From the day that your house goes on the market to the day it closes, your property needs to be in “Selling Shape”. Whether you decide to hire a professional home stager or do it yourself, you and your family will have to cope with some inconveniences and make the transition to thinking about your house as a property and not a home. This can be frustrating if you’re still living in your house, but the effort is well worth it.

According to the Real Estate Staging Association, a properly staged home can:

  • Increase a property’s perceived value
  • Help a listing’s competitiveness in a down real estate market
  • Drastically reduce the Days on Market (DOM) of a property

In fact, their 2013 study on both vacant and occupied homes showed that staged properties spent 72% less time on the market than non­staged properties.

So how can we work together to get your property into selling shape? Let’s just follow some simple rules.

First. Fix it.
Anything that is in your house that is in disrepair and can be easily fixed should be addressed before the home goes up for sale. We’ll want to pay particular attention to the front exterior and the most important rooms in the house: The master bedroom, the kitchen, and the living room.

Having a property that looks well maintained is a huge advantage with motivated buyers.

Next. Clean it.
Clean, clean and more clean. From the inside out, a clean listing is a happy listing. This principle is about generally cleanliness but it also requires you to de­clutter your house as much as possible.

If it’s smaller than a grapefruit, it needs to be put away. Get rid of or pack away anything that isn’t essential. Everything else that is small but cannot be packed should be put away in a drawer or cabinet during showing appointments. This also applies to things that are accumulated on a regular basis like the mail, or your dirty clothes.

And remember, it’s not good enough to just put things away. Potential buyers will and do open closets and drawers throughout the house when they’re looking at your listing. Be sure to keep personal items that you do not want on display in drawers that are clearly your personal furniture. The more organized you can be, the better.

Last. Stage it.
Making your house appear as attractive as possible is largely about allowing potential buyers the opportunity to imagine their lives in your property.

Home staging is essentially the process of using design principles and tricks that emphasize space. Creating the appearance of openness and space is key to getting your property sold. Remember, you’re not selling your stuff!

Furniture
Great staging, either DIY or by a professional, includes choosing furniture that shows the room in its best light. Minimize the amount of furniture you have in each room. If it’s staying in the house, it needs to in good shape and be visually appealing.

A good rule to follow? Limit the number of items on top of any surface to 3

Décor
It’s time to remove anything that could be considered distracting decoration from your home. Importantly, this includes any personal items like family photos or mementos. Any décor that does stay up and visible in your home should be as neutral as possible.

If you have hanging mirrors in the house, these can be positioned to emphasize and reflect key areas in the home like a nice sunny window.

Beware odors
It’s not just the stinky stuff you need to pay attention to. There are obvious problem points in a home that can produce bad smells like the garbage cans and the disposal, but you should consider any strong smell a bad one. Don’t rely on potpourri or air fresheners to mask unpleasant odors. These can be just as offensive to some buyers. Instead, be sure to open your windows when possible to keep fresh air circulating in the house.

The only exception to the strong smells rule is chocolate. Baking sweet chocolate treats before showing appointments or open houses can help potential buyers feel at home when viewing your house.