FOR THE INSIDE
- Clear all unnecessary objects from furniture throughout the house. Keep accessories and objects on the furniture restricted to groups of 1, 3, or 5 items. In general, a de-cluttered home helps the buyer mentally "move in" with their own things. Rearrange or remove some of the furniture in your home, if necessary. Many times home owners have too much furniture in a room. When it comes to selling your home, thin out overcrowded rooms to make the rooms appear larger.
- Clear all unnecessary objects from the kitchen countertops. If it hasn’t been used for three months…put it away! Clear refrigerator fronts of messages, magnets, pictures, etc.
- In the bathroom, remove any unnecessary items from the countertops, tub, shower stall, and commode top. Keep only the most necessary cosmetics, brushes, perfumes, etc., in one small group on the counter. Coordinate towels in one or two colors only.
- Take down, reduce, or rearrange pictures and objects on walls. Patch and paint all walls, if necessary.
- Review the house interior, room by room, and...
1. Paint any room needing paint.
2. Clean carpet and draperies that need it.
3. Clean windows.
- Pack up and store. If you need room to store extra possessions, get a storage unit.
- Leave on certain lights during the day . During showings turn on ALL lights and lamps.
- Set a background tune. Play light FM music every day in the house, for all viewings.
FOR THE OUTSIDE
- Go around the perimeter of the house and move all garbage cans, discarded wood scraps, extra building materials, etc., to the garage or, if applicable, take them to the dump.
- Check gutters and roof for dry rot and moss. Make sure they are swept and cleaned.
- Examine all plants. Plants are like children…they grow so fast. Prune bushes and trees. Keep plants from blocking windows: “You can’t sell a house if you can’t see it!”
- Remove any dead plants, weed all planting areas, and put down fresh mulching material.
- Keep your lawn freshly cut, edged, and fertilized during the growing season.
- Clear patios or decks of all small items, such as little planters, flower pots, charcoal, barbeques, toys, etc.
- Check the condition of the paint on your home, especially the trim and the front door. The first impression, or "curb appeal," is very important.
Try to look at your house “through a buyer’s eyes,” as though you’ve never seen it before. This exercise will help you see what needs to be done. Any time and money invested on these items will usually bring you the return of more money and a quicker sale.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barb Schwarz, ASP, ASPM, AB, IAHSP, is the creator of Home Staging® and the CEO of www.Stagedhomes.com. She is the IAHSP founder and chairwoman of The Board of The International Association of Home Staging Professionals® and Foundation.