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  1. Thank you for the tips!
    One more thing to keep in mind: energy-efficient homes are in demand these days and tend to sell faster.
    Replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs, installing a smart thermostat, installing proper insulation and performing HVAC maintenance — this is a wonderful set of relatively cheap things you can do to make your home more energy-efficient.

  2. We have moved a fair amount with my husband’s job & have had 7 homes & one rental. So not only have we been on the selling end of things…we have also gone through more open houses in our searches for new homes, than I would want to try to calculate! But I feel that the experiences of being a “Potential Buyer” have given me a better perspective as to what things give potential buyers either a positive or negative impression of the home, from the moment they walk in the door.

    We’ve sold 4 of our homes as “For Sale By Owner” and have had great success. I staged & cleaned all of our homes myself and actually enjoyed it. I felt that by doing these things myself, and knowing with certainty that every last nook & cranny was cleaned, and that I had “layed eyes on it” & been able to check it off my list, I was much more able & confident to talk with potential buyers about the quality, cleanliness & upkeep of the home. I simply go room by room through the home, creating a “check-list” as I do a visual inspection from ceiling down—opening cabinets/closets/drawers, inspecting light fixtures, any marks on walls or other areas that need attention/repair/touch ups. And then depending on the time I have before listing…I start prioritizing which things need to be addressed first, that might impact a potential buyer most.

    We also hired a home inspector ourselves, prior to listing our properties. This gave us an opportunity to address/correct any possible issues that may have been found during the inspection. We included the information about the home already having passed a home inspection in our online advertising description (and some companies have even given us a yard sign to place beside the “For Sale” sign, that says “This home Inspected by ABC Inspection Company” so passersby are made aware that this step has already been done.) Our buyers have always been pleasantly surprised that we have completed this step and I think by us doing the inspection pro-actively, it also gives them reassurance about the way we maintain the home, and us being conscientious about repairs/maintenance.

    As far as actually staging the homes…I too, remove any personal photos/effects, oversized or unnecessary furniture, clear all counters in kitchen & bathrooms of any clutter/appliances & store them away in a cabinet, or elsewhere in the home if possible. I have also packed some things in a plastic tote bin and stored them at a nearby family member’s/friend’s house for the short time the home is listed. Yet, I always leave s o m e t h i n g in the room….enough to give potential buyers a gd idea about how we have used the space. (One of the bonuses of selling your home by owner is that YOU get to walk potential buyers through your home & can tell them of the different ways you have used the space/possibilities for it, or even great ideas that you’ve had on your “home bucket list” that you had hoped to incorporate in your home in the future!)

    I make sure that all lights have the required number of working light bulbs in them. (Its remarkable what a difference it makes when you replace even just one burnt out light bulb in a fixture that already has several working bulbs & seems sufficiently lit.) Even just replacing one burnt out bulb in the fluorescent tube type lights, that have multiple tubes in them—in closets, storage rooms, laundry etc…will make the space noticeably brighter by making this small adjustment.

    I use a magic eraser & walk room by room through the home cleaning the areas on each door (front and back) near the door knob. Its unbelievable how even a clean home can accumulate “grime” from the oils of our skin in these high-touch areas! (And its very “satisfying” to see the before/after as you go!) I also use the magic eraser on the walls around light switches for this same reason. And since we have painted trim, I also look over the trim around door frames and the base boards—magic eraser will instantly remove any dark scuffs (from vacuums smudging the base boards to marks left on door frames by something rubbing off as it brushed by). It works well on wall scuffs/smudges too.

    I remove any off-season/unnecessary clothes, shoes etc…from every closet. My goal is to have each closet at about 50% of its possible capacity. I clear most upper shelves in the closet and wipe them down with a fresh smelling household cleaner (I love Mediterranean Lavender Pine sol) it helps leave the closet smelling fresh. (We have been through homes/open houses where you immediately smell a dank, musty smell as soon as you enter the closet or open a linen closet…big turnoff). I get everything off the floor and thoroughly vacuum the carpet & edge around the base boards. I use coordinating baskets to hold miscellaneous items on shelves/help the area look more organized/cohesive.

    I also make sure to touch up any areas on the trim that need it, with a fresh coat of paint. Having the trim look like new makes a huge impact in a room.

    And I always make a small investment in a few new decorative pillows & a coordinating cozy throw to drape over the sofa or a chair. (I think outdated or worn out decorative pillows are an easy thing for us to overlook/not notice as the home owners, yet someone walking in with “fresh eyes” will immediately notice.)

    Another big improvement/possible investment that has paid off in selling our homes, is utilizing/adding mirrors to any area that might seem dark or that we wanted to create a more “open” feel. One of my favorite places is above the stairs leading to the lower level. Often times this is near the front door & has a nice hanging light fixture above the stairs that is then reflected in the mirror. (And if I can’t find a large enough mirror for the area, placing 2 mirrors—either squares—or rectangular mirrors hung in vertical orientation—and placed fairly close together, one above the other—gives the same effect as one larger mirror, and is usually cheaper.

    Depending on the amount of time I have before listing, there are many other things I do to prepare our homes for sale. But I always ensure that the front door area is clean & inviting (use a broom to clear any cobwebs before showings, glass in sidelights is sparkling clean) and if I don’t have time/desire to do any new plantings by the front of the house, I make sure that the existing landscaping is well manicured/trimmed and I just buy a couple seasonal plants to put it pots near the front door. A new door mat and fresh coat of paint to the front door have a big impact too.

  3. I love how you said that removing furniture is actually a good idea because emptiness is good. It makes sense that potential buyers would want to see the bones of the house, not your furniture. Is it a good idea to hire a professional to help stage a home?

  4. I really like that you mention getting a storage unit when staging a home, to make the home seem as spacious and clutter free as possible. My wife and I are getting ready to put our home on the market and want to be prepared to stage it. Thanks for the tips-they’ll come in handy as we start making preparations for the sale!

  5. These are great tips I will pass along to my mom who getting ready to put her house on the market. Thank you for sharing on Merry Monday! Hope to see ya next week! Sharing on FB.

  6. Thank you for sharing these valuable tips with us! They’re super helpful and useful =)