A clean home shows potential buyers that you’ve taken good care of the property. Ideally, you should clean every part of the house, from the floors to the ceilings—and everything in between.
If you don’t have new appliances in the kitchen, make sure the existing ones are spotless. Likewise, make sure your bathrooms sparkle, from the corners of the tub, to the sink drain, to that spot behind the toilet you don’t think anyone can see. Your goal should be to make everything look new.
2. De Clutter
There are two major problems with clutter. One is that it distracts buyers from your home’s features. The other is that it makes it seem like the home has less space.
Now is the time to box up and put into storage the things you don’t need on a day-to-day basis (think: knickknacks, games, papers, seasonal clothes, and messy hobbies). It’s also time to get rid of things you no longer need—like the expired food in the back of the cabinets, and the clothes and toys the kids have long since outgrown.
3. De Personalise
Buyers need to be able to envision themselves in your home, so remove all the family photos, keepsakes, and refrigerator art. Keep clothes hidden away as much as possible, and make sure the bathroom counters are empty (except for hand soap, of course). Likewise, put away all the toys and anything else that is highly personal or evocative of the home’s current inhabitants.
4. Define Rooms
Make sure that each room has a single, defined purpose. And make sure that every space within each room has a purpose. This will help buyers see how to maximize the home’s square footage. If you have a finished attic, make it into an office. A finished basement can become an entertainment room, and a junk room can be transformed into a guest bedroom.
Common areas like the living room, dining room, and kitchen should be your main focus if you are going to add hardwood floors. Ideally, you should upgrade the bathrooms, too. They have relatively little floor area and therefore won’t be too expensive. In kitchens and bathrooms, go with ceramic tile or stone if you can afford it. If not, use high-quality vinyl tiles that mimic these more expensive materials.
Take advantage of your home’s natural light. Open all curtains and blinds when showing your home. Add fixtures where necessary, and turn on all the lights for showings (including those in the closets). This makes your home appear brighter and more inviting, and it saves buyers from having to hunt for light switches. If you think your existing fixtures are fine, be sure to dust them and clean off any grime. Otherwise, outdated and broken light fixtures are easy and cheap to replace.
The exterior and the entryway—which factor into the home’s “curb appeal“—are important points of focus because they can heavily impact a buyer’s first impression. They may even determine someone’s interest in viewing the inside of the house.
Make sure your lawn, hedges, trees, and other plants are neatly pruned, and be sure to get rid of any weeds. Wash windows well, and consider adding flower boxes to brighten them up even more. If you can, power wash your home’s exterior—this can make it look almost freshly painted but with less effort and expense.
8. Final Touches
Just before any open house or showing, make sure that your staging efforts have the maximum impact with a few last-minute touches that will make the home seem warm and inviting. Put fresh flowers in vases, let fresh air into the house for at least ten minutes beforehand so it isn’t stuffy, light a few candles (soft and subtle fragrances only), and put new, plush towels in the bathrooms.