Washington D.C. Five Star award winner

7 Home Staging Tips to Do Before Listing Your Home for Sale

Selling your home is not for the faint-of-heart. It takes a lot of physical work and mental fortitude to go through the process of selling your home, especially if it stays on the market for a long time or you end up selling it for less than you anticipated. Would you like to know how to properly stage your home before you list it? Well-staged homes are more likely to sell quicker and for more money when compared to homes that have not been staged. Read the staging tips below to learn how to get your home in tip-top shape for a future buyer.

Improve your curb appeal

You've probably heard this tip before but it's true: The very first impression a possible buyer has of your home is the view they get from the street. If your curb appeal isn't so great, future buyers that are driving by your house have already formed a negative impression in their minds about your home, and they might not even want to venture inside. Improve your curb appeal by picking up natural debris, such as fallen limbs and twigs scattered across your lawn. Remove other unsightly items, like kid's toys, bicycles, broken or empty flower pots, lawn ornaments, cluttering your front yard. Rake fallen leaves, mow the grass, freshen up the flowerbed, and trim the grass bordering your driveway and sidewalks. Power wash nasty mildew and ugly grime off exterior walls, porches, and decks. Repair gaping cracks and holes in your driveway or walkways and touch up chipped paint surfaces. Don't forget to neaten up straggly bushes and trees by pruning off dead branches and limbs.

Create a stunning outdoor entry

When a potential buyer is walking up to your front door, he is forming an opinion of the outdoor entry space: either positive or negative. If your entry is attractive and feels clean, pleasant and comfortable, he will be eager to step inside your home and get to the "main attraction." Create a wow factor for your outdoor entry that will excite a prospective buyer to see what awaits him on the inside. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint and add shiny hardware, such as a doorknob, kick plate and door knocker. Lay out an inviting, new welcome mat and exchange a dated porch light for a more modern fixture. Place a small potted tree or containers of fresh flowers beside your front door to add color and vitality. If your outdoor entry space includes a front porch, create an inviting area with an outdoor rug and furniture. Hang potted ferns or flowers from your porch overhang or vertical posts. The goal is to make the outdoor space look so comfy and inviting that a likely buyer will sit down in the space and imagine how nice it would be to live there.

Clear the clutter and organize the rest

Take a good look around your home's interior spaces. What do you see? If you spot piles of paper, magazines, mail, toys, and books, clean them up. Throw old paper items in the trash and store the useful items out of sight. Potential buyers love to see how much closet space you have in your master bedroom, so make it look bigger by clearing out unwanted items and organizing the rest. Use closet organizers for a neat, structured appearance. Hang an attractive floor length mirror on a closet wall and place a small storage bench under the mirror. The mirror is useful when getting dressed and will make your closet appear larger than it is. You can stash loose closet items inside the bench, as well as use it as a place to sit while putting on your socks and shoes. Weed out unwanted clothing items from your closet to give the area a more spacious look. A closet crammed full of clothes and shoes shrinks the visible space, making it appear small and unusable. Purchase wooden or felt matching hangars for a more upscale, unified appearance. Don't forget to also clean out and organize your bathroom cabinets and drawers. After discarding unwanted items, insert drawer and cabinet organizers for a finished look. Potential buyers love to peek inside your kitchen cabinets to get a sense of space and cleanliness. Tidy up your kitchen pantry as well; it's a favorite spot for potential buyers to evaluate. If your refrigerator stays with the house, clear out any old food and drinks and wipe down the interior shelves and bins.

Don't make it personal

When a potential buyer is trying to imagine your current home as his future home, make it easier for him by putting away your personal items. You need a hotel mindset: well-appointed but generic. He doesn't want to see your family photographs, achievement awards, or hunting trophies on his future walls. Take down your sports memorabilia and box up those items for your next home. For example, if you have White Sox mementos everywhere and a possible buyer abhors the White Sox, it may irritate him so much that it just might cost you the sale of your home. If you have pets, put away any feeding bowls, crates, toys or other pet-related paraphernalia before the realtor arrives at your home with a possible buyer. It's also a good idea to take your pets with you while your home is being shown. You love and adore your pets, but a potential buyer may not have similar feelings. And don't forget to stash your bathroom toiletries out of sight. It's hard for a likely buyer to imagine the bathroom space as his own when your shampoo, shaving supplies, toothbrush, and other hygiene supplies are in full view.

Repair and replace

If you've been putting off needed repairs inside your home, it's time to act before your house goes on the market. A house in ill repair creates a feeling of abuse and neglect to a potential buyer. Repair or replace cracked and broken tiles on your floors, as well as kitchen backsplashes, countertops, and shower and tub areas in your bathrooms. Patch holes, dings and other indentations on your interior walls and baseboards before touching up the blemished areas with matching paint. In rooms that need extensive patchwork and touch-up paint, it might be easier and look better to simply brush a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Remember to prime walls before painting them for more opaque coverage of the underlying, existing paint and to create a better surface for the new paint to adhere. Exchange old hardware on cabinets and drawers with new knobs and handles for a brighter, more updated look. Use polished chrome drawer pulls, and cabinet handles for a more contemporary feel. Burnished bronze hardware works well in more traditional spaces. Get rid of outdated light fixtures by replacing them with more up-to-date styles. Hire a certified electrician to perform the necessary electrical work.

Clean until it sparkles

Visible dirt, corner cobwebs, dead bugs, and foul odors in your home are a sure way to repel potential buyers. Clean your home until it sparkles and shines from top to bottom. Vacuum and shampoo your carpets and area rugs for a fresh look and feel. Give wood or tile floors a good cleaning by dust mopping and wet mopping until they shine. Get rid of unwanted dust on window blinds by vacuuming or wiping the dirt away. Scrub your sinks, shower stalls, and tubs until they smell and look their best. Use a vinegar-based glass cleaner to naturally clean your windows and other glass surfaces, so they sparkle. Wipe down the inside and outside of all your kitchen appliances. Get rid of fingerprints, dried food, water spots, and cooking spills on your refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and countertops. Clean dusty ceiling fan blades with a ceiling fan duster to quickly eliminate dirt. A duster typically comes with an extendable handle, making it easy for you to use without risking fall off a ladder or stepstool. Put your washable scatter rugs, bed linens and furniture throws into your washing machine for a thorough cleaning to eliminate any possible odors. Wipe down all your windowsills with a damp cloth and use a duster to get rid of cobwebs lurking in dark corners or on light fixtures.

Make a lasting impression

When a realtor brings possible buyers into your home to look around, they will use their senses to evaluate the suitability of your home for themselves. Giving your home a clean, organized and aesthetically pleasing appearance is necessary, but it isn't enough. You also need to appeal to a potential buyer's other senses. For example, give your possible buyers a delightfully pleasant aroma to inhale from the moment they step into your home. Bake chocolate chip cookies or light candles around your home before a showing (just make sure to blow the candles out before you leave). Air fresheners can also fill the air inside your home with wonderful aromas. Avoid heavily scented air fresheners or candles that are too strong as they may have a negative effect on possible buyers. For an evening showing, turn on table and floor lamps in your home for a soft, homey glow. During the daytime, open your blinds and curtains to create a bright, sunlit space. Homes that are dark on the inside tend to portray a gloomy, dreary and lifeless space and don't create good vibes for a potential buyer. Turn on soft music in your home to generate an even more pleasant environment.

Now that you know the necessary steps required to properly stage your home, what are you waiting for? Even though home staging demands a portion of your precious time and personal resources, it is well worth the effort.

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