Stage Your Home

Staging has quickly become an absolute necessity in today's real estate market, and the sellers who embrace it profit from it. The key is presenting the property to the largest number of homebuyers in the best possible light and in the most appealing state. Staging isn't terribly difficult or costly, but it takes a trained professional to assist sellers to view their home objectively and zero in on areas that need to be addressed.

The five most important things any seller can do are the following:
  1. Clean
  2. Repair or replace
  3. De-clutter
  4. De-personalize
  5. Neutralize

Carolyn is an expert "stager" and will be more than happy to evaluate your home for maximum stage appeal. She has a great eye and knows exactly what to do to make a house look its best to sell. This is another service that sets the Breihan Malecek Team apart and has made Steve and Carolyn so successful in getting their listings sold.

A few suggestions:
  • If applicable, keep your yard mowed, raked, fertilized, and watered.
  • Remove all toys, bicycles, tools, unsightly patio furniture, trash items, debris, etc., from your yard.
  • Trees and shrubs should be pruned and trimmed. Lawns and gardens (if applicable) should be weeded regularly.
  • All hoses, garden equipment and trash cans should be out of sight.
  • Outdoor furniture should be kept clean and/or repainted if needed. Stack firewood out of sight.
  • Walkways and driveways should be clear of debris. In the winter, clear off snow and ice.
  • Ensure that your street number is legible.
  • Porches, steps, balconies, patios, and other areas should be uncluttered, swept, and in good condition.
  • Paint all entrance doors. It is at this point that potential buyers form an opinion of the house prior to entering.
  • Paint or refinish the decks or porches if they show any signs of wear.
  • Ensure that the exterior paint on your home is in good condition, and if it is in need of any paint, paint it. Investing in painting your house can make the difference between "turning on" the buyer and sending up a "red flag" about your home's condition. You may lose buyers due to what you consider an insignificant issue.
  • Gates, fences, sheds, and other outer buildings should be cleaned, repaired and painted.
  • Clean, repair, and paint all gutters and downspouts.
  • All loose roof shingles, tiles, and the like should be secured or replaced. If the roof leaks, fix it! Remove all traces of prior water damage to the ceiling inside your home once the problem has been resolved.
  • Make sure that the garage door opens easily. Repair and paint it if needed.

Now...evaluate the inside of your property through the critical eyes of the buyer!

  • Wash all windows, inside and out, adding to the overall impression and to help your property show in a nice, bright light. Curtains should be clean and attractive.
  • Remove all smoke, pet, and hobby odors from the property.
  • Clean all light fixtures and replace any burned out bulbs
  • Clean your carpeting and if it does not show well, replace it. Use a neutral color, or remove the carpet if hardwood floors underneath are in good condition.
  • Clean everything in your house from top to bottom, from the attic to the basement.
  • Remove all "junk" from the attic, basement, closets, garage, tool shed, and especially from the storage area if your property has one. Large storage areas are appealing to buyers. Rent a storage area or POD for those items that need to be cleared out of these areas to make the space look bigger.
  • Remove posters and adhesive from walls and doors. Putty and paint any holes that result from nails or other mishaps.
  • Clean or paint the basement walls and floor.
  • Remove all cobwebs.
  • Paint all inside walls with light colored neutral paint. Use two or more coats to cover bold, bright, or dark walls. All walls should be painted - not just washed - brightening the property and making it look much larger.
  • Ensure that the doorbell is in good working order.
  • Make sure that all entrance doors - front door, storm door, screen door - are in excellent condition. If not, replace them. Again, this is the first impression the buyer has of the property. Lighting and cleanliness are especially important.
  • Repair or replace broken tiles on walls or floors in showers.
  • Repair or remove loose wallpaper.
  • Improve the plumbing to increase water pressure. Buyers will check this every time. Replace the washers in the faucet and remove rust stains.
  • Clean under all sinks and around the furnace, hot water heater, etc.
  • Keep countertops clear.
  • Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms need to be spotless.

Your house is being "interviewed" by the potential buyer. Use these tips to ensure that your home's best features are displayed.

  • Open the draperies and leave them open. Pull up the shades, and let in the sunlight. Rooms bathed in sunlight appear bigger and make a positive impact on buyers.
  • Install higher wattage light bulbs to show your property brightly - in its best light. Turn on all lights for every showing even if it's a bright day outside.
  • Remove all "clutter" from each room. Remove things such as coats, shoes, clothing, pet toys, pet food bowls, trash cans, toys, child-safety barriers, playpens, and the like. Keep all nonessential items off the floor so that the room doesn't appear cluttered. Uncluttered rooms appear bigger.
  • Make sure that beds are made with bedspreads smoothed out. Also, linens and curtains should be fresh and clean. Keep laundry out of sight.
  • Organize closets. Remove unnecessary items and put them in storage. Large closets sell houses and a well-organized closet looks much bigger than one crammed with clutter.
  • Dust and vacuum floors often. Don't leave soiled towels lying around. Wipe showers after each use.
  • Re-caulk the shower or bathtub if the current caulk is not spotless.
  • Create a positive mood. If it is cold outside, keep a comfortable level of heat. If it is summertime, keep your property cool.
  • Keep pets out of the way—preferably out of the house. Some people are afraid of or do not like animals and their odors, and buyers may raise undue concerns about the condition of carpeting.
  • Play soft music (preferably classical music) during the showing of the property. Turn off television sets.