Top Home Staging Tips

The biggest killer of homes sales is distracted buyers. If buyers can’t see themselves in the space because they’re too distracted by the things that are in it now, it won’t make the cut. Buyers may remember the house with the wall-to-wall collection of velvet Elvis paintings, but they won’t remember if it had a good floor plan. Stage your house well to get the best return on your investment.

Clear out the clutter: The goal with staging is to show off each room’s full potential. Keep that in mind as you pack away your mementos, favorite things and collections. These things may mean a lot to you, but they won’t connect with buyers and may prove to be a distraction. Remove furniture that is out of proportion to the room, if possible and borrow from other rooms or rent staging furniture. Above all, make each room fairly neutral, tidy and functional. Then you tackle the closets and junk drawers and make them look like the Container Store bases their catalogue off of your ideas. It doesn’t matter that you’ve got a storage facility down the street full to the rafters with 13 years’ worth of half-used crayons and school glue. Buyers won’t see it.

Keep it clean: Kitchens and bathrooms are magnets for fingerprints, grease and grime. Make sure the walls are clean as can be. Start by dusting them down with a microfiber duster on an extension pole. If the dirt sticks, try a cleaning them with vinegar. Mix a solution of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts warm water in a bucket, wet a sponge with the solution, and gently rub your walls clean. Work top to bottom and dry with a lint free towel. Test a small area first to make sure your wall surface doesn’t react to the vinegar. Don’t forget the baseboards!

Freshen up grout and caulk: Make sure your grout lines are clean. Try scrubbing with a paste of baking soda and water first. Apply fresh grout to any areas where it’s missing or cracked. Replace caulk in the shower and along the backsplash if there’s any sign of mildew that won’t clean easily.

Gleaming glass surfaces: Wash your windows inside and out, including screen and tracks. Make sure mirrors and glass tables are sparkling clean. If you’ve got soap scum on your shower doors, hit them several times with a descaling cleaner, or take it off the hinges, take it outside and carefully clean with steel wool and a solution of 1 part muriatic acid to 10 parts water (wear gloves, a mask and eye protection. Muriatic acid is strong stuff).

Don’t take it personally: People get distracted by family photos. While you’re trying to sell your house, they’re counting kids and grandkids, evaluating that 80s hairdo and wondering aloud how old you are based on your lipstick choices. Keep their focus where it needs to be by packing away the personal touches, including family photos.

Tidy up for showings: This is the mother of all mother-in-law visits. Remember that every surface should be clean, from the inside of the oven and under the kitchen sink to the very far recesses of your closet. There will be no dirty dishes in the sink or overflowing baskets of laundry on the couch. Unfolded laundry? You’ve never heard of such a notion – even if it means driving off with your kids holding baskets full of mismatched socks in the back seat. Your newly staged home is five-star-hotel-spotless-Martha-would-be-impressed clean.

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