1.De-clutter & De-Personalize:
Buyers generally want two main things out of a potential property: they want it to be roomy, and they want to be able to see themselves living in it. Neither of these things can happen if the house is full of your stuff. Clear out a minimum of 50% of your personal belonging when you stage your home – more if possible. Take down all family photos and mementos. Clear out closets as much as possible. Take the kid’s drawings off the fridge. The cost? A few hours and some boxes for storage.
2. Clean, Clean and Clean Some More:
I’ve toured hundreds of properties and there have been times when I wouldn’t touch anything. And while I can see past the pink slime in the shower, dirty doorknobs, and carpet full of pet hair, a lot of prospective buyers can’t. Your home may have tons of potential, but if it’s dirty, the percentage of buyers who can see that potential drops significantly. Clean like you’ve never cleaned before. And when you think it’s as clean as it can get, clean it one more time.
A fresh coat of paint helps your cause in two ways: First of all, it can neutralize rooms (such as a very pink little girl’s room) so that buyers can picture it as what they’ll need it to be. Secondly, new paint always makes a home look cleaner. Painting isn’t a big financial commitment if you do it yourself. And, the time it takes to paint will pay dividends when buyers walk through your neatly staged home.
4. Minor Repairs (change light bulbs, fill holes, repair screens, clean up exterior):
You might not care that one of your vanity lights is burned out or that your attempt to hang a painting resulted in six holes in your living room wall, but those little things can be a huge red flag for potential buyers. The biggest advice I have is just don’t be lazy. Take the time to replace a window screen or a cracked outlet cover. The cost is minimal and it shows that you take pride in your home. And, maintaining the small things can help reassure buyers that you’ve maintained big tickets items, like your roof or HVAC system as well.
5. Every Room Has a Purpose:
A lot of people have spare space in their homes that are turn into “dead zones” – rooms, closets, corners where “stuff” ends up getting thrown. But when you’re prepping to sell your home, not only should every nook and cranny be clean and clutter-free, they should also have a purpose. That spare room with your old treadmill and drum kit could be staged as an office space. If your basement is unfinished, put up some inexpensive shelving units to showcase how much storage is available. Buyers shouldn’t have to work to picture a rooms as functional for their needs.