Staging your home for sell by Retired Realtor.

CURB APPEAL IS MASSIVELY IMPORTANT.
Go outside and look at your house , I would recommend taking a picture.  You need to put on your buyers hat and see things through their eyes. Does the landscape need work. If you need to mow and (yuck) weed, then you will need to get busy. Do you have spider webs or old bird nests in your porch ?  If you don't pay attention and take care of these things the buyer will think you don't take care of the inside which means more work for them.  Some clients have chosen not to even bother to go inside.
Good news is that here are some inexpensive ideas to spruce things up.  Mulch hides a lot and is cheap. Walmart's is very reasonable. It makes your garden beds look fresh too.
We have a small front porch that the birds love to build nests in. I feel almost guilty but it's ugly. Spider webs freak
people out, me included so a broom works best. Clean your windows with Dawn soap and a squeegee.  We even painted our porch and wow what a difference that made. I did it in less than an hour. 

WALK THROUGH YOUR FRONT DOOR
This is  where your buyer will come in. Look around, what do you see? What stands out? Is it a big window? A fireplace?  Are those areas clean and showcased? If it’s a window, is it clean,  I know nobody likes to clean windows but the squeegee works great. Are the curtains clean? You need to let in as much sunshine as possible so if you have dark or heavy curtains I suggest you open them as wide as possible or replace. I have found some really cute ones at Dollar General and Big Lots. They don’t need to be expensive because you’re not going to live there and the new buyers will decorate to their tastes. You just need it to be neutral . Fireplace needs to be clean, box cleaned out and either firewood stacked inside or if it’s Spring or Summer you could place some pretty plants or flowers, real or good quality fake.
Whatever the focal point is, it’s best to stage your furniture facing it if possible. Create conversation areas . Don’t worry if you have empty corners. You want to create a cozy area where family and friends  can visit. Here’s an example.

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This is the front living room.  I would normally place the couch facing the window but in my case, the room is extremely long and the wall opposite is short. I wanted the buyer to see how large the room is.

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This is the family room
See how cozy and comfortable this looks. We live in this room.

NEXT IS THE KITCHEN
This is the heart of the home. This has to be spotless and smell clean and fresh.  Dishes have to be washed and put away. I don’t use a drainer, if I wash by hand, I put my clean ones in the dishwasher to dry. The counters have to be cleared off.   Stash your toaster, your blender , your stuff in a cupboard or cabinet. You can leave your coffee pot because for some reason those are cool today and  you can even make a little coffee bar as long as it’s cute. Stash creamer, sugar in pretty dishes or dispensers and place on tray. Again flowers look cheerful here. Floors must be clean and a cute little rug in front of your  sink can be bought at Walmart,  KMART or other discount stores. Wipe down your appliances and cupboards too. Empty your trash and sprinkle baking soda in bottom.
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BATHROOMS NEED TO BE SPARKLING.
A new shower curtain can cost as little as $10. Or wash your old one. If you have shower doors, a  squeegee works well here too. You can even put up a shower curtain in front of your shower doors to add some color. Trash should be emptied, rugs washed and floor swept and
mopped.  Your best freshly cleaned towels set out too. All clutter put away or stored in attractive containers.

MASTERS RANK HIGH
with today’s buyers and same rules apply. It’s best to weed your closets out because if it shows that it’s packed with your stuff then the buyers think there is no room for theirs. MOST IMPORTANTLY do not leave your jewelry out in the open. Or anything of value. As a REALTOR, buyers often will go in different directions, you can’t stop them so I always told my sellers to put  away anything that was of value. Unfortunately, it is what it is. Instead you can decorate with books or another vase of flowers just not too much. Again less is more.

KIDS ROOMS ARE THE TOUGHEST , because kids are kids. Depending on their age , you might make a game out of pick up toys and put those in cute little storage boxes or tubs preferably with a lid. Make their beds vacuum or sweep and be consistent with removing the clutter.

SMELL MATTERS. It is one of the biggest complaints I have heard.  I have always had pets in and out of the house and you’re not going to get rid of them because you’re moving, however, during the showings, you do need to remove them to either outside or somewhere like garage so buyer can look around. Or take them on a walk. Remove food and water dishes and their beds and Febreeze your house including the furniture. I personally love those plug in air freshness and in bathrooms, I put in those Purex  crystals to make bathroom smell fresh and clean. In kitchens I use good smelling flavors like Apple pie ,in bedrooms I go for more flowery scents.
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WHEN YOUR REALTOR’S office calls to let you know someone is coming to tour, sometimes you don’t have a lot of time or you might be out and unable to come home and clean,  so your house needs to be ready as much as possible all the time. It stinks, I know it. I am going through it myself, but soon you will get a little routine going and pick up each day and before bed. Clean kitchens are the most important  so if you didn’t get a chance to do those dishes,  put them in dishwasher and tackle later. Keep a laundry basket and go thru the house gathering things that need to be put away in it. If you don’t have time,  stash the basket in your car. Spray your house with Febreeze and keep those plug ins filled.
If you do have time, open all the curtains, turn on all lights even under mounts. Turn on some soft music down low. If you burn candles, be sure to blow them out right before you leave and do it outside so the smoke stays outside. 
You may even want to leave a tray of about 6  cookies on kitchen counter with sweet note that says. Welcome, please enjoy a cookie. Be sure to put some
napkins beside them and avoid messy ones with chocolate. 
Hope this helps you.

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