How can you show off your home at its very best? With organization and preparation, you can make your home look as comfortable and inviting as possible to tempt even the most discriminating buyer. These home staging tips take you through the process of preparing for an open house. You'll learn how to neutralize your sense of ownership, convert your living space into a clutter-free zone, look for repair needs, add polish and shine and involve your kids in the process. By following these ideas, you'll be able to relax whenever potential buyers come ring the bell.
TIP #1: Remove yourself from the picture
Preparing for an open house begins with mentally removing yourself and your loved ones from the house. Imagine your goal, which is to hand the keys over to a new owner. This won't happen unless you agree within yourself to leave this part of your life behind and be ready for a new chapter. Physically organize the space to create a sense of newness. Pack away photos and personal items that communicate your ownership. Make your house look like nobody lives here anymore. The idea now is to allow viewers to imagine themselves living in your home.
TIP #2: Clear it out
When staging your house, clear out all of the clutter from the outside, including the sidewalk, lawn and curb. Inside your home, check countertops and windowsills. Say goodbye to all of the "stuff" you and your family have accumulated over a lifetime, and either put it in storage boxes for your new house, donate it to charity or throw it out. Consider removing some furniture, including bookcases, and put them in storage. While nobody enjoys living out of a suitcase, think of this as "pre-packing" time. You will be more likely to win a buyer with a clutter-free house that highlights the potential of each room. Don't just stuff everything into cabinets and closets, as buyers tend to open these and have a look around. Organize your kitchen shelves and drawer spaces by stacking dishes, pots and pans, casserole dishes, storage containers and covers separately. Hang buttoned shirts neatly, with the hangers facing the same way. If you don't organize these hidden spaces, it will just offset all the hard work you put into the preparation for your open house.
TIP #3: Fix it
Look around your house for cracked tiles, holes in walls, leaky faucets, fussy kitchen drawers and any other items that may need doctoring before you begin staging your home. Look outside and notice if the exterior needs touch-ups, such as a paint job. While you may not even notice these things anymore, each of these items takes away from the sense of comfort and security the buyer wants to feel in a house. While a deep purple bedroom or bright orange bathroom may express your personality, you may want to repaint them in a neutral color, such as beige or eggshell white, to free the buyer from making negative associations with your house.
TIP #4: Make it shine
One of the most important home staging tips is to clean your home from top to bottom. Prepare for your open house by hiring a professional cleaning service or do it yourself. Wash the windows, both internally and externally. In your kitchen, clean out the refrigerator and wipe outsides of cabinets and drawers, including knobs and handles. Clear away all cobwebs. Wax floors and vacuum carpeting. Dust surfaces, including ceiling fans and light fixtures. Polish faucets. Hang up pretty towels in the bathroom and freshen the air. When you're done, take a tour around your house and critique the level of cleanliness.
TIP #5: Use your intuition
After you have cleared away the clutter and cleaned like a maniac, use your intuitive sense. Imagine you are a buyer and walk up the driveway to your home. Look around. Does this area look inviting enough to want to go inside? If not, check if you need to make small changes, such as adding flowers or potted plants. Maybe it's time to put that ceramic gnome into storage. Then meander from room to room. How do you feel when you look around?
TIP #6: Get kids working with you
If your kids are old enough, get them excited about helping out. The key here is to clear away clutter and maximize space. Store toys in closets or other out-of-sight places. Keep the floors free from clutter to make the rooms seem as large as possible. Take the opportunity to give away unused and broken toys. Put bicycles and other outside toys in the garage or other storage area. Maximize space by moving one child into another room for this short time period. You can all share the master bathroom so that the other one remains neat and clean for showing. When the open house comes, you will have less work to do.