counter.

  • A grouping of seasonal mugs, box of pumpkin spice tea and festive napkins can also tell a cozy story.


  • Speaking of food, smells of the season should waft around your visitors, enveloping them in the serenity of your home. Fresh cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans and homemade pumpkin spice fill the air with notes of autumn.

  • Simmering apple cider in a crock pot is a nice touch. Add orange slices, cinnamon sticks, a hint of vanilla and a touch of nutmeg to spice it up a bit. (If you’d like to share with visitors and aren’t worried about spills, set out some mugs or hot beverage paper cups.)

  • Baking an apple pie or pumpkin bars ahead of an Open House will infuse your kitchen with memory-inducing scents. (Never leave the oven on when you leave.)

  • If you’d like for your guests to enjoy your baked goods, make it obvious by setting dessert plates (festive paper products are fine), silverware (plastic is okay), a serving utensil and a “Help Yourself” mini chalkboard next to the food. Avoid treats that contain common food allergens.

  • Candle warmers and wax melts are a safe and convenient way to keep your home smelling great! Use these in several rooms, but don’t overpower visitors. It’s okay to use different scents for different levels of the home, but stick to one consistent smell for connecting or nearby rooms.


  • If you have hardwood or tile floors and high ceilings, avoid the stark sound of echoes as potential buyers check out your home. Put down rugs (with non-slip backing) to absorb the awkwardly-intrusive sound of people clunking around.

  • Quiet music is fine if you choose something general and understated.



  • While it may seem as if this sense won’t affect homebuyers, people want to truly feel at home. (How do ya like that pun?) Even if they don’t go around touching your stuff (Ick!), you want to showcase a home filled with layers of touch and texture.

  • Include toss pillows of varying size and texture, as well as cozy throws in snuggly textures. If you live in a warmer climate, use lightweight fabrics that speak to chilly autumn evenings.

  • There’s also a great trend with 3-D and textured artwork that can add another layer to your home’s mood. Choose simple, moderately-priced pieces that don’t scream “pay attention to me” but will instead serve as a subtle part of your home’s personality.

Now that you know how to set the stage for a sense-inspired home, it’s time to get to work … so you can make your move sooner!

- By Lauren Howey, Oct 11, 2017