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Staging Center

The Kitchen

Many experts recommend that you focus on the kitchen first when preparing your home for sale. For many potential buyers, the kitchen is the most important room in the house. Since the kitchen has the power to make or break an offer, you should do everything you can to enhance it before showing your home to buyers. And, most experts agree that next to painting, improvements in the kitchen are the most profitable. Remember though, money you spend here is a cost of selling, you don't want to do a full remodel, but rather take some affordable steps to show what you have in the best possible light.

Start by creating space. You want the kitchen to look large, light and roomy. Clear the counters of all clutter. Take everything you can out of drawers and shelves and move it to storage. You can almost count on buyers opening your drawers and shelves when they come to see your home. What you want them to see is space, and plenty of it, not your old pots and pans.

Consider paint. Paint is always the most profitable improvement. A fresh coat of light, neutral color paint on your kitchen walls will make them look spotless and new which is exactly the look you want.

Pay particular attention to the sink. It should be absolutely free of stains and of course there should be no leaks or drips! If your faucet looks old and dated, consider replacing it with a new one, it will go a long way towards improving the look of the whole kitchen, for very little money.

If your counter tops are looking old and tired, you should consider new ones. Remember to stick with neutral colors though.

Freshen up the cabinets. Replacing the cabinets is expensive and probably doesn't make sense. However, you can paint them, or put new, modern looking pulls on them for very little money and give them a fresh look. In short, buyers will be quick to notice any shortcomings in your kitchen. So you want to do everything you reasonably can to freshen up your kitchen and give it a new open large look.

Staging Checklist

Remove all clutter from the house.

  • Are countertops free and clear?
  • Have you removed unnecessary furniture throughout the house?
  • Remove the art gallery and coupon collection from the refrigerator.

Check the bathrooms.

  • Are the surfaces clean and clear?
  • Are shower curtains and doors hung properly?
  • Are the toilets clean?
  • Is the flooring clean and fresh?
  • Are towels neatly hung?

Check the walls.

  • Is paint and wallpaper fresh and clean?
  • Are the walls free from holes?
  • Are there any objects on the walls that need to be removed?

Check the floors.

  • Is the carpet clean and free from stains?
  • Are hard surface floors clean and free from stains?

Check windows and window coverings.

  • Are all the windows clean?
  • Are draperies and blinds clean?

Pet check.

  • Are there any signs that this is a pet's home? Be sure to clean and remove kitty litter, pet toys and bedding.

How's the aroma?

  • Try to air out the home prior to showings.
  • If air freshener is necessary, use well before showings as a consideration to those with allergies.

Set the mood prior to showings.

  • Open draperies and blinds.
  • Turn on the radio to a classical music station, set the volume on low.
  • If you have time, cook a batch of cookies to have the warm, welcoming aroma permeating the home.
  • Turn on ALL lights in the home.

Curb Appeal List

Inspect the outside grounds. Remove any building materials, scrap wood, discarded household items, etc. from the property. Store garbage cans in the garage or behind the fence.

Check the home from the roof line down.

  • Is the roof free and clear from obstructions and moss?
  • Are the gutters clear and neatly hung?
  • Are the windows clean and free from obstructions (such as overgrown bushes or trees)?
  • Are bushes, trees and shrubs neatly pruned?

Inspect the condition of the paint or siding?

  • Is it time to power wash the siding?
  • Is touch up paint needed?
  • Is the front door in good shape with nice paint or stain and door hardware that doesn’t look worn?

Do flower beds need an upgrade?

  • Are plants neatly pruned?
  • Is the bed free and clear of weeds?
  • Is the bed properly mulched?
  • Are flowers in bloom?

Keep the lawn neatly groomed.

  • Is the lawn free from weeds?
  • Is the lawn free from grass clippings?
  • Is the lawn neatly edged?

You Should Paint

There are many factors involved in marketing and selling your home. Unfortunately, you can't control most of them. The curb appeal of your home plays a big role in the sales process, and it's one of the things you can have direct control over. You'll never get another chance to make a first impression of how your home looks from the street. If your home exterior needs new paint, potential buyers might not even get out of their car to come in and look. Putting fresh paint on your home, both on the outside and the inside, is usually the one thing you can do that pays off the quickest. You'll get more buyers looking, and they'll like what they see, translating into a better chance for a quick offer at a higher price.

Try to stick with light, neutral colors. These seem to resonate best with buyers. A fresh coat of light beige on interior walls will freshen up your home and make it more marketable.

Simply put, new paint is usually the most profitable improvement you can make when getting your home ready for sale.

The Backyard

You only get one chance to make a first impression. When buyers are looking at your home, they will usually know almost instantly whether they like it or not. Make sure that by the time they get to looking at the backyard, you keep that great first impression going. Especially during summer months, when buyers will be thinking about barbeques and children playing, the backyard can make an important impression.

If you have a pool or hot tub make sure you keep it looking clean and neat. If your lawn is looking a little bit weak, some fertilizer and watering will bring back the deep green color. Be sure you mow and edge your lawn frequently until your home is sold. Cut back overgrown shrubs to show more of the exterior of your home. It will look more tidy and also makes the yard look larger. Fences should be in good repair and you should consider staining them. Make sure all latches and hinges are in good working order. If you have a dog, be extra vigilant to keep the “evidence” to a minimum. You can plant a few annuals to add some instant color that looks great. If you have a patio, make sure the furniture is clean and strategically placed. Consider adding some potted plants.

In short, do everything you can to make your back yard look as inviting and large as possible. It could mean the difference between an excited buyer and one with nagging doubts!

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