If you are considering selling your home, you may be familiar with the term “staging” or the process of preparing your home for sale.  Staging, repairing and general prep of your home for sale is a must in today’s market.  Buyers really want turn-key these days.  

So how do you make your house open-house ready? Depending on your home’s condition, it may be a large, overwhelming job. You will want to stay organized and take it step-by-step.  

STEP 1:  PLAN AND PRIORITIZE

     Before getting started, it is important to understand what improvements will help you sell. Make a realistic plan that fits your budget.  First,  let go emotionally.  The moment you list your house it becomes a product.  You have to train yourself to stop thinking about it as “your home”.   Second, identify your audience.  Think about the neighborhood.  Is it young and hip and filled with first-time buyers or is it mature and established with a lot of families?  It is important to know what type of buyer you are targeting, so you can stage accordingly.   Your real estate agent can help determine what is standard in your area.  Third, determine what buyers want.  Homebuyers are looking for three things: an emotional connection, value for their money and move-in ready conditions. 

Keeping your target buyers and what they are looking for in mind, your next step is to grab a pen and paper, walk through your property and write down any problem areas.  Remember, today’s buyers are looking for move-in ready properties,  putting more time and money into updates could lead to a quicker sale and a higher sales price.

STEP 2:  TACKLE BIG-PICTURE PROJECTS

You likely found some broad issues that apply to your entire home, like worn-out carpeting or chipped paint.  Maybe your home seems cluttered or a bit out-dated, a quality that will make it hard for buyers to envision your home as their own.  These large problems can seem daunting to fix, but they are the ones that buyers will certainly notice during an open house.  

Some general fixes your should definitely consider making:

CLEANING –

Cleaning your home from top to bottom is a less expensive and relatively easy way to make your home show much better during an open house.  Paying special attention to your kitchen and bathrooms.  

DE-CLUTTERING AND DEPERSONALIZING –

Personal items, such as family photos and knickknacks are distracting and need to be put away before open house. Think of it as getting a head start on your packing.  Remember to clean out and organize closets and storage space.  Remove seasonal items — like winter coats, holiday decorations.  You can also pack up and donate items. 

FIX WHATS BROKEN –

Now is the time to complete all those little home maintenance projects you have been putting off.  Make sure broken windows, leaky faucets and nonfunctioning light switches are in working order before your open house. 

PAINTING –

A fresh coat of paint on interior walls is by far one of the most cost-effective ways to make your home show well.  When choosing a paint color, think neutral, not bland.  

REPLACING FLOORING – 

Flooring is an important update that sellers are often reluctant to make.  Some sellers choose to offer a credit instead of replacing their flooring, this is not an effective strategy.

UPDATING LIGHT FIXTURES –

Light fixtures are the jewelry of a home. They really make a difference and are also one of the first things to date a property.  

STEP 3 :  HONE IN ON THE DETAILS 

The hardest and most expensive part is out of the way.  The next step to getting your home open-house ready is to “dress it up”,  luckily, you can do this by repurposing what you already own and adding small details. Working room by room is a good strategy on this step.  

FRONT YARD AND ENTRYWAY –

Even though it’s not actually a room, don’t overlook these areas.  Sprucing up your yard and your home’s entrance is essential because it’s the first thing buyers see, you want to impress them from the start. 

LIVING ROOM – 

The living room (or the first room buyers see when they enter) is another one that needs to have the “wow” factor.  Generally speaking, less is more when it comes to living rooms. 

KITCHEN –  

Kitchens and bathrooms always look better dressed up. Once your kitchen is spotlessly clean, give it some style.

     ~remove magnets and photos off the refrigerator.

     ~clear off your countertops, you do not want your countertops to be a display of every small appliance you own.

     ~add stylish accessories, tying them together with a theme.  

     ~use greenery to fill in empty corners and add color.

BEDROOM –

A good rule of thumb when staging your bedrooms is to emphasize on luxury and comfort.

     ~turn your master bedroom into a proper master bedroom; no extra beds for the kids, no workspaces, no everyday, nice-to-have things that don’t really belong in a bedroom. 

     ~cover your everyday bedding with luxurious bedding or a nice throw. 

     ~if your mattresses are sitting on the floor, buy or rent bed frames to lift them up

BATHROOM –

Like your kitchen, your bathrooms will show a whole lot better with a little bit of style.

     ~put away your everyday towels and replace them with new towels, also add a new shower curtain and fresh, fancy soap.

     ~hide toothbrushes and other toiletries in baskets or other storage containers. 

     ~dress up the space with some candles or a silk flower arrangement.

BACKYARD –

For many people, the backyard serves as a dumping ground. Clean this space up and make it a place where buyers can see themselves spending time.

     ~add furniture, stage it as a place for entertaining. 

STEP 4 : PUT ON THE FINISHING TOUCHES 

On the big day of your open house, your property should be in tip-top condition and ready for potential buyers.  Don’t forget these last-minute details.

     ~set out vases of fresh-cut flowers, they will make your home smell nice and add a splash of color.

     ~let in the light, buyers want a bright, open house, not a dark and dreary cave, turn on all lights and open all the curtains.

     ~adjust the temperature, keep the home comfortable, not too cold or too hot.

     ~safeguard your stuff, stash all valuables and prescription medications in a safe place.

     ~leave – the last thing you want to do is make buyers feel uncomfortable, spend the day out and about and let your perfectly prepped home sell itself. 

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