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Preparing your Home for the Market

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When done properly, staging will increase your home’s value, boost its curb appeal, enhance its online presence and make it more attractive to buyers so it sells quickly. That will help you avoid the potentially painful mortgage, insurance and price reductions sellers have when an unappealing house lingers on the market.

As a Realtor and professional home stager, I love helping clients successfully prepare their home for sale. If you’re listing this summer, start with these 10 staging tips:


1.      Begin with the front yard – Keep your landscaping neat and tidy. Freshly mulch and weed all flowerbeds and gardens. Place colorful plants on the front porch. Trim those shrubs. Keep your lawn lush and green.


2.      Create a great first impression – Paint your front door and power wash your siding. These relatively inexpensive fixes will make a substantial difference.


3.      Declutter – For many, this step is the most stressful. Ease your stress by starting the process months before you list. It’s important to get in the mindset of packing to move. Create three areas for sorting into ‘keep,’ ‘donate,’ and ‘toss.’ I find it usually takes a few passes but by the third time around you will find it much easier to separate out what is most important to you.


4.      Pack up those toys – It’s OK for kids’ rooms to look child friendly, with a few well-placed toys and bright colors on the wall. But keep it tidy. Negotiate with your child to get rid of old toys. Place toys in bins and store them in the closet or under a bed.


5.      Clean inside and out – Wash your windows and scrub that grout. 


6.      Minimize pet smells – Clean your cat’s litter box daily. Replace or cover furniture if it shows damage from pet scratches. Vacuum animal fur from sofa cushions and floors.


7.      Create an inviting space – Remember those first impressions. Focus on the areas buyers will see when they walk through the front door – the living room, family room. Arrange furniture so it’s easy to pass from space to space. Don’t put tables in hallways or block access to windows. A furnished room will look larger than a vacant room. A pro stager will help you scale each room properly.


8.      Spruce it up – Painting is the least expensive way to reinvigorate a room. Stay with neutral colors – grays are more popular right now than beiges. If you want to redo a kitchen backsplash or bathroom tile, subway tile is a classic look that goes with everything. Avoid trends.


9.      Watch those smells – Baking a pie or cookies just prior to an open house makes your home inviting. Avoid fragrant candles or strong food smells (onions, garlic) as they can be overwhelming.


10.  Consider hiring a pro – Still feeling overwhelmed? A professional stager can help. Some sellers think a pro will be too costly yet a consultation can cost as little as $250. Look for a stager who will work within your budget and find ways to reduce cost (such as using the furniture you already have).

You love everything about your home. But when it’s time to sell, you want potential buyers to love it, too. That’s where staging comes in.

Whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, home staging is about increasing your house’s value and appeal. In today’s market, buyers decide their interest in a home within 30 seconds of walking through the front door. The right home staging can turn those first impressions into a quick sale.

About the Author

Kevin McPheeters is a Realtor with Addison Wolfe Real Estate, and owner of Chapel Road Design. He is the past president of the Bucks County Association of Realtors. Kevin can be reached via email at or by phone at (215) 740-8331.

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