This is the second part of the series called ‘How to Sell House Fast!’ In Step 1 we discussed Finishing Projects and Repairs. Now that we have completed all of those old projects and repaired broken items, it is time to move on to Declutter and Staging your house. As motivation, remember that properly preparing your home for sale can get you an additional 10-15% per offer!
It is important to declutter your house so it appears to have lots of storage space. Potential buyers want to feel like they can easily fit all their belongings and be well-organized. All built-in cabinets and closets are fair game for potential buyers to inspect. These areas must be clean, neat, and orderly. There are several key areas in your house where you will want to focus your time.
- Counter tops: Remove clutter from kitchen counter tops to show an expanse of counter space. Rule of thumb suggests that you should not have more than 3 items on your counter.
- Under the sink: Remove as many items as possible from under the sink. Place any remaining items in bins or baskets to keep them orderly.
- Cabinets: Pack away anything that you have not used in the past year. Remember all those items you purchased at that Pampered Chef party? Don’t forget the fondue set and bread maker you received as a wedding gift. They can all go into storage while your house is on the market.
- Pantry: Throw away all spices that are over a year old. Box up any dry goods that can go to the Food Bank.
- Refrigerator/freezer: You may not plan to include your appliances in the sale of your house, but they can be used as a negotiating tactic…if they are in good shape. Use this opportunity to give the refrigerator and freezer a full clean. Dispose of all those old condiments and orderly replace remaining items.
- Counter tops: Limit yourself to only hand soap plus one additional item on the counter. No one wants to see your toothbrush when touring your house!
- Under the sink: Dispose of any unnecessary items and place those remaining in bins.
- Medicine cabinet: Potential buyers will look in your medicine cabinet. Hide anything you do not want public and place as many items as possible in the bins under the sink. You will want to lock prescription medicine away.
- Linen closet: Remove any unnecessary items and store away. Neatly fold all linens and stack by color. You can find our post on organizing a linen closet here.
3. Laundry Room: Make sure all products are neat and orderly. You want to give the impression that it is easy (and fun) to do laundry in this space. You can see an example of a organized laundry room here.
4. Clothes Closets: Pack and store off-season clothes and shoes. Separate clothes types (eg. shirts, pants, long) and hang together by color. Remove any extra hangers.
5. Office: File away all paper and corral computer cords. Desks should be clear of all clutter with only a few items showcased on top.
6. Kid’s Stuff: While your house is on the market, kid’s toys should be put away in cabinets or bins. What will not fit should be boxed up and placed in storage. (The same goes for pet toys and products.)
Note: This is not the time to stock up on toilet paper and beef-a-rino from Costco. Replace food and toiletries only as needed.
It is important to stage your house so it looks open, airy, and inviting. Potential buyers should walk into your living room and want to relax on the couch. They should go into your bathroom and want to take a bubble bath. Take the example of my small upper deck above. It is dull and brown. Now look at the ‘after’ photo below.
Do you see what a difference a few plants and pillows can make? Now potential buyers will want to sit down, drink a cup of coffee, and read the paper! Here are a few key staging suggestions to consider:
1. Spacious: Rooms should appear spacious. Store any unnecessary pieces of furniture to allow for easy movement around the room and throughout the house.
2. Personal Items: Remove all personal items, such as photos. Potential buyers want to see themselves living in the house, not you.
3. Plants: Replace all dead or dying plants. Use real plants, not fake ones.
4. Bath: Use ‘fancy’ hand soap and shower products to stage for showings. Potential buyers do not want to see your old razor and facial wash in your shower. Look at the before photo (with my old razor) and after photo below with staged shower accessories.
Decluttering and staging can be fun! You will find that you are more organized and comfortable in your own home. Potential buyers will be envious of a home that is so harmonious and will want to live there themselves.
Don’t forget to ‘Pin’ this post so you can access it when you are ready to put your house on the market!
Part 3 next week will go through Deep Cleaning the Outside of your house.