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This is not a trick question.  YES, you do, and you can do it!  How?  You need to SUBTLY help buyers visualize themselves living in the house – you need to STAGE IT!  You will not need an HGTV budget to do this.  There are simple no-cost and low-cost ways to do it yourself.  (Remember, you want to get more money, so don’t spend a lot to get a lot.)  But you will need to use a lot of elbow grease and make some tough decisions. 

Here are some ideas to get you started, followed by some finishing touches:

Clean your home until it **sparkles** -- kitchens and bathrooms are critical.  But don’t forget to clean all floors, windows, carpets, lights, mirrors – everything – in every room. Use a SUBTLE scent to make your home smell fresh and clean…bleach and household cleaners smell clean but are not inviting. 


De-clutter your home.  Take down the personal photos, the sports memorabilia (everyone does not love your team), your “collections”, all trinkets and knick-knacks, refrigerator magnets and artwork…you get the picture…everything personal.  Pack it up in preparation for moving to your next home.

Clear your kitchen counters of all appliances, cannisters, spices, potholders, used kitchen towels, dish detergents, sponges.  Put them away in cabinets, drawers, the pantry.  Clear your bathroom vanity of all toiletries and personal items.  Put them in the cabinets and drawers and linen closet. 

Take down the heavy curtains/drapes.  Let the sunshine in.  Dust the blinds. Replace every light bulb in the home – overhead lights and lamps.  Keep all doors between rooms and hallways open.  You want the next room to beckon your buyers.  Remove all artificial plants and flowers.

Assess your wall colors and paint condition.  Are they neutral?  Or are they “commitment” colors that could be a turn-off?  You may need to refresh some paint or do some touch-ups.  If you must have color, consider one accent wall.

Organize your kids’ toys.  Use baskets, shelves, bins.  Give buyers an opportunity to see that they can live an orderly, organized life in that house.  Organize your closets…really organize.  Organize the garage.

Critically assess your furniture.  Is your furniture properly scaled to the size of your rooms?  You want to make sure you create the illusion of more space in some rooms.  For instance, if you have a large sofa, loveseat, chair, side tables, coffee table, console, etc. you may want to consider taking out a couple or more pieces and storing them.

Now you have a clean palette to begin your staging. Your home probably looks like no one “lives” there, right?  GREAT!  Here comes the fun part.  Remember the word “SUBTLE”.  Don’t smack them in the face with your designs. 


Consider these ideas:

Accessorize judiciously…a pretty book on the coffee table, a clear vase of fresh flowers (not artificial) on the dining room table, a bowl of lemons on the kitchen counter, neutrally-themed artwork with splashes of color, new throw pillows with the colors from the artwork, and maybe one “splashy” accessory.   Buy some “show towels” for the kitchen and bath.  Consider some pretty guest soaps or soap dispensers. 

Set the table.  Do not use a tablecloth – it makes the room look smaller.  Use a runner or place-mats, cloth napkins, and everyday china, glassware, and flatware that matches.  Use a small centerpiece.

Pull furniture away from the walls about 3 or 4 inches.  Rearrange furniture to create “conversation” groups.  Make sure you have nice lamps and clean lampshades – lamps give a soft glow to your spaces.

If your cat threw up a hairball in the middle of the room and the stain just will not come out, consider purchasing an attractive area rug that coordinates with walls, art, furniture, throw pillows.

MAKE YOUR BEDS!!!  Invest in some new bed linens with clean, crisp lines.  (You can take it with you to the next home.)  You want your bedrooms to appear quiet and tranquil – a respite.  Perhaps add a couple of throw pillows and a lovely throw.  Clear your dresser tops and bedside tables.  Make sure you have soft lighting in the bedroom.

DO NOT FORGET THE EXTERIOR OF YOUR HOME – CURB APPEAL!  I talked about that in a former article…let me know if you need a copy. 

The final test…invite your real estate broker over to see what you have done.  Get his or her feedback!  Your home will be memorable in the minds of buyers.  You will most certainly sell it more quickly, get more positive feedback, and get a better offer.

If you have questions or need help in selling your home and/or buying a home, please give me a call me!

Belinda Faulkner, Broker      

Moorefield Real Estate  


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