1. First Impressions – Ask an honest friend, or better yet–your real estate agent–to give you an assessment of their first impressions of each room. Often times the homeowner is so used to seeing the home that they don’t even notice clutter or necessary updates and repairs. Don’t forget to assess curb appeal as well–this can determine if a buyer will ever set foot in your home!
2. Eliminating Clutter – Get a head start on your packing by clearing the clutter! Kitchen counters should be cleared of almost everything except a few appliances and maybe some fresh flowers. Bathroom counters should not have any personal toiletries in plain view. Knick-knacks must go! Make sure you don’t have TOO much furniture in any room for buyers to walk around comfortably.
3. Emphasizing the Positive – While Downplaying the Negative – Find focal points to emphasize what is best about each room and hide or distract the negative aspects of the rooms.
4. Lighten Up – Make sure windows are clean and open up blinds and draperies for showings, letting as much natural light in as possible. Turn on all lamps and lights for showings. Consider repainting walls a light and neutral paint color. For rooms that are connected, such as a kitchen that opens to the family room, use the same color for both rooms to make the space feel larger.
5. DePersonalize – In order for a buyer to feel at home they need not be reminded of this being your home. A few family photos are good for creating a warm environment, but don’t go overboard!
6. Odor free/Cleaning/Repairs – Buyers will assume that clean and organized sellers have taken great care of their home. As they walk through your home, potential buyers will be calculating everything that needs to be done, and those costs will be deducted from their offer–often overestimating the actual costs of repairs. A move-in ready home will attract a much higher offer, and reduce the risk of scaring off buyers that are too focused on stained carpet to recognize your home’s potential.
7. Modernizing – Updating your style with a few new accessories such as throw pillows, light fixtures, or new bedding, can distract from other outdated features you can’t afford to remodel.
8. Creating the “Wow Factor” with simple touches like soft music, a fire in the fireplace, and the smell of baking cookies will help the buyer connect emotionally with your home!
9. Every room needs a proper function – while it may work best for your lifestyle to use the Dining room as a child’s playroom, for example, it is best to make sure each room serves the general purpose that MOST people would use it for. Another example would be setting up a home office in the master bedroom–it leaves the buyer with the impression that there is not enough space in the home to suit all of their needs.
10. Don’t take it too personally!! Remember, staging your home is a marketing strategy and you have a product to sell. People do not want to buy YOUR lifestyle, you want to make it easy for them to envision themselves in your home.