1. Boost curb appeal. Make sure your home is ready to lure in onlookers with these tips:
- Power wash siding and walkways
- Hang easy-to-read house numbers
- Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery
- Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed
- Wash front windows
- Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed
2. Welcome visitors with an inviting porch. Use a clean doormat, potted plants in bloom and — if you have room — one or two pieces of neat porch furniture. Keep your porch lights on in the evenings, in case potential buyers drive by.
3. Get your house sparkling clean. From shining floors and gleaming windows to clean counters and scrubbed grout, every surface should sparkle.
4. Clear away all clutter. If you are serious about staging your home, all clutter must go, end of story.
5. Strike a balance between clean and lived-in. Think vases of cut flowers, a basket of fresh farmer's market produce on the kitchen counter or a bowl of lemons beside the sink.
6. Style your dining room table. Between dinners, a large dining table can look bare and uninviting, so styling it up with visitors in mind can increase the appeal.
7. Take a good look at your floors. At the bare minimum, give all floors a thorough cleaning (and steam clean carpets), but consider having wood floors refinished if they are in poor shape. If you don't want to invest in refinishing floors, the strategic placement of area rugs can go a long way.
8. Rearrange your furniture. Pull your furniture off the walls and use pairs (of sofas, chairs, lamps) to create an inviting conversation area.
9. Choose sophisticated neutral colors. Rich midtone neutrals like mocha and "greige" create a sophisticated backdrop that makes everything look more pulled together.
10. Create a gender-neutral master bedroom. Appeal to everyone with a clean, tailored master bedroom, free of personal items and clutter.
11. Open those closets! Open-house visitors will peek inside your closets. Closet space can be a make-it-or-break-it selling point for buyers. Aim to have 20 to 30 percent open space in each closet to give the impression of spaciousness.
12. Clean up toys.
13. Use "extra" rooms wisely. Each room should have a clearly defined purpose, so think about what potential buyers might like to see here. An office? A guest room? Another kids' room?
14. Try a pedestal sink to maximize space. Your small bathroom will appear instantly bigger.
15. Use only perfect personal accents. Bars of soap should be fresh and clean, towels spotless, the garbage always emptied.
16. Entice people to explore the whole house. A piece of artwork, a painted accent wall, a window seat, a vase of flowers, a hanging light or even a small, colorful rug can all work to draw the eye.
17. Show how you can use awkward areas. Nooks, alcoves, room beneath the stairs.
18. Beware pet odors. Really, this can be a big one! If you have pets, get all rugs steam cleaned and be extra vigilant about vacuuming and washing surfaces. Also be sure to keep any extra-loved pet toys and doggie bones hidden when tours are scheduled.
19. Create a lifestyle people are looking for. Generally speaking, you want to play up what your neighborhood or area is known for.
20. Stage the outdoors too.
21. Think seasonally. Make sure your garden is in beautiful shape in the summer, and that any extra features you have, like a pool or a fire pit, are cleaned and ready to go. Take advantage of the cozy vibe of the season in autumn and winter, by building a fire in the fireplace and simmering hot apple cider on the stove