The first, most basic step to staging your home is to get it sparkling clean. We’re not just talking spring cleaning here — we’re talking eat-off-the-floor, wipe-down-the-floorboards, clean-the-carpets squeaky clean. Clear any cobwebs from the corners, dust the ceiling fans, and attack that crusty refrigerator.
If you have pets, pay special attention to any lingering odors — this is sure to turn off potential buyers. After deep cleaning, buy a wall plug-in with a clean, but not overpowering, scent to keep pet smells away. And be sure to tuck away any trace of your animals before an open house or showing — this includes pet bowls, litter boxes, or dog beds.
A good deep cleaning not only comes across well in your listing photos. It shows potential buyers at your open house that you take good care of your home — and not just when it comes to cleaning, but general home maintenance as well.
2. Clear clutter
By decluttering your home, you’ll make the space look much bigger — and space sells. Not only will you want to edit down to the bare minimum in your living spaces, pay special attention to closets and storage rooms as well. A good rule of thumb is to keep a third of all storage spaces empty. Visitors to your open house will fling open your closets in hopes of wide, deep storage space and you won’t want to disappoint.
Now is also a great time to start purging for your move — you’re going to have to do it some time! Go through your things, channel your inner Marie Kondo, and give away any useful items you haven’t used in the past year.
If you’re a packrat and just can’t bring yourself to part with them, pack up the extra items and store them at a friends home or storage unit until your home goes under contract. Show off your home’s space — not your junk.
Potential buyers like to be able to imagine themselves in your home, and they can’t do that with your family photos on the wall or your collection of bottle openers in the china hutch.
Clear away as much of your personal effects as you can so buyers can start with a clean slate. This includes anything on the refrigerator or your nightstand. You can leave a few key items if they’re minimal, tasteful, and don’t add too much personality.
4. Paint with neutral colors
For the same reason you want to depersonalize the space, you’ll want to tone down the colors of your walls. If you have any bold colors in your home, consider repainting them a neutral color.
While this may take a bit of time, it could have a big payoff. A new buyer may not love the style of bright colors, but won’t want to have to repaint immediately when they move in. And by using neutral paint colors, you’ll create the feel of a blank canvas for the new buyer.
5. Make small repairs
Before you spend too much money on large repairs, check with your real estate agent to get their take on whether the return in increased purchase price would be worth the cost.
Repairs or upgrades under a couple hundred dollars are usually worth doing before even listing your home. These small touches don’t cost much but can make all the difference. Do a tour of your home and list out any items that might be seen as an eyesore by someone visiting your open house. Then estimate the cost for remedying the issue and if it makes sense, complete the repair.
Small fixes with major payoffs may include new cabinet pulls for an aged kitchen, a fresh coat of paint on a dingy wall, or a new carpet remnant in a well-loved playroom. You’re looking for easy items that a new home buyer won’t want to add to their immediate to-do list after purchasing your home.
6. Bring greenery inside
Some strategically placed bright flowers or green potted plants can bring life to your home. Don’t go overboard and add to clutter, but consider a couple of healthy plants in key areas.
By spacing them well and making sure they are meticulously cared-for, you’ll show potential buyers that you’ve taken care of the home (just like the deep cleaning, decluttering, and minor repairs you’ve done.)
7. Maximize curb appeal
First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to selling your home. Drive by your home with the eyes of a potential buyer and try to imagine how they would perceive it. Make sure the lawn is freshly mown or free of fall leaves, depending on the season.
The exterior of a home is often overlooked by sellers. Get rid of any junk sitting outside, including lawn ornaments, kid’s toys, or empty pots.
Remove any seasonal decorations from your front entrance, consider power washing your steps and throw down a new doormat. You want to set the stage for visitors of your open house to see themselves in your home, and this starts with a clean, simple entryway.