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Staging to sell: make your home sparkle in buyers’ eyes

curb appealPreparing your home to sell is all about decluttering and staging the space to be inviting to homebuyers. Staging doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated, but there are steps to getting it right. If you’re struggling with where to begin, it might be worth the cost to hire a professional stager who knows what he or she is doing.

But if you’d prefer to stage it yourself, there are some low cost (or free) steps you can take to stage your home to sell:

Remove personal effects from every room

clutterPersonal photos and family keepsakes should be packed away for now. The exception might be a great photo of your family enjoying a fishing trip or white water rafting outing; something like this you can keep on display if you are marketing your home to families. If you have a great photo of your family enjoying a camping trip or other family activity, you can leave it out on display if your home is being marketed to families. One family photo can help homebuyers imagine themselves and their family living here happily.

All other personal items must be packed away, preferably in a storage unit away from the house. Remember, buyers are looking for a home in which they can make their own memories. Your personal photos and keepsakes can actually interfere with buyers’ ability to envision their family in your home. Keep in mind, you’re selling your house—not your family memories.

Pack it all up and store all but the basics

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 1.03.06 AMYou probably don’t need to be told that you can probably live quite comfortably, for a short period of time anyway, without at least half of the things in your home. Show homebuyers the potential to make the sheer space of the house their own, something you can’t do if the home is filled with stuff. That includes removing all but essential furniture pieces.

Pack everything you can live without and put it in storage away from the home. Try to avoid storing anything in the garage, but if you have to make sure you retain enough room for a car.

Clean Everything and then keep it sparkling

bathMore than anything, homebuyers respond positively to a truly clean, well cared for home. In fact, the number one priority among homebuyers is the cleanliness of the home they’re viewing. A pristing home gives the impression that the property is well cared for.

Make sure to clean everything to a sparkle, including windows (inside and out). Dust the light fixtures, ceiling fans, blinds, shelving, picture frames, door frames, etc. If any bathroom in the house has a toilet that is permanently stained, it would pay to replace it with a new, sparkling unit that appears untouched. Potential buyers inspect every nook and cranny. Make sure they find no dirty little surprises, no matter how hard they try!

Lighten and brighten every room in the house

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 1.13.40 AMWhen it comes time to photograph the home for the real estate website and other marketing purposes, flood the home with light. Turn on every light and open the curtains and blinds to show buyer how bright, clean and inviting the home is.

If you need to, move a lamp to improve the light in a dark corner. Yu can never have enough light.

Make sure your curbside has plenty of appeal

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 1.37.31 AMOutdoor space is just as important to buyers as indoor space. More and more people are actually creating beautiful living spaces in their patios and yards. Potential buyers will be just as vigilant about examining the yard and landscape upkeep as they are about the inside space. Even if you don’t have the budget for flower beds and sculpted hedges, you can make sure the yard is perfectly appealing with a well kept lawn—freshly mowed and watered.

Keep the foliage neat and properly shaped. Trim trees to allow a 6-foot-tall person to easily pass under them, a trick that makes trees appear taller and gives the yard a well kept appearance.

Power wash decks, patios, fences, porches, the sidewalk and the driveway. The results will be striking when it comes to presenting your home at its best.

Although preparing a house to sell can be a lot of work it can kill many birds with one stone. You can use the opportunity to pack, purge unneeded items, take inventory and stage the home for maximum buyer interest. Even if there’s no budget to hire a professional stager, you can make the basic steps necessary to make your home a hit among buyers.

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