I know it's been said on Active Rain before -- even by me years ago -- but after going through an open house at my neighbor's this weekend, I was shocked to see how many of these "showing rules" -- well known in the staging world at least -- were broken:
1) Don't show houses in the dark! Open blinds, pull up shades, put curtains to the side (better yet, tell your sellers to remove them completely, since a cardinal rule of staging is "light and bright sells"!)
2) Don't show off toilet water! I HATE seeing toilet lids left open, ugh! Why does anyone want to see an open toilet?
3) Pull shower curtains to the side to show OFF the tub and tile, not hide it -- and advise your sellers to buy brand-new shower curtains, preferably white waffle-style fabric ones like you find in nice hotels.
4) Corollary to #3: Make sure your sellers understand how important a CLEAN house is to buyers! One of the worst turn-offs is dirty kitchens and baths.
5) Make sure all the lights are ON and the bulbs are maximum wattage, even if it's sunny outside -- again, light and bright helps sell homes.
6) Remove the clutter, the tchatchkes, the personal hygiene items (soap, razors, shampoo bottles, hanging wire shower organizers filled with those items, etc.), the old dried flowers, ivy, the small rugs (mats) in bathrooms and kitchens, shoes on the floor, clothes on the floor (!), in fact all small items sitting on floors!
7) Have your sellers invest in new, clean door mats for that all-important first impression at the front door. Wipe off dirty fingerprints around door knobs!
8) Bring in fresh flowers or bowls with lemons, apples, limes for kitchen and dining room centerpieces.
9) Make sure beds are made and styled with the (hopefully new and updated) comforters or bedspreads pulled up UNDER the pillows with fresh, clean pillow cases (at least 4 pillows per queen or king bed, two on a twin bed), two of which should ideally have decorative shams.
10) Make sure home owners hide litter boxes, pet beds, pet bowls, leashes, toys, and most importantly, that there are no pets in the house during showings, if possible.
11) Keep windows open whenever possible to circulate fresh air. Most houses have some odors that sellers have become nose-blind to, but buyers will notice! Fresh Wave Odor Eliminator or Pure Ayre are great products used by many stagers!
Of course, stagers have a lot of other great and often inexpensive ideas for improving a home's presentation -- from adding new pillows, updating light fixtures, painting vanities or changing out mirrors/art work, neutralizing decor, eliminating excess furniture or re-arranging furniture to open up rooms and highlight a home's best features and view and improve traffic flow from room to room, and easy ways to improve curb appeal, as well as much more!
Open houses are worth a little effort to help a house put its best look forward to impress buyers!