The real estate market is booming in Louisville right now. Perhaps you’re putting your house up for sale soon, or maybe you’re just considering it. We asked realtors from Kentucky Select to offer advice about the best ways to get your house ready to put on the market, a process more commonly known as staging. When selling a home, staging it is the best way to get it to sell. After all, you want your house looking its very best for potential buyers. And guess what? You can stage your home yourself. Yes, seriously.
Here’s your new mantra:
Clean. Simple. Fresh.
These three words are the foundation for solid staging. Repeat them to yourself as you get your home ready for market, and you’ll be thrilled with how easy the process really is.
10 STEPS TO STAGING YOUR HOME YOURSELF:
1. Declutter. Declutter. Declutter.
Get the trash bags, rent the dumpster, call Goodwill. Do what you’ve got to do, but you need to “give it away, throw it away or put it away.” One of the main reasons people select a home to buy over others on the market is because the house is decluttered and organized. People today have way too much stuff; they are drowning in all of their clutter. Their closets are bulging, their drawers won’t close, they can’t park their cars in the garage, their basements are packed full of things they haven’t looked at in years. When buyers see a house that is organized, neat, tidy and clutter-free, they can really relate to the home. They can see themselves living there and feeling organized and happy. It really makes a difference when you are trying to sell.
2. Clean. Clean. Clean.
There is NO substitute for cleanliness. It is the first thing anyone notices. So after you fill up your dumpster with garbage and send the unnecessaries to Goodwill, clean it to perfection. If you cannot clean it yourself, hire someone to do a one-time deep clean. Also, if you have pet stains, don’t clean your carpets right before you list the house. The water in the cleaning solution releases the old pet urine odor, which takes a while to dissipate. And if you’ve ever smelled pet urine, you know how very strong and unpleasant the smell is.
3. Take a whiff.
Unless there is a severe bad odor in your home, do not use air fresheners. The best scent is simply fresh air, so try to air your house out by opening windows and doors before potential buyers come. Don’t mask smells with air fresheners or by trying to bake cookies during the open house. If you have a smoker in your home, have the house professionally cleaned and treated to try to reclaim a fresh air smell.
4. Clear off the countertops.
Clear the kitchen countertops of all visible personal effects. This is especially true in a small kitchen, where taking this one easy step creates a ton of space. In a huge kitchen, leave some appliances out to show how this big space functions. Add greenery or a vase of flowers to brighten up the room.
5. Clean. Clean. Clean. (Part 2)
When it comes to the bathroom, it needs to be absolutely spotless. Remove any big, bold or froufrou patterned shower curtains, and just leave a couple of simple, clean, fresh towels out, preferably white or light colored ones. (SB TIP: Brand new white bath towels and hand towels make a bathroom look spa-like and fresh; and you can get them for very little money.) Add some greenery or a small bud vase to the room. Make sure all toilet seats are down, and do not have any personal toiletries out. No one wants to see your old toothbrush, razor, soap or sponge. Put away dingy or faded bath rugs, and trust us when we say potential buyers will pull back the shower curtain to see what’s behind it. So make sure the bathtub and shower are absolutely spotless.
6. Tidy up the bedrooms.
Bedrooms need to be neat, tidy and fresh. Remove all personal effects like tissue boxes, books, glasses and medicine. You should consider removing framed personal photographs, as well. And from the strange, but true department, people do not like clowns and dolls, so find the nearest toy box and put them away for showings.
7. Clear out the closets.
Pay special attention to closets, especially the smell. Closets can end up smelling like sneakers if they house your covetous shoe collection. Remove all excess items with the exception of a small wardrobe and a few pairs of shoes. And hide the junk! Nobody needs to see your closet clutter. Closets are a big selling point, so make sure they look as large and clean as they possibly can.
8. Set the table.
It is a nice touch to set the table if you have nice dinnerware or china. But this step is not necessary. At a minimum, place a vase of tasteful flowers in the center of the table.
9. Let the windows show.
Windows need to be sparkling clean. Remove all excessive or heavy draperies, swags or treatments, if possible. Open up blinds and pull shades open to show your home. If your drapes are dated, remove them completely. It is better to show a bare, clean window.
10. Keep the furniture, or at least some photos of it.
If your house is empty when you are showing it, consider renting furniture to fill the space. It is important for buyers to see how furniture functions in your home to help them visualize themselves living there. Many realtors will give the sellers a consultation by a designer, who can show them how to furnish the room. Also if it is empty, be sure to have photographs of the house when it was furnished on hand so people can refer to those images.
Have your home photographed after you have finished all of these steps, and make sure that your realtor uses a professional photographer and isn’t taking photos on his or her phone. Ninety-five percent of people look online to start their home search. Your home should look its very best in these photographs, as you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Good photography makes an incredible difference on the listing, and like we stated in number 10, if you need to show your house with no furniture, have pictures out for potential buyers that show the house when it was furnished.
Thank you to Kentucky Select realtors Nanette Tafel, Shannon Edwards and Missy Ormerod for sharing their expertise. And if you’re looking to buy a new home, click on their names to view their current listings.