When you are ready to place your home on the market, you should begin thinking of it as a product. It needs to appeal to the widest audience possible. Just like any product on the shelves at your local store, it has features and benefits, pluses and minuses, and there are other products to compare. To gain an edge over competitors in the marketplace you must be priced right, and look better than other homes. If your home seems like a better deal, buyers will flock.
Staging can take a home from *meh* to *WOW*!
When you sell your home you are going to have to move. When you move you are going to have to pack. Most of the principles of staging just mean that you are going to pack up some of your things early. It shouldn’t cost much, and it is a bit of work, but you are going to have to do it anyway, so let’s do it now so you can get top dollar for your property!
- Most carpets need to be cleaned. Have them professionally cleaned before coming on the market. “Buyers only know what they see…not the way it is going to be!” Unless your home is a “fixer”, badly worn or very out of date carpets should be replaced before coming on the market. Offering a buyer a credit to pick their own new carpet or a discount off the price is far less effective and will always end up costing you more money and slow the selling process. Pick a light-colored short plush or frieze carpet. “Real-estate beige” is the safest color.
- Check all light fixtures. Are they working properly? Replace all burned-out light bulbs.
- Repair and repaint cracks on walls and ceilings.
- Repair or replace broken light switches and switch plates. Clean any dirty areas around them.
- Keep all curtains and blinds open during the day to let in light and views.
- Reduce the number of pillows on couches to zero or two. Remove all afghans and blankets.
- Pack up all valuable items to protect them (jewelry, weapons, collectibles). This includes prescription drugs.
- Take a hard look at those beloved house plants. In most cases, they need to be pruned and/or the number of plants reduced to create more space.
- Pack up all collections (you’re going to need to pack them up sooner or later anyway). They become a distraction for buyers from the desired focal point…your home.
- Reduce the number of books and knickknacks on shelves.
- Be sensitive to odors, because buyers are! You can’t sell it if you can smell it!
- Wash all windows and make sure they operate freely. If the seal is broken on a double-pane window, replace it before market.
- Repair items that are broken. This will show that your home is well-taken care of.
- Dog & cat dishes, pet bedding, and toys should be placed in the garage or pantry.
- Absolutely no smoking inside the house while it’s on the market.
- Clear off all coffee tables and end tables to just 2 or 3 magazines and one nice vase or statuary. Tuck remotes into a drawer.
- Make sure all DVDs and games are out of sight.
- Fireplaces should be cleaned out. Glass doors should be cleaned. Mantles and hearths need to be cleared off except for a very few necessary items.
- Clear off dining room table except for one nice centerpiece.
- Remove tablecloths from the table.
- Remove extra leaves from the table to make the room look bigger.
- Remove extra dining room chairs if they crowd the table or fill up the corners of the room. Four or six chairs are plenty. It will make the room look bigger and you can put the extra chairs in the garage or storage unit.
- Reduce the number of items on display on shelves, hutches, buffets, and cabinets.
- The main question in the kitchen is…what can you live without? Clear off counters leaving only a very few items that you have to use on a daily basis. Everything else should be kept off the counters to create space. Most homes have far too many small appliances and other items that should be stored out of sight. Leave out a few large decorative items like a bowl of fruit or a basket with bread in it.
- Scrub the cabinets clean.
- Repair any tile or Formica countertops and edges that have been damaged or come unglued.
- Clean tile grout with bleach if it is stained.
- Remove all magnets, photos, children’s drawings, etc. from the front of the refrigerator.
- Clean the inside of all appliances.
- Keep all soaps, towels, scouring pads, and cleaning supplies out of sight under the sink.
- Remove kitchen rugs.
- Make the bed every day.
- Clear off bedside tables and chest of drawers except for a very few necessary items.
- Keep closet doors closed. If you have a walk-in closet, keep the floor clean and free of laundry and clutter.
- Pack up out-of-season clothing to make the closets seem extra spacious. This is true for closets throughout the house.
- Make sure the smoke detectors have working batteries.
- In children’s rooms take down all the posters except for one favorite over the bed. Repair nail holes and paint walls.
- Consider repainting if the color is vibrant.
- Put soaps and cleaners in a cupboard or reduce the number and organize them neatly on one shelf or in a bin.
- Make sure that light bulbs and have adequate “bright white” wattage. Many laundry rooms are too dark and need to be brighter.
- Clear off counters. Reduce toiletries down to a decorative few and consolidate them on a tray or decorative basket.
- Scrub those cabinets.
- Coordinate all towels with one or two colors. Fold in thirds and hang neatly every day.
- Clear everything out of the shower except for absolute necessities.
- Clean or replace the shower curtain. Keep shower curtains drawn at all times.
- One common problem in a lot of bathrooms is cracking or peeling just above the top of the shower tile or tub enclosure where it meets the drywall or ceiling. Repair using caulking and paint or install wood trim coated in polyurethane
- Get rid of mold and stains throughout the bathroom, especially in the shower and bathtub area.
- Many tubs and showers need a fresh new bead of silicone caulking around the edges to make them look neat and clean.
- Remove all cloth toilet lid covers. Keep toilet lids down every day.
- Small scatter rugs in front of the sink, toilet, and shower make the room look small. Use one larger rug in the middle of the room or none at all.
- Be aware of smells, musty odors, and dampness.
- If you use the basement for storage, condense the piles to one corner of one area of the basement.
- Clear any drains.
- Carports should be completely cleaned out.
- Garages should be swept out and organized. If you have to use part or the entire garage for storage, that’s fine, just keep it neat.
- If you’re not using the garage for storage, keep cars in the garage and not in the driveway.
- If the garage floor is very stained, paint with gray or beige concrete paint.
- Rent a storage unit or a POD.
- Have a garage sale. We made nearly $1,000 with my last sale!
- Give it to charity. (ARC will pick up!)
- Put it in the attic.
- Store it in the crawl space.
- Use a portion or corner of the basement.
- Use part or all of the garage.
- As a last resort, sacrifice a third or fourth bedroom and fill it full.
- The first impression when a buyer drives up to your home is critical.
- Take a hard look at the front door and trim. Give special attention to this because this is where buyers will get their first opportunity to make a close inspection of your home. Does it need repainting or staining? Repainting the doors and trim to help make the house look crisp and in good condition is one of the least expensive things you can do to dress up a home.
- Sweep all decks, walks, porches, and patios and keep them swept.
- Remove any moss/mildew from all decks, walks, and patios.
- Decks should be pressure-washed, stained, or painted if they are in need of it.
- If you have outdoor furniture, create one simple ‘room setting’ of clean furniture that will remind buyers of the usefulness of the space Decks & patios should look like you are going to entertain there.
- Repair broken fences and paint if necessary.
- Rake and weed flower beds. Spread new mulch such as beauty bark, pine needles, gravel, or lava rock to put a finishing touch on the landscaping.
- Mow the lawn and keep it mowed on a weekly basis during the growing season
- Trim branches around the roofline to prevent animals, insects, and foliage from getting on the roof. Inspectors will notice any foliage touching the house and mark it in their report.
- “Curb appeal” is important. Has your landscaping overgrown the house? Remember… “You can’t sell it if you can’t see it!” Cut back all shrubs to window height that block light or view from windows.
- Remove all children’s toys in the backyard.
- Add gravel to the driveway if needed.
- Folex – Instant spot carpet remover. Perfect for rust, red wine or pet accidents. Available at Lowe’s or Bed, Bath & Beyond
- Polyshades by Minwax – Brightens all wood cabinets in the home (kitchen, bath etc.)
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser – Works well on cabinets and other scuff marks.
- Holloway House Quick Shine Floor Finish – The green bottle plus a washable, microfiber mop. It’s much more effective than Swiffer.
- Eggshell Paint in light neutral grays and beiges. Recommend SW Repose Gray and SW Accessible Beige.
- Air Fresheners – If you are going to use aromas, studies show that citrus is the best scent when selling a home; it conveys cleanliness. Many folks think that cinnamon, cookies, and florals convey warmth, but studies show that they bring to mind images of “grandma’s old house” instead. Stick to orange and lemon scents. Yankee makes a scent called Vanilla-Lime that knocks my socks off. If you don’t care for citrus, try something like “clean cotton”.