Staging Your Home for a Sale

Cleaning and de-cluttering are the keys to a faster sale.

Posted by Lucy Stone | Sep 30, 2009
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In this tough Buyer's Market, any slight improvement to a home improves its value and instigates sales. Luckily, simply staging your home is a quick and affordable way to enhance your home's likelihood to sell. By cleaning and de-cluttering your house, buyers can visually and mentally move in.

The Small Things

A clean home, inside and out, tells prospective buyers that it is well-maintained. A messy and cluttered house makes buyers wonder what less visible problems lay out of sight.

Replace light bulbs, fix leaky faucets, clean the grout, and clear away all spider webs and dead bugs out of windows and light fixtures.

Also, put away kid's toys in decorative storage baskets and remove pet supplies like bowls and litter that might imply additional toil to potential buyers.

Curb Appeal

First impressions are key, so make sure that all faded and chipped paint has a fresh coat, and paint the door and shutters one standardized hue. Again, you want the buyers to pick their own accent color, if only in their imagination.

Trimming down bushes and adding colorful shrubs or plants makes a big impression, as does keeping a mowed lawn. Make sure the front porch or entryway is clean and clear of clutter, and add a nice doormat and colorful plant to welcome visitors.

Step Inside

Whether you donate it, dump it or store it, ridding your house of clutter increases your chance of selling exponentially. Since most buyers get their first glimpse in pictures online, it also increases the entire pool of potential buyers.

Remove all family photos, trinkets and personal keepsakes, so prospective buyers can imagine themselves living in the house and keep your home furnishings simple and streamlined, appealing to a broad range of tastes.

When decorating, limit arrangements to three of any one thing and use an even balance of soft and hard textures around the room (wood, metal, upholstery, etc...).

Living Room

Buyer's want to envision themselves spending time as a family and entertaining guests in the living room, so make it warm and inviting, with good use of space and a conversational arrangement that groups furniture together so chairs and sofas face each other (and not the tv).

Buyers also like bright, airy, and cheerful homes, so lighten the space by cleaning the windows, taking down heavy drapes, bringing in lamps, and cutting down obstructive shrubbery.

Liven up neutral color schemes with colorful color-coordinated accent items and refresh couches or chairs with slip-covers. Also be sure to make any fireplace the room's focal point, even if it means removing the television.

Kitchens for Cooks

Kitchens increase resale value, so impress buyers by cleaning the countertops of all appliances, utensils, coffee machines, etc...making it as clean and bright as possible.

If you have the budget, focus kitchen upgrades on cabinets and counters. Consider staining or painting the cabinets before pouring extra money into new ones, which then leaves extra cash for the counters.

You can also modernize cabinets affordably by updating the knobs and handles, as well as kitchen faucets, lights and other fixtures.

Finally accentuate sitting and eating areas in the kitchen with tables, chairs and stools, so visitors can envision themselves there all week from Sunday morning to Saturday night.

Bath and Beyond

Bathrooms also add to the homes resale value, so make it as clean and bright as the kitchen. Signs of use, such as soap scum and recently used sinks, will turn buyers off, so clean bathrooms until they look like they're in a model home.

Also replace outdated fixtures and add new towels with coordinating bathmats. Then, accent the space with fragrant flowers.

Sleep on It

Buyers want to see comfortable, neutral and spacious room when they enter a bedroom, so use earth tones on the walls and limit furniture to a bed, dresser and a few small items. Also, invest in new bedding and remove personal items such as photos.

Staging your home is an inexpensive way to get buyers to mentally and visually move into your house during a walk-through. It's also a valuable tool for displaying how the house has been cared for over the years.

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