Prepping and Staging a House
Every seller wants their home to sell fast at the best possible price. So through careful planning and knowing how to professionally spruce up your home will send home buyers scurrying for their checkbooks. Here is how to prep a house and turn it into an irresistible and marketable home.
Time Required: Seven to 10 Days
1. Disassociate Yourself With Your Home.
- Say to yourself, “This is not my home; it is a house — a product to be sold much like a box of cereal on the supermarket shelf.
- Make the mental decision to “let go” of your emotions and focus on the fact that soon this house will no longer be yours.
- Picture yourself handing over the keys and envelopes containing appliance warranties to the new owners!
- Don’t look backwards — look toward the future.
Pack up those personal photographs and family heirlooms. Buyers can’t see past personal artifacts, and you don’t want them to be distracted. You want buyers to imagine their own photos on the walls, and they can’t do that if yours are there! You don’t want to make any buyer ask, “I wonder what kind of people live in this home?” You want buyers to say, “I can see myself living here.”
People collect an amazing quantity of items. Consider this: if you haven’t used it in over a year, you probably don’t need it.
- If you don’t need it, why not donate it or throw it away?
- Pack up those knickknacks.
- Clean off everything on kitchen worksurfaces.
- Put essential items used daily in a small box that can be stored in a cupboard when not in use.
- Think of this process as a head-start on the packing you will eventually need to do anyway.
4. Rearrange Bedroom Wardrobes and Kitchen Cabinets.
Buyers love to snoop and will open wardrobes and cabinet doors. Think of the message it sends if items fall out! Now imagine what a buyer believes about you if they see everything organised. It says you probably take good care of the rest of the house as well. This means:
- Alphabetize spice jars.
- Neatly stack dishes.
- Turn coffee cup handles facing the same way.
- Hang shirts together, buttoned and facing the same direction.
- Line up shoes.
5. Rent a Storage Unit.
Almost every home shows better with less furniture. Remove pieces of furniture that block or hamper paths and walkways and put them in storage. Leave just enough furniture in each room to showcase the room’s purpose and plenty of room to move around. You don’t want buyers scratching their heads and saying, “What is this room used for?”
6. Remove/Replace Favorite Items.
If you want to take window coverings, built-in appliances or fixtures with you, remove them now. If the chandelier in the dining room once belonged to your great grandmother, take it down. If a buyer never sees it, they won’t want it. Pack those items and replace them, if necessary.
7. Make Minor Repairs.
- Replace cracked floor or counter tiles.
- Patch holes in walls.
- Fix leaky taps.
- Fix doors that don’t close properly and kitchen drawers that jam.
- Consider painting your walls neutral colors, especially if you have grown accustomed to purple or pink walls.
(Don’t give buyers any reason to remember your home as “the house with the orange bathroom.”)
- Replace burned-out light bulbs.
- If you’ve considered replacing a worn bedspread, do so now!
8. Make the House Sparkle!
- Wash windows inside and out.
- Rent a pressure washer and spray down pathways and exterior.
- Clean out cobwebs.
- Re-new sealant around baths, showers and sinks.
- Polish chrome taps and mirrors.
- Clean out the refrigerator.
- Vacuum daily.
- Wax floors.
- Dust furniture, ceiling fan blades and light fixtures.
- Bleach dingy grout.
- Replace worn rugs.
- Hang up fresh towels.
- Go outside and open your front door. Stand there. Do you want to go inside? Does the house welcome you?
- Linger in the doorway of every single room and imagine how your house will look to a buyer.
- Examine carefully how furniture is arranged and move pieces around until it makes sense.
- Make sure window coverings hang level.
- Tune in to the room’s statement and its emotional pull. Does it have impact?
- Does it look like nobody lives in this house? You’re almost finished.
10. Check Kerb Appeal.
If a buyer won’t get out of their car because they don’t like the exterior of your home, you’ll never get them inside.
- Keep pathways clear.
- Mow the lawn.
- Paint faded window trim.
- Plant yellow flowers or group flower pots together. Yellow evokes a buying emotion. Marigolds are inexpensive.
- Make sure visitors can clearly read your house number.