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First of all, put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. I can tell you for certain, when we were in the market for a house, we usually checked out the outside before contacting the agent. There were many properties we looked no farther than the outside. If there was junk piled on the side of the house, landscaping non-existent or house in need of paint, we quickly moved on to the next house. The outside makes the first impression and is very important.

First Impressions count. The outside is important.

  • Make sure your front door is clean inside and out.

If your door has warn paint – paint it in a traditional color that is

Complementary with your outside paint color.

  • Clean and/or paint all exterior doors.
  • Check your doorbell and make sure it is working properly.
  • Clean and shine all hardware and accessories (door knobs, knockers, mail box, address numbers, etc)
  • Check the front door and screen door to make sure they work perfectly.
  • Washing windows has an impact on both the inside and out. Sparkling windows give a feeling of cleanliness from the outside and gives a bright and cheery feeling inside of the house.
  • Remove all toys, tools, trash, well used outside furniture or empty flower pots from the yard.
  • Clean and sweep the porch, steps, veranda, patio and other outside spaces. Make sure they are in good condition (fix if needed ) kept clean and neat.
  • Make sure the garage door opens correctly and easily. Fix and paint garage door if necessary.
  • Always keep the yard mowed and manicured.
  • Trees and shrubs should be trimmed and neat.
  • Decorate your yard/porch with potted plants. Consider planting in season annuals to add some color interest to the front of the house.

Let there be light inside your open, spotless house!

  • Make sure your front door and screen door are in perfect working order, clean and neat. Repaint and repair if necessary.
  • Clean and shine inside of front door knocker and knob and make sure any glass is sparkling clean.
  • Clean the windows on the inside to allow the light to brighten up your home.
  • Deep clean:

– Dust and polish, remember to move furniture, dust lamp shades and blinds.

Wipe down doors, handles and door frames including the tops and sides.

Look up and remove all dust bunnies on valances, corners and hanging fixtures.

  • De-clutter:

Pick up and straighten up.

Put away all shoes and sports equipment.

Straighten up your desk and remove as much a possible (just the basics, please).

– Remove and simplify the number of table top items sitting around. Think of the rule of 3. Group what ever you choose to leave out in odd numbers, preferably in groups of one or three. (I know. One is not a group but you get my point.)

Remove all family photos from walls and table tops.

  • Enlarge your spaces and improve the traffic flow by removing all unnecessary tables, chairs, storage units, etc from all rooms.
  • Clean or replace carpet. Warn and stained carpet will negatively affect the sale.

If you can’t afford the cost of replacing the carpet, speak to your real estate agent about how much not replacing the carpet will affect the asking price and about the possibility of adding a carpet allowance at closing. Some buyers like the fact they get to pick the color of their carpet and are not stuck with that brand new grey color you picked. Know that you may have to wait longer before you get an offer.

If you have soiled area rugs, you may choose to eliminate them all together because the removal may give a more spacious feel to your house. You decide.

  • Repair any damage on walls including nail holes.
  • Paint all rooms in a neutral color.

The best neutral colors to use vary by region. Check with a designer or research 2020 Home Staging colors of the year for your state. I live in a coastal area so one of my choices would be a light grayish teal. It would be safe to use a very light gray, light cream or light beige no matter where you live. A lighter color helps make your rooms appear larger. Most people end up painting themselves eventually but if the paint is fresh and clean when they look at your house, then they will not have to paint right away and may be willing to spend more money on something else . . . like the down payment on your house.

  • Address any loose or damaged wallpaper. You may choose to repair, replace or remove it then sand and paint the wall.
  • Clean all lamps, fixtures and chandeliers. Clean and/or replace all bulbs to create a brighter house.
  • Use house plants to soften sharp edges in your decorating, fill in empty spaces and assist in transition spaces like hallways and entryways inside the house.
  • Organize your attic and if you can, set a few items in key places to add interest to the space.
  • Repair, replace and/or polish all banisters and handrails.
  • Keep your home dusted and vacuumed at all times.
  • Make sure laundry room is neat, clean and tidy.

Things to focus on in specific rooms of your house

Bedrooms

  • Remove all personal items from bedrooms and redecorate in neutral colors if possible.
  • Keep all beds made and clean.
  • Straighten, clean and organize closets removing all unnecessary items.
  • If you have a master bedroom with master bath, create a bedroom suit by decorating in similar color scheme.

Bathrooms

  • Completely clean all bathrooms so that they sparkle
  • Repair or replace any broken tiles.
  • Re-caulk tub and shower areas to create a clean, crisp sparkling clean look.
  • Remove all used towels and wipe down the sink and tub/shower area every time you use it.

Kitchen

  • Clean oven, fridge and dishwasher.
  • Keep all counters and sinks clean and sparkling.
  • Keep stove top spotless
  • Remove all small appliances and containers off of the counters creating a more open kitchen.
  • Remove all sponges, dishrags, scrubbies, etc.
  • Keep floor mopped and sparkling clean.
  • Shine all appliances.

Before Open House and showings

  • Let there be light! Open shades and draperies and turn on all of the lights in the house, the brighter, the better.
  • Remove recent clutter from every room.
  • Have a family plan to get the home in order quickly if necessary.
  • Create a plan to get your house ready quickly if there is an unexpected showing. Include all members if you can. A quick reference check list will be helpful if you find yourself doing it all by yourself.
  • Open all interior doors to areas you want the prospective buyer to see. These areas might be places like, master bath, walk-in closets, attic, pantry, game room, etc.
  • Keep your home dusted and vacuumed.
  • Lightly spray house with air freshener about 30 minutes before prospective buyers arrive.
  • Use special deodorizers to remove all smoke and pet odors.
  • Remove extension cords and any exposed wires.
  • Use plug-ins or diffuses with a mild scent i.e. vanilla or caramel.
  • Set the tables for dinner in the dinning room and/or eat-in kitchen to add a homey touch.
  • Make sure there are fresh towels in kitchen and bathrooms

Feel free to reach out if there is anything we can do to assist you with in the selling of your home. 352-515-0247

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