What All Home Sellers Need to Know

A professional stager will help you address the specific goals for preparing your property for sale. Your home’s colors, arrangement, personality, flow and function are all critical to a successful sale. Once you and your stager have completed your selling strategy, our part is to keep the property in its best showing condition until you have a firm sale.

Above and beyond the specific recommendations for your property, these guidelines are for everyone who wants a successful showing. You should expect some disruption and extra tasks while your house is staged for sale. Delegating tasks among family members is a good idea. Remember that the result of your diligent efforts will be to impress the buyers and bring you closer to a satisfactory sale.

Preparation for showings

o The outside is as important as the inside, and not just for scheduled showings. 74% of showings come from successful drive bys. Keep the garage door closed and outdoor toys and garden supplies out of sight. Strive for a no-maintenance appearance in the yard no matter what season it is. Healthy gardens, trees and shrubs will enhance drive by appeal and first impressions.

o The approach to the home and the front door itself should be in pristine condition. Shake the front welcome mat; sweep away any dust, debris, spider webs, snow etc from the front area.

o Keep the front entry clean and clear of shoes, bags, coats, etc. In most cases the buyer should be brought in through the front. Perhaps a back door can be used by the family to help keep the first impression area in excellent condition while the house is staged to sell.

o While on the market, a regular, thorough cleaning is crucial, with special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms. It may help to only use one of the bathrooms in the house until the house sells. To freshen and clear your drains, dump baking soda in the drain, pour vinegar over it, allow fizzing, and then rinse well with hot water. Use a squeegee for daily cleaning of shower and tub area; last person out does it. Regularly use a mix of a mild cleaner and vinegar in a spray bottle to freshen and clean most surfaces. Products such as Vim and the Mr Clean sponge, although not environmentally friendly, are good for cleaning off scuffs and fingerprints. Avoid strong smelling cleaning agents like Pine Sol which leave an odor in the house. Keep pledge mitts or micro-fiber cloths and lint rollers handy so you can quickly dust and pick up pet hair and don’t forget windows and mirrors. Use a blow dryer to remove dust from lampshades and drapes. It’s handy to have a handheld vacuum for quick clean up of crumbs and dust bunnies.

o Complete any wall repair, hole filling or touch ups as required. There should be no dripping taps or other maintenance requirements in evidence. Fresh paint is almost always a good investment in selling. Old issues which have been repaired but not cosmetically corrected can be a nasty red flag for buyers, so patch and paint as needed.

o It’s a good idea to prepare the house each morning, in case a showing is requested while you are out. If possible have the whole family keep the house ready throughout the listing so that getting ready for showings will be much faster and easier. This means all beds are made, everything is picked up and put away, garbage cans are emptied…the entire house is clean and tidy.

o Keep toilet seats down; closet and cupboard doors closed; all personal items out of sight including valuables, photos, diplomas, religious items and toiletries; and all floor areas, countertops, shelves and table tops cleared of small and personal items.

o Keep rooms and surfaces clear, as your stager arranged. Don’t let things like magazines and mail accumulate.

o Closet, cupboard and shelf contents should be kept minimized and organized neatly to show spaciousness. Aim for one third empty, with floor areas completely cleared.

o Avoid odors such as from pets, garbage, cooking, or hockey gear in the house, garage or yard. Let in fresh air on a regular basis. Do not use artificial air fresheners. Many people have allergies; others may wonder what you are trying to hide. Aim for no scent, even over scents of baking pies and such that used to be the tricks of selling. Mildly scented soaps and candles can be an exception in bathrooms and closets.

o Keep very clean all pet areas including dishes, beds, toys and toilet facilities whether inside or out. Place pet food in airtight containers to avoid odors. Because some people associate pets with fear or germs and dirt, strive to show no evidence that pets live in the house. Before showings, drop pets at your prearranged location, or ensure they are away from the main showing areas. Tuck away pet beds, dishes, toys, etc.

o Don’t smoke in the house or have dirty ashtrays in or around the house. Nonsmokers will sniff these out quickly and assume substantial cost to remove any trace odors.

o Use a dehumidifier if you have a basement. During showings, however, it is better to tuck dehumidifiers, smoke eaters and fans out of sight. Volcanic rock can be very effective in small areas to eliminate odors. If you have more serious odors in the home that you cannot get rid of, consider the use of an ozone machine or enzyme spray to clean the air; these can be effective for eliminating odors such as mildew, paint, glue, cooking, pet, and smoke.

o Fully open all window coverings during the day to maximize light, views and a feeling of spaciousness, unless the view is less than desirable. Ensure all light bulbs are working, and increase the wattage if warranted. Do not use bulbs that do not hit full strength immediately. Turn on the lights where the natural lighting is at all dim. Take a walk through after dark to predetermine the best lighting for evening showings. In general, specialty and ambiance lighting is ideal while overhead lights may be too harsh.

o For showings have the kitchen sink empty and shining, clear of dishes and dish cloths, etc. Use bleach, baking soda or Windex if needed to bring back a shine and remove coffee or tea stains. Place just enough on the countertops for interest while tucking away the day to day appliances, etc to maximize the perceived size of the kitchen prep areas.

o Fresh, healthy flowers are a nice touch in the foyer, master bath, powder room, and /or kitchen. Fruit can be a beautiful accent in kitchens if very fresh and bountiful, but be careful because insects such as fruit flies are a definite no-no. Imitation flowers and fruit are acceptable if well chosen; at first glance they should look real. Faux flowers and fruit are low maintenance, don’t wilt or get eaten.

Wishing you a successful and speedy sale.

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