Decluttering your closets is an important step when getting your home ready to sell and this task should not be overlooked! Seriously, potential home buyers will look in every single closet and you want to show them that your home does in fact have ample storage.
To get started set aside some time and get some boxes or bags. Depending on your closet you may need to schedule a whole day, but for sure a couple hours.
Next step is to take everything out of the closet and separate it into 2 piles. Love, it’s going back. No longer love, it’s going away.
Now, clean the closet. Wipe down the walls and vacuum or scrub the floors.
After you’ve cleaned the closets it’s finally time to put everything back in. A few tips to keep things looking orderly; try to keep things off the floor including shoes, organize by color, if you’re using bins, label them and if possible use all the same color or type of hangers.
Once everything is back in your closet give yourself a quick pat on the back but don’t forget about that other pile. You know all that stuff you no longer want. It’s time to load it up and either throw it out or donate it. You are not done until this step is complete.
Keeping your house clean for showings can be stressful, I get it. But if you start with a clean slate and follow these 3 tips every single day I promise your house will always be show ready.
Get in the habit of re-setting every room. If you brought in a cup of water, take it out. If you snuggled in with a blanket, put it away. I could go on, but I think you get the point. If you used it, put it away when you’re done.
At the end of the night take 15 minutes and make sure there are no dishes in the sink, the dishwasher has been started, the floors have been swept and the trash has been taken out.
Before you leave the house make sure the bed has been made, the breakfast dishes have been put away, the window treatments have been opened, the kitchen and bathroom surfaces have been wiped down and you’ve flushed all the toilets.
When you break down the cleaning to manageable chunks it shouldn’t get overwhelming. Last piece of advice, if you live with others, delegate and the process of keeping your house clean for showings gets even easier.
Preparing your home for the world to see is hard work. I wish I could say it’s easy but it’s not. And the one thing I’ve realized after helping so many of our clients through this process is that you you can’t do this work until you disconnect from your home and see it as a buyer would see it.
That means taking off the rose colored glasses, seeing beyond the cute little quirks you’ve grown used to. The door that doesn’t quite close in the bathroom, the broken cabinet in the kitchen and that outdated paint color in the foyer. Making the repairs and sprucing up the home by adding a few extra special touches even if you think they’re silly go along way in creating a memorable experience for the buyer.
Let’s start with the Exterior
But where do you start? Let’s break it down and let’s start at the exterior, after all that’s where a buyer will start too. Take a good hard look at the trim, is it in need of paint? How about that front door? The landscaping? Do you have any dead overgrown bushes? If the house is in good repair buyers will think it’s been well maintained and if they like the way the outside looks they’ll naturally want to go inside.
You’ve heard this advice no doubt 1,000 times. The key to making the interior shine is to clean and declutter. And then clean and declutter again. Space is everything to a new home buyer. If you’re stuff doesn’t fit in this house how will theirs? And if you don’t know what to do with a room, they won’t either. A few things to ask yourself as you move around your house. Is this piece of furniture necessary? Is it blocking the flow of the room, a window? How do the walls look? When is the last time they’ve been painted? Oh and don’t forget the trim, trust me when I tell you that when you paint the walls, the trim that you thought was ok before will no longer be ok. One things leads to another when you rip the band-aid off.
Now let’s set the stage
Now that you’ve identified all the necessary repairs, fix them and let’s move to setting the stage. This is the fun part. Or at least this is the fun part for me. Let’s start again outside by placing a couple pots of flowers or winter greens by the front and back door. If you have a deck be sure to put some flowers on the table. Get a new welcome mat, sweep and lay fresh mulch if necessary.
When you move inside don’t forget to continue with the flowers. A few of my favorite spots; the dining room table, the kitchen island and the bathroom counter. Make sure the kitchen sink is empty, take out the garbage, wipe down the sink and the counters – don’t forget the stainless steel appliances. Fluff the pillows and add a throw to the sofa. Make sure the beds are made. Hang new towels in the bathrooms. Please make sure the toilet seat is down. Sweep or vacuum. Open up all the window treatments and turn on every single light. And finally check the temp of the home. The buyer should be comfortable, never too cold or too hot.
And I know this sounds like a lot but it will make for a successful showing. I promise. Also please never ever ever turn down a showing. Multiple buyers can view your home at the same time, the Realtors will work it out. If you turn them down you most likely will never see that buyer again, they’re quick to move on.
Over 90% of prospective home owners start their home search online. 90%. That’s a lot of people making decisions about your home based on the listing pictures they see online.
You get one chance for your homes listing pictures to make a great first impression. If the buyers like what they see they’ll set up a showing if they don’t they move on to the next one. So how do you make your homes listing pictures shine online? A good photographer is a key element but it’s also important for you to consider how things will look in pictures. What we see in real life can often be distracting in a picture.
Still not sure what to do? Follow these tips below.
Don’t do this on your own. Even if you’re a professional like I am. We all get too attached to our homes and we don’t see them the way others will see them. That bright pink flower in the office, I don’t even see it anymore, except when I got the pictures back, it was all I could see.
Block out a significant amount of time to do this. Because it’s going to take longer than you think. You’re not only removing items, you’re cleaning. Every surface needs to be wiped down and the floors need to be cleaned because you can see dirt in the pictures. Trust me on this one if you can see the dust on the floor and the smears on the window the camera will too.
Remove everything from your kitchen counters and then remove one more thing. Yes that includes the coffee maker. And then add in 1 or 2 pretty things so it’s not completely empty. Do this in the bathroom too.
Make your bed really well, a messy, rumpled bed does not look good. Once the bed is made add a few decorative pillows. Skip the draped throw at the end of the bed, if it’s not done right it looks odd.
Remove all the tchotchkes from the window sills and that pile of books next to the couch. Despite what we’re led to believe on Instagram those things don’t translate well in pictures.
Remove all items hanging from the ceiling.
Make sure all the window treatments are open. Nothing looks worse in a picture than heavy drapes covering a window.
Remove the rugs from your kitchen. Rugs tend to stop the eye and break up the space. Removing them will make the space appear larger.
Make sure the art work is centered and not hung too high.
Paint your rooms a neutral color. Listen I love color, and I’m not afraid to use it. But if I was really going to sell my home I would paint my bright orangey/red family room a neutral color. Because I’m not even sure I like the color when I see it in pics. It was distracting and it doesn’t match the rest of my home.
We stage a lot of homes. And before we get too far please note I am not a professional stager, although I am certified, staging is not our business. We don’t bring in the furniture and the pretty decor to stage your home, we work with people who do that. Instead we work with the home owner and use their belongings to stage the home and get it ready for sale.
Here are my most frequently recommended staging tips.
Remove the rugs in the kitchen and in the bathroom. They distract the eye and they break up the space. This makes the space feel smaller than it is. Removing them makes the space appear larger.
Clear your countertops of everything useful. And yes that includes the coffee pot. I know it’s a pain but we’re selling countertops in the kitchen. A clear countertop will look clean and larger than it is. It says to the buyer there’s plenty of room to make all the cookies and prep for dinner.
Remove all the decor above your cabinets. It takes the eye up exactly where we don’t want it to go.
Buy clean new fluffy towels, a candle and some fresh flowers for the bathroom. They give the bathroom a spa like feeling and they don’t cost a lot.
Put a bouquet of fresh flowers on the dining room table. If you don’t like fresh flowers a houseplant will do. And at the moment they may be a better, trendier option. Just be sure to buy a hardy houseplant if you have a black thumb.
Open all the window treatments and let the light in. And while you’re at it replace all those awful fluorescent lightbulbs. Yes I know they save energy and last longer but they give off a horrible light.
Paint. I recommend Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter or Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige over and over again. Because they’re neutral and paint is one of the easiest things you can do to freshen, update and modernize the look of your home.
Not everyone needs a professional stager but every home needs to be staged. Staging your home for sale is simply highlighting your homes best features by removing all the unnecessary distractions. This helps potential new buyers focus on the features of your home instead of getting distracted by your ‘stuff’ and that to do list they started putting together the minute they walked through the front door. Not sure where to start. It’s easy, just follow these five simple home staging rules in every room of your home.
De-personalize your home. A few personal pictures in your bedroom or your kids bedrooms are fine but a whole gallery wall dedicated to your littles in the living room or your wedding picture hanging over the fireplace are too much for potential buyers. Personal pictures distract the buyers from everything but that picture. Do you really want the buyers to admire and remember your wedding picture or would you prefer that they remember the fireplace?
Declutter your home. Simply put we all have too much stuff. Less is more when it comes to selling. Less stuff makes spaces feel larger and that’s exactly what you want. If the buyer feels like your stuff doesn’t fit how will there stuff ever fit? Pay particular attention to closets and storage spaces when decluttering.
Clean. Now that all that extra stuff is out of the way it’s time to give your home a really deep clean. I mean it, wash down every wall, every cabinet and pay particular attention the kitchen and bathrooms. Dirt, grime and strange smells have turned off plenty of buyers.
Make all the required repairs. Every single one. Now that your house is clean and the clutter is gone the things that need to be done will be noticeable. That piece of missing tile in the entry you covered with a basket. The chipped paint in the living room, the broken window pane in the bathroom. I could go on but I think you get the point. Deferred maintenance says to the buyer that the home was not well taken care of and well that’s just not true, right?
Neutralize and modernize. The days of everyone wanting a fixer upper are gone. The majority of the buyers don’t have the time or the money, they want to move right in. If needed replace the avocado green appliances, paint that red dining room a neutral color and replace that shag carpeting in the basement.