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Making sure your home is “show ready” is a daunting task but if you follow these steps you’re sure to get more for your home than you thought possible.
Your Home’s Living Room
- When you’re placing decorative items in the living room make sure they are as symmetrical as possible. The brain is naturally attracted to symmetrical scenes.
- Make sure your home is well lit with proper placement of lamps and other lighting fixtures.
- When picking out staging décor opt for lighter colors to give you space an airy, open feeling.
- Take an inventory of the furniture in the room and eliminate at least one piece to create the feeling of more space.
- Staying neutral in general is a good plan but even better would be to add a bit of color with coordinating throw pillows or blankets.
- Give your space a purpose by arranging furniture in conversational groups or set up a board game.
Your Home’s Kitchen
- Less is more when it comes to counter top décor. Keep the counters completely clear aside from one or two decorative items.
- Don’t think buyers don’t look in your cupboards. Pare down your dishware, glasses, and utensils to one matching set to give your cabinets a feeling of spaciousness.
- If you’re cabinets are in rough shape consider refinishing or replacing them. If they’re good as new but a bit outdated just replace the hardware for an instant facelift.
- Are your appliances too old or just dirty? Be honest with yourself here; if you cannot get them to look appealing with a thorough scrubbing then you may need to consider replacing them. Stainless steel is the frontrunner in this category.
- Clear your fridge of takeout menus and wedding invites. Spend extra time scrubbing handles.
- Scrub your backsplash a few times and focus on the grout, especially if it’s a lighter color.
- Your cabinets interiors need attention too.
- Your pantry is a big seller for many buyers. Clean and reorganize it leaving some dead space to create the idea that it’s plenty big for any family. Use decorative bins to organize smaller items.
- Empty your trashcans prior to all showings and make sure they aren’t visible.
Your Home’s Bedrooms
- Keep the décor neutral; stay away from décor that’s overly feminine or masculine.
- Pack up all of your clothing aside from what’s seasonal at the moment. This will make your closets look much larger and organized. This is another huge selling point for buyers.
- If you want brownie points, swap out all those mismatched hangers for a matching set of felt or wooded hangers.
- Hide away jewelry and electronic accessories.
- If you have any bedrooms that you don’t have furniture sets for consider giving it a new purpose; a sewing or exercise room for example.
- Bedrooms should feel quaint and quiet so remove electronics and televisions.
Your Home’s Dining Room
- Set the dining room table as you would if you were hosting a semi-formal dinner party for close friends. This creates a vision for buyers to see themselves using the space.
- Don’t go too gaudy with the table setting. It needs to look formal but approachable.
Your Home’s Bathrooms
- Sanitize and clean every surface.
- Tile grout needs extra attention. Don’t forget to caulk around the tub if necessary.
- If the tile in your bathroom is outdated but you cannot afford to replace it, consider painting it.
- Apply the same counter top rules as discussed in the kitchen section to your bathrooms. No one needs to know what deodorant you use.
- Make sure medications are hidden.
- Try to stage your bathrooms to look like a luxury hotel. Fluffy white towels, fancy soaps, and a neutral shower curtain will be just the thing to make your bathroom feel serene and new.
- Fix any leaks or loose toilets.
- Clean out your drains.
Your Home’s Walls, Windows & More
- Add mirrors to dark or small spaces to create more light and the illusion of more space.
- Stick with white, beige, or a popular combination of the two, (greige) when you’re repainting your walls.
- Stick with the same paint throughout the home to create a flow.
- If you have wood paneling it needs to be painted over. No exceptions.
- Your switch plates and light covers should all be clean, new, and matching.
- Windows should be cleaned on both sides and screens should be repaired and patched.
Other Spaces Around Your Home
- You’re moving so… Let’s start packing! De-clutter by packing up items you don’t use on a daily basis. Use 13-gallon storage tubs in a solid color, (not clear) and place them neatly in the garage or an extra storage space.
- All personal items should be packed away.
- Make sure your closets, attics, and basements aren’t jam packed with storage tubs; this will create the idea of lack of space. Instead, disperse the tubs in appropriate areas around the house.
- Give the dead spaces in your home purpose. A reading chair with a table and lamp at the top of the stairs where the landing was empty will create added square footage in the buyers’ minds.
- Stick with high voltage bulbs to create a brighter home.
- Repair or replace severely damaged flooring.
Let’s Get Outside
- Update your house numbers and make sure you can easily read them from the road.
- Paint or stain porches and decks.
- Your front door needs a fresh coat of paint that coordinates with your home’s exterior elevation.
- Invest in a new doormat.
- Rent or borrow a power washer to deep clean the exterior of your home.
- Your locks need to be in good working order.
- If your mailbox is falling apart or leaning make that repair or replace it all together.
- Add a pot of brightly colored flowers to the front step.
- Make sure the front door and path to it is clear from overgrown shrubs and branches.
- Make sure railings are not wobbly.
- When in doubt, add some mulch to give your landscaping a more appealing look.
- Clean your outdoor light fixtures and make sure they’re working properly.
- Don’t leave your trash bins in the front of the house.
For Pet Owners
- Make sure there are no pet stains visible or creating an undesirable smell.
- Wash pet toys, blankets, and beds to make sure you’ve cleared the home of pet odors.
- Don’t mask the odors; invest in odor neutralizing products.
- Clean up any gifts your pets have left behind in the yard prior to showings.
- Hide the litter box.
- Do not leave your pets at the house during showings; even if they’re kenneled.
Day of Showing
- In the fall it’s nice to simmer cinnamon sticks in water over the stove to give your home a delicious aroma. In the warmer months opt for a seasonal and fragrant bloom like lilacs.
- Your home should be so tidy it’s annoying.
- Skip the takeout or homemade curry the day of showings. Instead bake a batch of cookies to welcome the buyers to your home.
- Most importantly… you need to vacate the home during showings. No buyer is going to feel comfortable expressing opinions of your home while you’re in earshot.
Haven’t had enough staging advice? Find more on my post about making staging fun, here.